Confession: I have never read John Eldredge’s book, Wild At Heart. Maybe that makes me one of the only Christian dudes that doesn’t really know what it means to be a man? I don’t know…but I recently picked up a copy of another one of his books, Walking With God, in order to read through it for a series I am teaching (that feels weird to write). Though I don’t necessarily agree with everything he sets forward, I resonated with much of his self-analysis, specifically when it came to what he terms, “agreements.”
Eldredge posits that every day we are faced with a reality opposed to the promises of God and that in these confrontations we have the option to make agreements with them or stay our mind on the Lord. This is true for whatever life throws our way, from a more-than-satisfactory salary to visiting the doctor and earning a diagnosis cancer, we can resign to our conditions or believe there is something more. As with all that we experience, we wrestle with more than flesh and blood and there is a spiritual aspect to these contracts that are being offered.
If I need to write, but I can’t find the inspiration or focus I can agree that this is reality and there’s nothing more or I can go to the Lord and ask for His generosity. If I wake in the middle of the night, I can resign to the fact that I won’t go back to sleep or I can turn it over to the Lord. If I am discouraged, frustrated, or dismayed I can surrender to that as truth or I can pursue the promises of the Lord. We face agreements on a daily basis and we must learn to fight these while walk with God.
Eldredge says we practice the discipline of discernment by “recognizing their fruits.” We know the fruit of the Spirit – is it the intended outcome this agreement is driving you towards? Often times, the voice we hear most clearly is the one that says,
This is all there is. There is nothing more.
According to Eldredge, if we agree to this we are agreeing to a theft of our joy. I don’t know about you, but I resonate with this assessment of life. The underlying desire behind his warnings is that we allow God to enter into all facets of our being. Our imaginations, our concerns, our feelings, our plans, they all matter to the Lord and we should invite Him into them.
Our agreements are rooted in our faith. This is not all there is. There is so much more.
What agreements have you made?