Book Review – Empty Promises by Pete Wilson

I did not read this book in a shorter time span of two or three days like I normally do.

In fact, I picked up this book, Empty Promises, several weeks ago and read the introduction and two chapters. I enjoyed what I read. I agreed with so much of what Pete Wilson said in those two chapters. I already had a paragraph of this review written after just two chapters.

But I got busy.

Rather, worries, events, and obligations absorbed my time, leaving me choosing not to read this book.

But some of these obligations (and definitely the worries) followed what Pete Wilson describes in Chapter 3 – the seduction of achievement.

I often feel I must remain so productive every minute of every day, which causes me to become overwhelmed with all of what I “should” do. Feeling overwhelmed leaves me sitting, floundering about what to tackle next.

And then there was Chapter 4 and its discussion on relying too much on others because we seek approval of others. This chapter really messed with me. I’m still seeing ways I rely too much on others too wrongly.

Along came Chapter 7, which quoted a friend of the author’s saying, “From day to day, I question whether or not [God] really loves me. And the harder I try, the more I feel like I’m failing” (p. 107). That’s it, exactly.

“Whenever we end up putting our faith in our religion rather than in the living God—that’s an idol.” – Wilson, p. 109.

A question continuously resurfacing in my mind while reading this book is to regularly ask myself: What can I do to serve right now?

What can I do this morning to serve my children?

What can I do on this blog to serve readers?

What can I do this evening to serve my husband?

What can I do at fellowship to serve my faith family?

What can I do at the store to serve the person behind me in the checkout line?

In all of these questions, the focus must remain: What can I do to serve in Christ?

If I am chasing other obligations, other wants, other tasks, that chasing will all lead to being unfulfilled – empty promises.

“We were never created to find our worth simply in what we do.” – Pete Wilson, p. 30

Reading this book in its entirety is essential. Beginning in Chapter 10, the author really dives into what worshipping only God (our true purpose) looks like, rather than seeking empty promises.

I honestly liked this book even more than I thought I would. Pete Wilson asks many “Do you…” questions to allow the reader to evaluating her own position, realized or unnoticed. These questions intrigued and convicted me. I found myself setting the book down in my lap to ponder a question several times. He quotes an effective mix of Scripture and other articles, books, and stories. Rather than just proclaiming, “All we need is God,” he shows us what that may look like un our lives.

“The bottom line is that ultimately God made humans to reflect him. But if we don’t seek him above all things, we’ll end up reflecting something else in creation—something lesser. In the process, we’ll lose our true humanity.” – Wilson, p. 160


Question for you: What empty promises do you find yourself relying on too often?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”