British Columbia, Canada: Deep Wild Communication, 2016
A friend gave me this 160 page book. At first I wasn’t sure if it would be one I would recommend to others, but the more I read it and reflected upon it, the more I realized that it is indeed a very good basic tool for discipleship, whether used in a small group or one-on-one with a new believer.
The author, Daren Wride, is a CMA pastor in western Canada. He writes in an easy, almost folksy style, but the content of DNA of a Christ Follower is definitely biblical, and it’s illustrated with many interesting stories from the author’s life.
As I occasionally do for new books, I checked online for reviews. There were many positive ones. Here’s one of them: “Very well written, meaning that it was worded in such a way that I didn’t have to keep my dictionary handy to figure out the meaning of 50 dollar words. Also, it was very convicting and struck deep into my heart. In fact I’ve bought quite a few copies of this book and handed them out as gifts.”
In the first chapter the author discusses why he believes the word “Christian,” which was once a powerful descriptor of a particular people, has become meaningless. It no longer identifies those who have aligned themselves with the person of Jesus Christ. He suggests the more descriptive term for a true believer is “Christ follower.”
The main goal of the book is to present eight essential traits of a believer. The author calls them the “DNA” of a true follower of Jesus Christ. You could undoubtedly add other traits, but I think he has chosen some of the most important ones.
Below is a list and brief explanation of each of the essential traits. Initially, the last three struck me as ones I might not have included, but having read his explanations I am convinced he made a good choice.
Trait #1 Lover of God (Matthew 22:36-38) – A lover of God is a worshipper of God. Loving God goes beyond emotions. Loving God means obeying God. Loving God is initiated by God. This chapter ends with five good suggestions on how to grow as a lover of God.
Trait #2 Lover of People (Matthew 22:36-40) –Loving people will become a rarity. We love people because they have inherent value. We love people as an extension of our love for God. Loving people means acting in their best interests. Loving people is not abstract.
Trait #3 Holy (Titus 2:14) – To please God is a way of showing gratitude. Holy lives change lives. Holiness and spiritual power go hand in hand. Holiness is more than do’s and don’ts. Holiness becomes visible. A Christ-follower is both holy and growing in holiness, endorsing God’s declaration of their holiness by setting themselves apart for Him, and drawing on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to live in a way that reflects their identity as saints.
Trait #4 Truth-Based (2 Timothy 3:16) – God has given us a source of absolute truth, a reference point in a world of competing options and opinions. Many people simply put their faith in someone else’s opinions with no real reflection on the consequences of relying on the wrong source of truth. To be truth based means that your beliefs and actions are founded on the Bible. Know the Bible. Believe the Bible. Apply the Bible.
Trait #5 Evangelistic (Acts 1:8) – Jesus Christ was evangelistic; true believers imitate Him in this way. An evangelistic person values individuals. An evangelistic person lives a distinct, redemptive lifestyle. An evangelistic person works to be ready. An evangelistic person takes risks and makes sacrifices to share the gospel.
Trait #6 Persevering (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) – Perseverance is essential because we are still in the race. Perseverance is essential because there will be difficulties. Perseverance is possible when we throw off the baggage. Perseverance is possible when we fix our eyes on Jesus. Perseverance is possible because of who God is.
Trait #7 God-Dependent (John 15:5) –A Christ follower is God-Dependent, someone who knows they desperately need God, and that God can and will help them. Faith and humility are foundational attitudes of God dependence. Prayer is a foundational action of God dependence. Some other actions or postures that show up in someone who is God dependent are gratitude, reliance on the Holy Spirit, peace, and boldness.
Trait #8 Focused on Eternity (Philippians 3:20) – A Christ follower is focused on eternity, engaged in the here and now, but longing for what is yet to come. We should all long to arrive at a place of complete wholeness and unhindered fellowship with our Creator; to experience and witness the resurrection and renewal of all things; to finally taste the state of perfection for which we were made.
All of the chapter were good, but I was probably most blessed by this last one. “Focused on Eternity.” As another reviewer wrote, “I especially resonated with his ‘Focused on Eternity’ chapter, as being a believer can sometimes be impossible armed only with short-term, earth-focused thinking. If you’re a Christian, or someone who’s at least interested in what a Christ-follower might look like if they were really following the Bible, you’ll find this book a winner, and have it read inside a week.”