"It is our deepest need, as human beings, to learn to live intimately with God."
John Eldredge has been writing about walking with God for over ten years, since the publication of The Sacred Romance in 1997. His latest book, Walking with God, is his most deeply personal & may become his most controversial as well.
Walking with God is not structured as a typical book at all: instead, it is a written retelling and explanation of his own walk with God over the course of a year. It has no specific goal or direction; it is simply his life day by day, and how he saw God guiding and teaching him.
Interspersed with these personal experiences are explanations of his own worldview and approach to walking with God. Two core issues he spends a lot of time with are spiritual warfare and conversational intimacy with God.
Eldredge's view of spiritual warfare is that demonic attacks, both in the form of physical ailments and mental and spiritual clouding, are very real and very common, almost an everyday occurrence, and that it takes concentrated, specific prayer to overcome them. Eldredge's view of "conversational intimacy" is that God really can speak to us, to enlighten and guide us, and that we can learn to listen to His voice.
These paradigms are very foreign and even antithetical to most evangelical Christians. Eldredge fully realizes this, but does not try to build an elaborate structured case for his theology. After all, Eldredge is not a theologian at heart, but a storyteller. Consequently, I think he realized that he could be most effective in teaching his way of walking with God by telling stories, and not by trying to write a theological tome.
I actually am both theologian and storyteller. The theologian in me has always bristled at some aspects of Eldredge's theology, and yet the storyteller in me sees much truth and much goodness in it as well. Did I agree with all the theology in this book? No, I did not. Did I take page after page of detailed notes, being struck again and again by his honesty and insight? Yes I did.
Walking with God is a profoundly challenging book, one that I will re-read, meditate and pray over. I believe John wanted to create a book that would make people take a hard look at their definition of what it means to truly walk with God, and then show them a path to a richer and fuller life.
on May 26, 2008
I've just spent the better part of two days reading this book after picking it up on a whim. I have not read any of John Eldredge's other books.
John is a good story teller, and he caught my interest. As I read, my thoughts were parallel to many of the reviewers here: How does John know these one word answers are indeed the voice of God, along with How can I know this? (I suspect the answer lies in "the sheep knowing the voice of the Shephard")and How come everything is a spiritual battle, what about me just being a stupidasshumanbeing causing the problems in my life? And isn't my mood my choice anyway?
But when I read the entry on Unfullfilled Longings, God used it to heal my heart of some angst I have been living with for 9 months. I am so happy to be free and to gain the understanding about how when we exile the wounded, broken pieces of our hearts, (locking the door on our pain and throwing away the key as a method of coping), our whole heart cannot be given to God to fully heal. The idea that the stirrings of the unfullfilled longing are to motivate us to "seek a new life" or to submit it to God's healing, falls in beautifully with what I was needing to learn from my experience.
So yesterday, as s I sat outside reading, weeping cathartic tears and praying about the holes in my wholeheartedness, I was thankful for John's writing that gave words to explain it all to me.
Now, I am thinking that "whim" might just have been the voice of the Lord saying "Choose this one"! John explains it so much better, so get the book if you need freedom and understanding about the unfulfilled longings in your heart. I hope it helps you as much as it is helping me...
on April 29, 2008
I've enjoyed several of John Eldredge's previous books, so I was looking forward to jumping into this one.
The good: he gives you a behind-the-scenes look at his conversations with God over a year's time. It's usually interesting to see what people are talking to God about and that's true here. There are multiple moments when his comments will remind you of things you've also gone through.
The bad: I felt he goes overboard in a couple areas. The first is that everything for him is a spiritual battle. I do believe in spiritual warfare, but that doesn't mean every little problem you encounter is demonic. The second is that he seems to be constantly finding that things bring up all these deep problems from his childhood or early adult life. Again, I know that's sometimes true, but is everything ultimately about why I had low self-esteem in junior high or similar issues?
Ultimately, he doesn't fulfill the book's subtitle. It's interesting, but not filled with the insights I was hoping for.
on March 26, 2008
John Eldredge may very well have reinvented a new and much needed genre of modern Christian literature. When much of recent Christian writings have left me wondering was the time spent reading it worth what I got from it, Walking With God never gave me such a concern! This is a true `page turner' that may help turn the page in your life!
John takes us on a journey with him throughout a year and sharing his walk with God. The startling and intriguing part was how close his walk relates to mine ... the struggles and issues ...
The beauty of this book is the guidance John is able to give on facing these issues and the solutions he found by walking and listening to the Spirit of God. He shows you the practical prayers and ways he was able to connect with God in a deeper way during his walk and I found it so easy to agree with the prayers and receive joy and peace in my heart. Every day that I opened the book it seemed to speak directly to something I was going through and I think this will be a transcendent truth for most readers.
What Wild at Heart did for men, Walking with God has the potential to do for families and communities.
on May 31, 2008
For me, a book is only as good as the expectations that I have on what the book is going to be about. With John's book, I expected it to be a book of his journal entry, which is the reason why I bought the book. It's not a "how to" book or a theological treatise. I'd like to share some of the things that stood out to me with this book...
It was an absolute delight getting to know John. I had somehow felt privileged, like I was looking over his shoulder as he wrote in his journal. I enjoyed getting to know John's heart for God, and how he managed his thoughts and emotions on a daily basis. It fleshed out what his life and friendship with God really is. He was brutally transparent in sharing what everyone experiences but are not discerning enough to realize nor brave enough to share.
