I’m happy to recommend Jared Wilson’s latest book, The Imperfect Disciple (Paperback, EBook, Audio, Study Guide), to you. Why? I love Jared’s Gospel-centered vision for discipleship. And, that’s not just dropping a phrase. Jared actually believes that the good news of Jesus coming to rescue sinners, dying for them and rising on their behalf, makes a difference in their ongoing growth as ones changed by this good news. Another reason I love this book is that it’s after growth. God’s heart for us is that we make progress in sanctification. Wrapping our minds and hearts with application that direct us to live–really live–are needed. Having given this short recommendation, though, let me allow Jared to speak and whet your appetite for the vision he unfolds:
What I’m trying to say [in this book] is this: you are not your quiet time.
Okay, day to day, you kind of are your Bible reading. The spiritual disciplines–the rhythms of the kingdom–do shape us and help us become more of what Jesus is making us through them. But, in the end, you are not your quiet time.
You are not your cruddy prayer life. Prayer is vital and necessary. When you pray, you strip your soul down to your proper proportion, helpless and needy and desperate. Prayer of all kinds is basically confessed need of God. It is an expression of our un-God-ness and God’s total God-ness. But in the end, you are not your prayers. Jesus is mediating for you and the Spirit is interceding for you, making up for all your prayerlessness.
You are not your standing before people.
You are not your past.
You are not the accumulation of harsh words from others and negative self-talk.
You are not even your sin, as primary and as serious as that problem is.
I’m not trying to affirm your sense of goodness. I’m doing the opposite, in fact.
I want to, by God’s grace, give you the freedom to own up to your not having your act together. I wrote this book for all who are tired of being tired. I wrote this book for all who read the typical discipleship manuals and wonder who they could possibly be written for, the ones that make us feel overly burdened and over tasked and, because of all that, overly shamed.
You are not your ability to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
You are not the sum of your spiritual accomplishments and religious devotion.
You are a great sinner, yes. But you have a great Savior.
Child of God, you are a child of God. And he will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you. (pp.229-230)
We need this good news. I hope you grab this book and find the encouragement it has for you.