Chapter 7: God’s Story as the Context for Our Way of Life

After the last chapter, this one read like a breeze!

As Chris begins to wind down the book (only 2 more chapters left), we star to see the bigger picture coming together. We have looked at some of the developmental parts of an adolescent brain. We have seen the importance of story within our ministry. Now we begin to see the practical steps of what we must teach to students who desire to be disciples. This chapter is all about students integrating what we have been teaching, what they have been experiencing, and the formation of their identity all into their way of life. This chapter is devoted to two things. The first is the fact that adolescents need a creed to live by, which governs their thoughts and guides their actions. Something from which they can measure all of their choices as a disciple.

The second item covered in this chapter is a look at the creed that Jesus lived by. Chris argues that we must all scour the Gospels for ourselves in order to understand the creed that Jesus lived by. Chris did this and shared his findings, encouraging us to each do the same for our lives. I can admit, while I agree that in a relationship with Christ, we need to do work ourselves instead of allowing others to spoon-feed us, there is a part of my brain that screams “DANGER!” I trust that God can handle any messed up theology that spins out of an individual interpreting Scripture for themselves (believe me, I am certain I have had some doozies myself), and I recognize that we need to work out our own salvation in fear and trembling, but there is a slight danger in asking each person to find their own creed in what they look for in Jesus’ life. The statement seems to be made that we cannot point to one single creed based on Jesus’ life and ask everyone else to model it. I would argue that it is possible to draw up one creed from Jesus’ life and ask all Christians to follow it. I agree we need to do this work on our own, I just wanted to share a slight reservation I have in the process, that is all.

Chris broke Jesus’ creed down into three inward values and three external values, and I cannot say that I disagree with any of them. These are things that we need to teach and model to our students on a regular basis if we are to help them draw closer to Christ in their journey. We need to make sure that they (and we) are working on both the internal and the external parts of the creed in our lives.

Some thoughts that stuck with me:

  • A disciple is one who engages with Jesus as a person and, by trusting in Him, begins to live out the virtues that Jesus talks about. (page 121)
  • Jesus abided with the Father, growing close to God by continually making time for Him, even though Jesus was surrounded by the many needs of the demanding crowds who pursued Him. (page 123)
  • We imitate Jesus when our relationship with Him leads us to increase the frequency and duration of the holy moments in our lives. (page 125)