John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart"

If a man is to overcome the fearfulness that can grip us and causes us to focus too heavily upon being safe, we need to understand our heart—what we were created to be and why we are the way we are today.

Back in 2006, a good friend of mine introduced me to the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.

This book changed my life.

The message of Wild at Heart is about how the understanding of true masculinity—which comes directly from GOD—has been lost among most men.

Eldredge says that GOD places three things into the heart of every man:

  1. A battle to fight.

  2. An adventure to live.

  3. A beauty to rescue.

Eldredge says that every man has a wound that was given him by his earthly father, and that our view of GOD is significantly shaped and altered by our relationship with our earthly father.

I think he's right.

In the opening chapter, Eldredge explains the problem every man faces.

"Eve was created within the lush beauty of Eden's garden. But Adam, if you'll remember, was created outside the Garden, in the wilderness. ... The core of a man's heart is undomesticated and that is good." (pp. 3-4)

"Deep in a man's heart are some fundamental questions that simply cannot be answered at the kitchen table. Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for? It is fear that keeps a man at home where things are neat and orderly and under his control. ... If a man is ever to find out who he is and what he's here for, he has got to take that journey [into the wilderness, as Jesus did,] for himself. He has to get his heart back." (pp. 5-6, emphasis added)

"The way a man's life unfolds nowadays tends to drive his heart into remote regions of the soul. ... Really now—do I overstate my case? Walk into most churches in America, have a look around, and ask yourself this question: What is a Christian man? Don't listen to what is said, look at what you find there. There is no doubt about it. You'd have to admit a Christian man is . . . bored." (pp. 6-7)

My favorite chapter of Wild at Heart is chapter 2: "The Wild One Whose Image We Bear."

This chapter is devoted to GOD's character, from which men derive our pure masculinity before we pervert it.

Consider these few quotes:

"If a boy is to become a man, if a man is to know he is one, [understanding his identity] is not an option. A man has to know where he comes from, and what he's made of. ... Most of the men I know are trying hard not to become like their fathers. But who does that leave them to follow after? From whom will they derive their sense of strength? ... To most men, God is either distant or he is weak—the very thing they'd report of their earthly fathers. Be honest now—what is your image of Jesus as a man? 'Isn't he sort of meek and mild?'..." (pp. 21-22)

Eldredge proceeds to paint a picture of Jesus (and therefore GOD) using GOD's own language in the Bible.

He shows how GOD has a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue (the church—His children).

GOD is a warrior; He is wild, untamed.

And He is a romantic, jealous lover.

The single most question that haunts every man is, "Do I have what it takes?"

Our inner voice asks the question often.

Satan and his demons seem to whisper (and sometimes shout), "No! You're a wimp and a loser!"

But GOD is for us!

GOD says, "Yes, My son. You have what it takes! You are enough because I live within you, and you in Me."

Regarding this, Eldredge writes:

"Guys are unanimously embarrassed by their emptiness and woundedness; it is for most of us a tremendous source of shame, as I've said. But it need not be. [In John 15:5, where Jesus says, 'Apart from me you can do nothing', ] He's not berating us or mocking us or even saying it with a sigh, all the while thinking, I wish they'd pull it together and stop needing me so much. Not at all. We were made to depend on God; we were made for union with him and nothing about us works right without it. ... The true essence of strength is passed to us from God through our union with him." (pp. 121-122)

The latter part of the book focuses on the process of GOD healing our wound.

Here's the point in relation to this post...

When we look at who GOD is, and we recognize our highly-favored position with Him thanks to Jesus' blood, and we see His character, we should come passionately alive with the true masculine spirit GOD planted deep within our hearts.

The ice begins to break within our frozen, bored heart.

The hair stands up on the back of our neck and we get chill bumps thinking about the Power that is within us.

We recognize our true purpose—the battlefield that lies before us in the spiritual warfare we engage in, GOD's beautiful adventure that we get to play a role in that we call "life," and the beauty we are fighting for that is our wife, our kids, our family, or our girlfriend (for the single men)—and we are no longer paralyzed or driven by fear.

Instead, we are fierce warriors fighting alongside our brothers, under the careful watchful loving eye of our Father the King of the universe.

This is what it's about, guys.

This is our story.

We are more than conquerors in Him.

Arise!

Let us live with purpose and laser-like focus.

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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