Was Jesus just a nice guy or was he a wild guy? This is a question John Eldredge strives to answer through his book, Wild at Heart. And the question applies to us as men today. Wild at Heart was published in 2001, well after the Promise Keepers movement was underway. My uncle gave me this book a few years back, but I finally took some time to read it this past month.
While I may not agree with everything in the book, Eldredge makes some sound points. He reminds us how God is a warrior and how men are made in His image. God placed us here initially to subdue the world and multiply across the earth which is our “first commission” (not to trump the Great Commission). That is a job for men with courage, determination and the ability to take risks. He states that a lot of Christian men have—due to either boredom (no battles to fight) or past wounds & scars (perhaps a careless upbringing)—suppressed those God-given qualities. Many good, church-going men have grown passive, living for no cause or confused about what battles to wage.
When God gave us a new nature (new heart), our manly yearnings didn’t go away. God still wants us to use our hard-wired, masculine design to “conquer” the world, not just for improving society, but also for spreading the Gospel and leading our work groups, families, churches, community groups, and other important causes. Thank God that He has created both men and women with a diversity of experiences, talents and leadership skills.
It’s a huge balancing act. Our flesh (and Satan) will attempt to steer our God-created urges into such wrong directions as pornography, anger, adultery, domestic violence, and other senseless vices. We can become bored and passive as many “nice” Christian men have done. But our faith and God’s indwelling Spirit will surely direct us.
The book is not terribly different from other men’s books that tell us how men and women are “wired” differently. John chooses to get focused on those differences and what that means for the Christian man trying to live for God. At some points, His writing may come across as melodramatic, but keep in mind his background in drama and theater. He enjoys sharing his insights through his unique style.
Whether we kill bull elks, scale dangerous cliffs or raft down Class 5 rapids, activities don’t measure our worth as men (or women)—rather they just express our God-given urges for adventure. For some people, other types of exciting undertakings may surface: working on cars, home improvement projects, or tilling the ground. However, these adventures aren’t what we chiefly live for. We live for God and the grandest adventure—God’s calling.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the book or if you’d like to recommend other books that address these topics. God bless.