Gospel Wakefulness, by Jared Wilson, is one of the most transforming books I have read this year.
I read a lot of books, many of which overlap each other by
- re-organizing the same material in a different manner, or
- looking at a particular niche from a different angle, or
- telling stories to demonstrate applications of their point.
Gospel Wakefulness was different. I couldn’t read it in in one sitting.
It touched the passions of my heart. Gospel Wakefulness gave me words to describe my own relationship with Christ. Jared’s book gave me a new way to describe the profound depth of my relationship with Christ.
What is Gospel Wakefulness?
The essence of Gospel Wakefulness is this: Gospel wakefulness
“means treasuring Christ more greatly and savoring his power more sweetly.”
“not talking about the waxing and waning feelings of intimacy with God, movements of worship, or the sort of experiences that lead to dedicating one’s life, but an experience of such power – of such awakening – that it persists and endures, settling deep in to the heart and the conscience of a believer that it carries through all emotional highs and lows.”
Gospel wakefulness is an experience that is hard to describe.
Thus there are no 10 Steps to Gospel Wakefulness.
My own experience of Gospel Wakefulness
In my own case, I became a Christian in the late 80s.
However, in the late 90s, I walked through a period of spiritual brokenness that awakened in me a profound appreciation of the gospel.
What happened to me in the late 90s was not a new spiritual rebirth, but a warp speed hyperleap in the depth of my wonder at the gospel and what Jesus did for me.
- My lips quivered in awe.
- Tears of gratitude spontaneously formed.
- Words were impossible to describe the wonder.
The closest parallel experience I can think of is when I stood in the shadows of the Andes mountains in Peru, or of the Rockies outside of Aspen.
You might have felt something similar standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.
In such a place, I sat in profound silence at the majesty of it all.
Nothing is capable of explaining the wonder of the view in front of my eyes.
That wordless wondering in the majestic beauty before me is a parallel to what happened to me in the late 90s when I faced the full force of the reality of what Jesus did, not only for me, but for the nations that God intends to gather (Revelation 7:9).
That is gospel wakefulness.
The rest of the Gospel Wakefulness examines and develops the implications of what Gospel wakefulness means for
- our worship,
- our obedience,
- working out our salvation
- those struggling with depression
- the church
As I read Gospel Wakefulness, I found myself stirred to prayer – wanting to again grow into a new appreciation of what God has done, as Paul prayed for the Philippians: “That your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, . . . filled with the fruit.” Gospel wakefulness zeros in on the “more and more.”
My heart longs once again to be at that place:
- Where obedience is out of gratitude, rather than duty.
- Where worship is out of wonder, not out of Sunday habit.
- Where spiritual disciplines are out of the overflow, rather than requirement.
Gospel Wakefulness is a book that God is using to stir those affections once again. Gospel wakefulness is book that God has used to deepen once again my relationship with God.
Some quotes from Gospel Wakefulness
“People who know the gospel’s power will share it powerfully.”
“If we are regularly and excitedly engaging people in the good news of the finished saving work of the sacrificing, dying, rising, exalted, sovereign Jesus Christ who is the death-proof, fail-proof King of Kings before all things and in all things and holding all things together as he sustains the world by the mere word of his power, the ones whose hearts are opened by the Spirit to be won to Christ will be irrevocably changed.”
“For many of us, we will not know the weight of heavy wood on a wounded back until this perfect storm of personal emptiness subsumes us.”
“If you want to find an instance of true gratitude for the infinite grace of God, do not go to those who think of God’s love as something that cost nothing, but go rather to those who in agony of soul have faced the awful fact of the guilt of sin, and then have come to know with a trembling wonder that the miracle of all miracles has been accomplished, and that the eternal Son has died in their stead” (J. Gresham Machen, Selected Shorter Writings)
“One of the marks of gospel wakefulness is the failure of anything else to thrill the soul like the gospel. When the heart treasures Christ and savors his power, sin grows bitter.”
“The divinely entertained heart of gospel wakefulness finds itself day dreaming about the gospel more “naturally.” This “autopilot” gospel centrality is the result of gospel wakefulness itself.” (p. 63).
“The gospel wakened heart is captivated by God and worships exhilarated. Augustine cried out, “Oh! that Thou would enter into my heart and inebriate it, that I may forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my sole good!”
“What we are picturing here is the work of the Spiritual disciplines in conformity to the law of God found in his Scriptures, not as the means of propulsion, but as the means of seeding the conditions for Spiritual fertility. In obedience, we till the soil of our hearts so that they are more receptive for the planting and growth of the Word in our lives. We obey both in response to the Spirit’s awakening us and in order to raise the sail for the Spirit’s movement. ”
“Until God is your only hope, God will not be your only hope. Utter brokenness is key to gospel wakefulness, because we will not be all-satisfied in Christ until Christ is all we have.”
“Those captured by grace find sin more and more bitter and obedience more and more sweet.”
Order your copy of Gospel Wakefulness from Amazon. (Affiliate Link).
Note: The publisher provided me a copy for review.