The title got me. I’m used to books written for people who are doing well, but what about the rest of us? We need, as the subtitle says, “grace for those who can’t get their act together.”
The Imperfect Disciple, written by Jared Wilson, is one of the best discipleship books I’ve read. It’s not written for those who know the Sunday school answers. “I tend to think that a lot of the ways the evangelical church teaches discipleship seem designed for people who don’t appear to really need it,” Wilson observes. If that’s you, skip this book.
Imperfect Disciple is written for “the guy or gal sitting there in small group always wondering if it’s safe to say what they’re thinking,” for “the sake of the cut-ups and the screwups, the tired and the torn-up, the weary and the wounded.”
It’s written for people like us.
Why I Like This Book
I like this book for two reasons.
First: it shifts our hope away from ourselves to Jesus. A lot of books like this feel discouraging. We read them, try to implement them, and get discouraged. But on this side of glory we’ll continue to struggle and grow. Wilson is real about our struggles and how the gospel meets them.
Second: it gives us practical help — help not for the perfect, but for the mother whose twins kept her up most of the night, for the employee who’s worked too many hours this week, and for those of us who struggle.
A book that focuses on Jesus and that provides practical help for people who struggle sounds perfect to me.
What is discipleship, then, but following Jesus not on some religious quest to become bigger, better, or faster but to become more trusting of his mercy toward our total inability to become those things?
We have, fundamentally, a worship problem, and so long as we are occupying our minds with little, worldly things and puny, worldly messages, we will shrink our capacity to behold the eternal glory of Jesus Christ, which is the antidote to all that ails us.
Making your entire Christian life about trying to look like a good Christian is a great way to become a terrible Christian. Or at least a weak and defeated one.
Sometimes people are so busy trying to do great things for God they forget to look at his glory and therefore never quite behold it.
The more we dwell in Scripture, developing a greater taste and feel for it, the less sweet and less comforting the things of the world will taste and feel.
I take a look at my messed-up soul every day. I feel completely overwhelmed and underequipped. And so I hold on to the gospel. I pour some gospel into my soul. I am good to go another day. I might be crawling through that day or I might be balled up in my bed, unwilling to charge the Valley of Elah that is my life, but the smile of God is over me continually. Day and night his steadfast love sustains me.
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