John shared quite a bit about having "conversational intimacy" with God. As someone who taught against this concept for 20 years until 2 years ago, it was encouraging to hear someone's internal processing with how he listened to the Holy Spirit. This is a subject that has divided the Christian community with one side teaching that the Holy Spirit doesn't do that, while the other states that the He actually does. I wish that John would have shared that living a life of unforgiveness and being in bondage from the tormentor (Matt. 18:34-35, Eph.4:26-27, 2 Cor. 2:11-12, 1 Sam.18) is one of the biggest if not the biggest hindrances from hearing the Holy Spirit.
He also covered something that everyone does, but hardly talks about, which is making agreements, or what I call making vows. Making agreements is when you say things like, "I will never..." due to whatever unrealized and unprocessed pain they have. I have thought about this in the past, and have even encouraged others against it, but John covers it in much more depth, and shares the danger it poses in one's deeper agreement, which is their service with our Dad in heaven.
He also covered quite a bit about spiritual warfare that he experiences on a regular basis. He emphasizes that most people overlook this very crucial aspect of the Christian life. It was encouraging to me how discerning and aware he is of what's going on in the supernatural. I was personally challenged to have a heightened sense of awareness with what's going on in the spiritual realm, without focusing too much on it so as to be in a state of paranoia.
John's heart and passion for a deeper intimacy with God is inspiring and contagious. Beyond the theological mumbo jumbo that most authors write about, it's nice to hear someone's persistent drive and heart to more intimacy and closeness with our Dad. It's extremely refreshing. It's trademark, "John," consistent with all his other books.
Overall, I was encouraged with the unique format that this book was written, and look forward to personally pursue an even closer relationship with my Dad in heaven.
on March 26, 2008
Another awesome book from the heart of John Eldredge. He continues to challenge the "normal" Chirstian life, and writes with honesty about his own experiences. Every book that God inspires him to write is another breath of fresh air about what "freedom in Christ" can look like. I never knew conversational intimacy with our Father was possible before, but his writings, alond with Dallas Willard's and CS Lewis, have really opened my eyes. God is trying to reach his people through this message--don't pass it up!
on June 7, 2011
Strangely enough, I purchased this book by accident. I was searching for book about sociopaths and the reccomendation for this book came up on the same page! I thought it divine providence as this was the thing I had been praying about for weeks prior--having greater intimacy with the Lord.
I rec'd the book and was blown away by the first page--the dedication to his wife, with whom I share a first name! God was surely at work, in ordering my steps (clicks!) toward this work.
There is a real sincerity in this work the author allows us to walk along with him over the course of a year as he hears from God about life, work, family, emotions, relationships and more. He reveals an intimacy with God that should be every believers goal and is, in fact, a right. This book has been a blessing, a milestone in my heart's desire to be nearer to God in every way.
on January 12, 2010
It takes courage to put oneself out there, to show one's imperfections and thoughts to thousands of readers. John Eldredge really puts himself out there for this book, admitting his struggles, internal battles, and sharing his year-long walk with God.
First, this book made me think differently about what it means to walk with God. I have never really assumed that God cares so deeply about the mundane details of my - or any - life. Should I walk across the street or not? But, according to Eldredge, God not only cares about the mundane details of our lives, he wants us to include him in everything. He writes, "...hearing God requires surrender, giving all things over into his hands." And Eldredge means everything! Everything from picking out a new puppy to going on a horse ride. Like I said, it made me think differently...
The one problem that I see in this book is that Eldredge makes everything a battle. And making everything a battle is somewhat unhealthy. C.S. Lewis once wrote, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them." Eldredge borders and tiptoes around the latter.
It is an interesting read. Unique, for sure. I recommend it!
on April 27, 2008
John reveals his true colors on this one and their disappointing and alarming.
Having come out of the "Hearing the Voice of God" camp which interestingly enough always seems linked with big doses of "Hyperdemonology", John falls right in line. This new book happens to have a couple big problems (several small ones too) which will damage more than help.
First, hearing God's voice is very subjective at best. Oh, you can assume whatever you want, but not every voice you hear in your head is God's, no matter how sincere you may be. It's the frequent, erroneous messages that really screws people up in this camp, and trust me I've seen the damage first hand! Next, John will be at 7-11 asking God, Pepsi of Coke?
Second, John's hyper-demonology shows itself in his schizophrenic tone in this book. Yes, we do have an emeny and he is active. Unfortunately, he is most active in those who are self absorbed and constantly introspectve. God wants us fixated on Him and His glory. God has put His redeemed in good Hands. Yes we need to fight, but we do not need to fixate, there's a big difference. And the transference John speaks of is simply extra-Biblical and dangerous, more evidence that John has clearly lost his equilibrium. I can only hope his next book is on grace, he desperately needs to hear its message.
Sad to say coming from a big John E. fan, save your money on this one.
on August 1, 2008
I know......my title sounds like a description of a car ("best in it's class!") but, seriously, I found this book to be so unique and refreshing in the midst of our modern "3 steps to fixing everything" mentality. I must confess that this book was not as "gripping" for me as some of Eldredge's earlier titles but it more than makes up for it. First of all, it's practical nature is almost unheard of in modern Christian writings. Eldredge doesn't just say we SHOULD walk with God....he shows us how he actually DOES walk with God. Oh, how this is needed today. I believe we have forgotten how to truly hear God......know God.....walk with God. We know we should but what does that look like? Secondly, I appreciated his transparency. Eldredge has always been "real" but he takes this a step further in this book as he is very open about many of his inner struggles and temptations; subjects that are taboo for much of Christendom's literature. So......I highly recommend it and am already putting much of it to practice. Oh, and by the way.......I'm learning you really CAN hear from God. Huh....