The Imperfect Disciple

I had the opportunity this weekend to get a few days away with the family. We didn’t go somewhere far, but it was far enough to disconnect from the everyday busyness of life. We came to an Airbnb with notoriously bad cell service, intermittent WiFi connectivity, and no TV. All of which are highly desirable by me when we get away even if I occasionally find myself trying to place my phone on just the right place of the window to get cell reception for a moment. All that to say, this time was exactly what I was searching for: a disconnected getaway where I can spend time with my family, unwind, and accomplish some reading.

I received my copy of Jared C. Wilson’s new book “The Imperfect Disciple” Wednesday evening. I began reading it that evening and quickly knew this book would work its way amongst my favorites. Thursday, which is the last day of the week in our office, I was graciously allowed to leave the office a few hours early so we could make our way out to the place we were staying this weekend in Samish Island. We arrived shortly before dinner and after unpacking a bit I continued into my reading of my new book. By Thursday evening I had made my way halfway through it already. A pace that was previously unprecedented for me while reading. Friday had dawned and I picked up some more reading during the morning. We spent the later part of the morning and most of the afternoon into the evening together as a family and then Friday evening I dug back into the book until it’s completion. 

Wilson did an impeccable job in his new book. With his casual writing style and story telling, he mixes humor and sarcasm with brutal vulnerability at times to write a book for the Christian who doesn’t always feel like they “have it together” which I imagine is all of us at varying points of our walk in faith. Throughout the whole book I felt myself resonating with much of what he said and at the same time being drawn to Jesus in all of it. This wasn’t a ‘to-do’ book on discipleship, but I feel that it more importantly addresses the ‘why’ of discipleship. 

This book is filled with real every day things that real every day Christians try and work out but may not hear others talk about so they don’t talk about it themselves.

He addresses everything I had hoped a book on discipleship would discuss. You’ll find sections on Bible study, prayer, church membership, communion, community, and so much more. All the while you’ll also hear of other things that can slowly become part of our day to day walk of faith that people don’t typically talk about. The things you feel really guilty about but you’re sure that Super Christian Joe from your community group doesn’t really struggle with. Some of the parts of the book that I really appreciated are when Jared transparently and vulnerably shares of things in his own life like thoughts of suicide and idolizing pastoral ministry. He also goes on to address the difficulties of discipleship in a suburban context, a struggle all too familiar to me. This book is filled with real every day things that real every day Christians try and work out but may not hear others talk about so they don’t talk about it themselves. 

If you are the person who scrolls through social media comparing your life to the lives portrayed to you on your screen and hoping you will one day be able to get it together like them, know that they don’t have it together and if you read this book you’ll feel a whole lot better that you don’t either. If you are embarrassed about your prayer and Bible time, read this book and know that others are too. If your spiritual walk isn’t really where you’d like it to be, read this book and know that for others it isn’t either. 

Despite all of the above, perhaps the most important factor woven throughout this book is it’s gospel connection. This book doesn’t really offer much with regards on how to be a better disciple. However, on the other hand, it offers everything you need to be a better disciple and what that is, is the gospel. For every fault or imperfection discussed within the pages of this book, Jared Wilson points you directly to the cross. I walked away from this book not only reflecting on my imperfections but also praising the Perfect One. This book offers hope and grace, just at the title says, for people who can’t get their act together. 

This weekend was so incredibly refreshing to me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I owe that in part to my family, I owe that in part to my church, I owe that in part to Jared Wilson, and I owe it in whole to God, the Perfector of my faith.