Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(emphasis added) Matthew 16:24
I know it’s kind of nerdy, but I really like biographies. My favorites (in no particular order) are Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs, and Becoming Dallas Willard: The Formation of a Philosopher, Teacher, and Christ Follower by Gary Moon. The fact that it was hard to stop listing titles indicates my nerdiness is more advanced than I previously thought.
Reading about people’s lives is often inspirational. It is an opportunity to peek behind the curtain to see the experiences, relationships, and practices that make up a person’s life and who they ultimately become. I think every biography has changed me or challenged me in some way. When we read about historic people, we almost automatically find patterns in their lives and try to imitate them. If someone reads 1,000 books a year, we try to set aside time to read more. If someone gets up at four in the morning we at least contemplate an earlier start to our day. There is an assumption that individuals’ habits and actions direct their lives.
I think we often do a disservice to the life of Jesus when we only read the Gospels as a collection of moral truths or commands. While those are present, in their simplest form the Gospels are a story of Jesus’ life; They are a biography. We should not only pay attention to the things that were said but to the things Jesus did if we are to be like him. What patterns existed in his life? How did he respond to situations? What were his interactions with people like? What habits existed in his life that I can adapt to mine?
There are very few commands from Jesus in the Gospels, but one that is given often is, “follow me.” So what does it look like to follow Jesus? In short, I believe it is doing the things he did, acting the way he acted, and loving the things he loved. But when you read about Jesus and see how he lived it is easy to see he lived the best, most impactful, and most fulfilling life in the history of the world. Living how Jesus did, and practicing what he taught helps us experience the good news (the Gospel) each day of our lives.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (emphasis added) John 8:12

Cade Lambert | NorthPoint Elder

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