Melissa B. Kruger is author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012). We're excited to welcome her to the Christian Focus Booknotes blog for this brief interview.
Q: Melissa, welcome to the Christian Focus Booknotes blog. Please tell our readers about yourself.
A: I grew up in a wonderful family in North Carolina. I was blessed to grow up in church and was familiar with Christian traditions and the Bible. However, it was during my freshman year of high school that I came to truly understand the gospel and my need for Christ through the ministry of FCA. From that point on, I was always involved in Christian ministries, as well as encouraged to grow personally through daily time in God’s word and prayer. During my years in college at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, I met my husband, Michael Kruger. He is currently a professor of New Testament, as well as Academic Dean, at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. We also both work part time at Uptown Church. While we both love our jobs and the opportunity to serve in the church, our favorite moments are spent raising our three children, Emma (11), John (8) and Kate (5).
Q: How'd you get started in writing?
A: Truthfully, I’ve never thought of myself as a “writer.” In fact, my undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill was in mathematics. However, as I look back, I realize that two things led to my interest in writing. First, my mother instilled in me a love for reading. All throughout my childhood, I would read everything I could get into my hands. Even now, I always have something to read – I feel a bit lost if I don’t have a book with me. Second, for the past twenty-five years I have devoted myself to regular journaling. Writing out my daily concerns, requests, and prayers helps me to focus in the midst of a busy life. This naturally led to writing on scriptural themes and eventually I began to write Bible studies for women.
Q: What's the story behind your recent book The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World?
A: A number of years ago, while doing a study on the book of Joshua, I noticed the pattern of “see, covet, take and hide” in Achan’s story. As I began to explore this pattern in Scripture, I realized that it goes all the way back to the original sin of Eve in the garden. It became clear that the sin of “coveting” was no minor problem, but one that was at the core of our rebellion against God. But, this issue of coveting was not just an academic one—it was one I faced in my own life as I wrestled with unmet expectations, difficulties and trials. The breakthrough came when I began to realize that God’s commands for thanksgiving and joy were rooted in the Lord’s sovereignty and goodness, not the specific circumstances of my life. My problem was a failure to believe something, not a failure to possess something. I found that coveting was most often a right desire for a good thing that had soured in the waiting process. This awareness drove me deep into God’s word in search of Biblical ways to combat covetous tendencies. Five years after that initial study on the book of Joshua, The Envy of Eve was complete.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A: The central idea that I hope my readers will take away from The Envy of Eve is that discontentment is not a circumstantial problem, but a heart problem. Our lack of joy, impatience, discontentment, or irritability have much more to do with a failure to believe something about the Lord than with what is actually happening on a particular day. Rather than living life always wondering, “Why isn’t God giving me what I desire?”, my hope is that we would start asking, “What does God desire of me as I walk through the circumstances He has providentially planned for me today?” Truthfully, it changes everything to believe that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available for each day as we abide in Jesus and walk by His Spirit.
Q: Is The Envy of Eve for women only or will men find something of value in your book as well?
A: When we consider that the command against coveting is found within the 10 Commandments, we realize that it is clearly an equal opportunity sin struggle for both men and women! In fact, I think it is one of the most important commandments because it speaks to what is happening inside our hearts, not just our external actions. If anyone thought they had fulfilled the law by their outward actions, this command digs deep into the soul and exposes one’s need for the gospel in a particular way. While the examples I use are often directed towards women, the Biblical stories that expose prevalence of this sin pattern are beneficial for both men and women to consider. God’s truths are relevant for everyone, even if the particular desires they battle against are different. We can all benefit from considering carefully what we desire and the effects that might have upon ourselves, the church, and the world around us.
Where to Buy:
The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below: