Book Review: Wild at Heart by John Elderedge

May 17, 2010

I have been reading John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart” and would have to say this is definitely a must read for any Christian Man.  I enjoyed a couple of chapters in particular and will share some of the insights I received from the book.

Eldredge opens the book by focusing on a man’s primal urge for wilderness and to be in the wilderness.  It was not until I finished this chapter that I really understood why my favorite place to think is deep within the mountains of a local state park.  The quiet surroundings usually lead me to worship God for who he is.  More importantly, the wilderness helps me to tune out all of the noise in my life and focus on the yearning created in me to see God and God alone.  He also points out how this primal urge begins when we are boys, wanting to go into the woods to create forts or explore.  Somewhere between boyhood and now, I lost importance and focus on satisfying this urge.  After chapter 1, I found myself looking at my calendar for a time I could get away and get into the wilderness.

One of my other favorite chapters was a “Battle to Fight”.  As with my blog series, Enemies Behind the Line, this chapter recognizes and highlights the Christian man as a warrior, one needing to regain his voice and place in the world.  Elderedge doesn’t pull any punches in this chapter, addressing many of the shortcuts men take rather than confronting the enemy within.  It was by far my favorite chapter.

Out of this chapter, there was one section that rocked my thinking.  Elderedge says we are conditioned as Christian men to think we are “a poor sinner saved by grace” and nothing more.   I had to read this sentence twice: “The Big Lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than “A sinner saved by grace” … You are a lot more than that… You are a new creation in Christ.”  Like I said, I reread this  passage a couple of times and further in the explanation began to understand the real war was between my old self and the new creation Christ has made.  I know I should already know this, but somehow, reading it in black and white really slapped me in the face.  Later in the same chapter, Elderedge shares various stories of men he has discipled and the struggles they faced.  I can honestly say I have not stopped “processing” this epiphany and it will most likely be one of those chapters that forever changes how I view myself and how I view my “battle.”

Overall, this is a great read and offers a number of great insights to the makeup of the Christian Man.  At my church, we have begun a couple of small discipleship groups using this book and the workbook that goes with it.  Again, I would highly recommend this to any man looking to find the answer to the age old question of, “What’s this inside of me?”  If you’re reading this in the comfort of your office and find yourself drifting to a getaway, I’d get the book before going to wilderness to find yourself in God!

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.



  1. Trent….as often happens, I was looking for something else on the Internet and found…you. Great post on Wild at Heart. The message from this book and others turned my Christian life UPSIDE DOWN seven or eight years ago. Eldredge showed me that God was calling me (and all of His men) into something much larger than quietly sitting in a pew with a book of rules in my lap. Bored men…bored Christian men…WILL find an adventure if they are not walking in one with God. And that adventure often goes under ground. Sports, building the career, hobbies, even ministry. That stuff can look pretty good. Anger, sexual counterfeits like pornography…not so good. But it’s all essentially the same. Our heart is made for more and we are looking for it. I saw a small boy today at a Farmer’s Market in the mountains of North Carolina today wearing a plastic gladiator helmet wielding a plastic sword and was reminded that he knows there is a battle going on. And that he is a warrior called to fight. And no one had to tell him. God wrote it on his heart.

    Keep spreading the word. I seem to run into men almost weekly that are being stirred to something greater. Zoweh Ministries in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, the Savannah Men of Integrity, New Wilderness Adventures, Fight Like a Man in Knoxville. Speaking of Fight Like a Man, Gordon Dalbey (www.abbafather.com) is blowing me away. His book Fight Like A Man folllowed his intial book, Healing the Masculine Soul way back in 1988 (2003 updated edition). Keep up the fight.

  2. I know this is an old post but it is an excellent review of one of my favorite books. Wild at Heart changed my life. I have been a Christian my whole life but always felt there was something more. This book helped me find that purpose. It’s perfect for men (and women) who are bored and complacent with day-to-day life. Everyone has a purpose in life and this book helped me find mine.

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