I do this thing where I choose books with stories that make me so miserably uncomfortable that I have to put them down and walk away for a little bit.
One time I read a book (Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand) that was so disturbing my husband forbid me to finish it when he came into the bedroom and found me sobbing.
But I need to know what it looks like to follow Jesus.
Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 NIV)
What does it look like to deny self and take up a cross and follow?
Fulfilling beyond description.
So I have read about prison and torture and starvation. Children taken. Houses burned. Limbs chopped off. Spouses separated.
Sacrifice of every kind.
But I also have read about adoption and feeding the hungry and joy and finding something more to live for than just buying new clothes and something pretty to hang in my house.
Right now I’m reading Anything, by Jennie Allen. She and her husband pray in bed one night, telling God they will do anything he asks of them. They put everything on the table –their house, their empty spare bedroom, their money, their time. She talks about how frightening and uncomfortable it is to give up control of your life and live recklessly for what will matter for eternity.
Her story makes me squirm. I read a few chapters and then set the book down. It makes me pace and ask God questions. It makes me wonder if I love my house more than God, if I love my time more than God. Will I do anything he asks me to do?
Dr. Ben Carson says we need to listen and learn from people who have already been where we want to go.
So I read books that show me what it looks like to follow Jesus.
What do you read? Do you read on purpose? Do you read stories that dare you to live for Jesus? Do you read stories that take you to the edge of obedience and beg you to jump –all in?
Try one of these and let me know what you think (I wish every single one of you would read Anything.):
- Anything, by Jennie Allen
- Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis
- Evidence Not Seen, by Darlene Deibler Rose
- The Narrow Road, by Brother Andrew
- The Autobiography of George Muller, by George Muller
- The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
What book have you read recently that has challenged you to deny yourself and live for Christ?