A Look at Todd Wilson’s book, Real Christian
The thesis of Todd Wilson’s book, Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith is right there in the title: if one’s faith is real (authentic), then there will be marks (evidence) in their life. Wilson tells his readers something they already intrinsically know: Jesus wants real follows that are sold-out, on-fire, and completely committed to Him. Anything less is not pleasing to the Lord nor is it conducive to successful disciple-making. In an increasingly fake world with disingenuous leaders spreading plastic ideologies, there has never been a more relevant time than now for this sort of battle cry.
I was reminded of the chorus in Daniel Bashta’s song, “I Want It All (Just Give Me Jesus)”
Give me the real thing
Not just religion
Stir up my passion
With more of conviction
I want it all
Not just a portion
Give me Your presence
Not just some feeling
At the end of each chapter, Wilson includes resources such as, “Questions for reflection,” “Scripture to ponder,” and “Book to help you dig deeper.” One of the suggested books is Kyle Idleman’s not a fan. It is my opinion that Wilson’s Real Christian and Idleman’s not a fan should be sold together and considered required reading for any Christian longing to grow in the knowledge of the will of God. Absolutely required.
Titus 1:15-16 talks about those who profess to know God, but by their deeds, deny Him. If someone was drinking a huge sugary cola and smoking a big, fat cigar while he gave you health and fitness advice, would you take him seriously? Of course not, you would say, “Why would I listen to you? Who are you to tell me anything about health?” Now, if a fit person does the same thing, you may be more inclined to at least listen to them. They must know what they are talking about because their very physique is a testament. They must be doing what they are saying. The world knows a phony when they see one. If your actions do not match up with what you say, they will cry, “Foul!” and use the unbeliever’s favorite term for Christians: hypocrite.
Francis of Assisi is attributed with the famous quote,” Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” Today we would say, “Talk the talk and walk the walk.” In Matt. 7:16, Jesus tells us, “by their fruits you will recognize them.” What is on the inside will be revealed by what is on the outside. The easiest way to know if a cherry tree is a cherry tree is if it has cherries on it. This concept is so simple that even a child can understand it.
Evaluating my life and assessing where I fall short of reaching these marks of maturity is a humbling exercise. Repeatedly (and sadly with such ease) I am quick to get angry. I can exchange sarcastic jabs with the best of them. It shames me how instinctively cruel I can be if I think I have been slighted. I am overly-sensitive, thin-skinned, and un-teachable more often than I care to admit. Pride rears its ugly head in my life far too frequently. Thankfully, God’s mercies are made new every morning (Lam. 3:23). We are all works in progress and God is still working on my progress.
Idleman, Kyle. Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2011.
Wilson, Todd. Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course DSMN 520: Spiritual Formation.