Book Review: John Piper’s Risk is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. David Platt writes this foreword to John Piper’s book entitled Risk is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It. I recently volunteered to proofread the sixth to eight chapters of the Tagalog translation of this book and it bathed me with God’s words that challenge my cherished comforts in this side of glory.

It was really insightful and it taught me a lot of things when it comes to risking one’s life, and how to live a life that is worthy of Christ, who gave His life for the church. So I really wanted to share things that I learned from it.

The book is really short but it is soaked with chapters containing soul-searching, heart-pounding, and life-altering truths that would challenge those who love their own lives. He gives motivation for Christians to take risks banking on the ultimate meaning of life (1). He also defines what taking risk for Christ means (2). After providing Old Testament (3), New Testament (4), and Church History (5) examples of men and women of God who chose to risk their lives to make much of Christ for His people, he clears possible misconceptions and proper balance (6) to know the right and wrong reasons to risk.

Lastly, he set forth the foundation of risk-taking, gives further clarification and insights on critical texts in understanding risk-taking (7), and provides assurance and comfort when Christians expose themselves to possible loss or injury in risking their lives for Christ (8).

Here are seven lessons, followed by seven favorite quotations, that I learned from the book. I’ll be quoting from the English version of John Piper’s book. You can grab your copy here.

1. One of the greatest choices that we can make is to risk our lives for Christ.

“A choice lies before you: Either waste your life or live with risk… We shouldn’t be surprised by resistance and persecution. Yet most of us play it safe. We pursue comfort. We spend ourselves to get more stuff. And we prefer to be entertained.”

2. Not to risk our lives for Christ is never right.

“Risk is the only way forward… There is sometimes a subtle selfishness behind our avoidance of risk taking.”

3. Jesus is worth every possible suffering that we may face for His people.

“All are important. But none makes the worth of Christ shine more brightly than sacrificial love for other people in the name of Jesus. If Christ is so valuable that the hope of his immediate and eternal fellowship after death frees us from the self-serving fear of dying and enables us to lay down our lives for the good of others, such love magnifies the glory of Christ like nothing else in the world.”

4. Christ did not promise an easy life on earth.

“God does not promise enough for comfort or life; He promises enough so that you can trust Him and do His will.”

5. Following Christ is costly.

“It is costly to follow Christ. There is risk everywhere. But this very risk is the means by which the value of Christ shines more brightly.”

6. Risk is real. No Christian is exempted.

“The Christian life is a call to risk… Christ’s love for us does not spare us these sufferings. Risk is real. The Christian life is a painful life. Not joyless. But not painless either.”

7. God promised that He will empower us to take risk for His glory.

“This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor. It is simple trust in Christ—that in Him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever.”

Have you taken the risk of making much of Christ for the glory of God and for the good of His people?


Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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