This year I’m reading (or listening to) a lot of books. I’m going to share about the ones I find truly helpful and beneficial. Some of these books will be church planting, some christian living, some will even be…. gasp… secular business/productivity/organizational type books. None of them will be fiction… I know I’m a wretch (but grace is amazing, right?). I just prefer to watch my fiction (i.e. movies) then read it (it’s more efficient). All of the fiction lovers out there either cursed me just now or started to pray for me. That’s fine. This is my blog.
The first book I am recommending this year is The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together by Jared Wilson.
4 Reasons Why I Read and Enjoyed The Imperfect Disciple
1) I’m always weary of “how to” Christian Living books.
Wilson’s title captured me though, I’m an imperfect disciple. Sometimes (rarely) I have a semblance of getting it together… other times not so much. I love this statement:
“I want to write a discipleship book for normal people, for people like me who know that discipleship means following Jesus—and we know that following Jesus is totally worth it, because Jesus is the end-all, be-all—but we often find that following Jesus takes us to some pretty difficult places.”
I’m normal. Jesus is everything to me. The more I’ve grown as a follower of Jesus the more I’ve seen the messiness of my own soul and been exposed to the messiness of others. The real Jesus meets these real issues in others and me. That’s a thing I believe. That’s a thing that Wilson highlights and I deeply appreciate.
2) Beholding is more important than Behaving
He hits something on the head for me while explaining why we don’t try to behold Jesus (something I know I should do, but frankly struggle to do). He says, “The very fact we consider something familiar sort of stifles any impulse to study it.” I’ve found this to be true in my devotions lately. I know the gospel. I’ve studied it and heard it for most of my life. The gospel is a thing I talk about all the time and Jesus is a person I talk about all the time. You know what though, I’m ashamed to admit this, I fall into a pattern of just doing the right thing (behaving) and not looking at Jesus deeply (beholding).
I like how Wilson makes this point early in the book. He makes it before he gets to chapters that emphasize more common spiritual disciplines like Bible reading or prayer.
3) Spiritual Disciplines are Important
Maybe it is just me, but in the current Christian climate it seems that spiritual disciplines have become almost looked down upon. Like reading the bible, praying, and attending a local church have become that thing that old people do/did. I think part of the reason it feels like that is because earlier generations pounded those disciplines so hard that it sounded like doing that stuff was all it took to be close to God. It felt like they were leaving grace out of the picture. (I don’t think this is what was actually happening, but it’s what it seemed and felt like). I like the way Wilson reframes the disciplines:
- Rhythm of Listening – Study Your Bible
- Rhythm of Spilling Your Guts – Pray
- Revolution Will Not Be Instagrammed – Go to church
4) I LOVE Grace
Grace is my favorite thing. Getting what I don’t deserve in God through Jesus. I LOVE it. I love how grace is constantly and consistently pounded on throughout the book as the power behind discipleship. Wilson loves grace, he wrote a whole chapter on it and talks about it throughout. I need to see that being produces doing. I need it demonstrated to me. Wilson does that.
My wife and I frequently lament the lack of reading in our culture. People don’t pick up books. They consume Netflix (guilty), Hulu (guilty), Sports Radio (guilty), and gobs of other entertainment. They just don’t read and consider deep thoughts very much. I’m hoping that doing these reviews will inspire some to read more. So I’m going to do a recommendation system I’m calling READ IT. I feel like most books should be read (I wrote one, you should READ IT). The more capital letters in the the phrase READ IT the more I recommend the book.
I give Wilson’s book a full READ IT
I think you should. You can get it on Amazon here.