David stooped down and picked up a handful of stones, smooth to his touch and weighty. The rest of his story tumbles effortlessly into memory: the battle with Goliath, David’s rise to fame in Israel, the finger of God upon his life. In Five Traits of a Christ Follower, Doug Nuenke fills up the metaphor of those five smooth stones with five traits, five areas of growth for the one who believingly follows Jesus. He draws on the experiences and writing of thirty skilled disciple-makers whose platforms range from nurse, teacher, and author to missionary, military personnel, and rap artist! What emerges from the collection is a small discipleship training manual that addresses the true test of our life in Christ: our character.
- Walking with Jesus involves living in company with Him in such a way that our power and influence is clearly coming from “the Vine.” Like Martha, it is often my goal to “put dinner on the table — regardless of whether the goal of her guests was to eat.” If my focus is on Jesus — rather than on controlling every stray atom — my attitude will reveal a love for God that fuels my walk and results in passionate attachment to His kingdom priorities.
- Knowing and Living the Scriptures involves more than gulping down pre-digested thinking about the Bible. Ancient instructions in Deuteronomy reveal that an intimate knowledge of the Word yields a life-changing awe of God, motivation to obey God’s commands, and an accurate view of self that leads to humility. The truth is that life is not found in knowledge alone, but in God Himself, and a follower of Christ will pursue Him through His Word. One tool in pursuing a deeper knowledge of the Word is BibleGateway, an Internet resource that makes it possible to read, hear, search, study, compare, and share the Bible in 200+ versions and 70+ languages.
- Participating in Community is much more than a weekly gathering in a building. Community is “doing life” together, urging one another toward the finish line by speaking words of courage and faith. This requires the risk of vulnerability as we confess our sins to one another and experience the healing that God provides through the Body.
- Engaging with Those Who Don’t Know Christ requires jumping into the neighborhood just as Jesus did when He took on a body and came to Earth. Reflecting God’s glory is a matter of being intentionally positioned to shine among those who are in need, not motivated by superiority, but by love and a desire to engage with people — even those with whom we have very little in common. With my mother living in an nursing home, I am granted the unique privilege of ministering in small ways in that environment, and it is my challenge to discover how to do that in a meaningful way.
- Reproducing Spiritual Generations is gloriously demonstrated in the four-generational admonition from Paul to Timothy. Our ministry of multiplication begins with passing on the truth we have received and then equipping the hearers to become disciples by “investing deeply, consistently, relationally, and with love.” This is possible only from a transparent and accessible life.
Reading one short entry each day from Five Traits of a Christ-follower is like spending a month being challenged in the core competencies of the faith by having little conversations with someone who has walked the path before. David picked up his five smooth stones so that they could be launched by a sling. By the grace of God, it will be Christ-like character that launches the believer into a life of enthusiasm, productivity, and embodiment of the spirit of Jesus in every season of life.
This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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