Book #29: Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free From the Four Emotions that Control You

enemies of the heart andy stanleyEnemies of the Heart: Breaking Free From the Four Emotions That Control You

Andy Stanley – Multnomah – 2011 – ISBN: 978-1-60142-145-6


In the fall of 2007, I attended my first Catalyst conference and got my first real introduction to Andy Stanley.  He was both the keynote speaker and final speaker of the conference.  His humility and confidence were a unique combination that allowed me to learn at a uniquely deep level.  Andy does it again in this book, Enemies of the the Heart.

Stanley points out that for most of us, modified behavior, not a modified heart, is the extent of our learning process.  We learn how to act but deep down still carry these heart piercings.  Eventually, the real comes out.  We cannot stop it.  We cannot keep it bottled up forever.  Our physical bodies breakdown shows us that our body is diseased.  In the same way, our reactions and emotions are indicators of the breakdown of our heart.

We begin to realize that like a tree that is covering our yard with too much fruit, our emotions spill over and hurt those “we love the most.”  This phenomenon is what concerns God the most.  He told the children of Israel that he wanted to give them a new heart even after he had given them his “Top Ten List.”

Ultimately, the four emotions or enemies (guilt, anger, greed, and jealously) create debt to debtor relationships with individuals. Until we are willing to do the heavy lifting required to exercise our heart and get it in shape we will continue to suffer from heart disease.  This brings up a great point that Stanley points out.  There is this concept that God must change my heart before I can begin to discipline it.  This short circuits the whole point of discipline.  We think we are relying on God and yet, God’s waiting for us to get to work.  This insight resonates in a deep way as Stanley leads us through the process of getting rid of the control these emotions have over us.

Stanley does not claim this book to be a complete resource for clearing away all of the issues in our growth process.  He classifies lust as an appetite to be managed instead of an emotion.   This shows a great understanding of the human condition and allows for issues to be correctly dealt with in our lives.

I would overall recommend this book for anyone.  This book is not just for pastors or teachers.  This book helps anyone dealing with one of these four emotions, whether personally or having them visited upon you.


I was fortunate to receive this book in exchange for reviewing it for WaterBrook Multnomah.

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