Updated to add: We’re having a slight issue with our BlogFrog community post so for now we will be chatting about these chapters here in the comments.
Well, ladies. Today is our last day working through Beautiful Outlaw together. Actually, that is not true! It may be the last day of recapping on the blog, but we can certainly keep the conversation alive over in the community.
If you’ve fallen behind in your reading, feel free to join the convo as you finish each chapter. I know both Christy and I would love to keep talking about this as a community, uncovering and discovering Jesus more and more. It’s fun as a group!
Today we are covering the final two chapters as well as the epilogue. Let’s get this thing started!
Chapter 16- Letting Jesus Be Himself
The portion of this chapter that has completely captured me is when John Eldredge explores the personal encounters & examples of how Jesus interacts with us. Eldredge shares stories of friends and people whom he has counseled and how they each personally began to experience Jesus once they let go of the baggage they had been carrying around.
He “opens up the possibilities of experiencing Jesus” for us within this chapter and every time I read through it I think, “This is the Jesus I love.” This very Jesus who can speak to the bookworm through books, the fishermen on a boat, the singer through lyrics, the movie buff through a blockbuster.
I’m all about Scripture being the foundation of our conversational intimacy with God, but I also deeply believe Jesus will use the things we love to talk with us too. I can be at the beach and feel Him more overwhelmingly present than anywhere else. On a hike? Jesus and I do are best talking. For me, written words and nature are the way He speaks to me outside of the Bible.
What is your thing with Him? Where might he be waiting for you? Does what He has said to you repeat itself in movies or books or lyrics?
John Eldredge writes that Jesus is everywhere. That fills me hope. I fear sometimes we classify certain areas of life and our experiences open to the revelation of Jesus. We think, He cannot simply be found at the movies. Or within non-Christian lyrics. It matters to me that not only CAN He be, HE IS.
Does that fill you with hope? Joy? What do you feel thinking about Jesus being accessible to us wherever we are?
Have to admit, I cracked up at John Eldredge’s son at college seeing Jesus in a pirate hat.
This chapter has me curious: What encounters have you had with Jesus that have made you laugh? Or revealed something about His character anew to you?
John Eldredge describes Jesus’ heart as “vast and rich in beauty.” What a stunning description of Him. Today, after reading this book, how would you describe the heart of Jesus?
Chapter 17- Letting His Life Fill Yours
John kicks this chapter off with a question of his own: If you were to choose one word to describe the movement of Jesus through those three stunning years of public action we find in the Gospels, what word would it be?
Eldrege chooses the word “life.” What word would you choose?
Further along in this chapter Eldredge explores the two common reactions he has seen in people who encounter the beautiful, scandalous life of Jesus:
1. I can’t possibly do that.
2. I want to try to live like Him.
What did you think about the issues that can come with either of the above reactions? Did you agree/disagree with them? Which camp would you fall into?
I absolutely love that JE comes right out and asks the question we are all asking after reading this book. But how? How do we allow Jesus to invade our lives? To live fully in and through us?
JE’s answer is simple: Love Jesus. Embrace his personality. Get to know him. Give your life over to him, be filled up with him, surrender your self-determination. ← The hardest part of all, right?
The following quote from this chapter may be one of the quotes that will stay with me the longest:
“If you are not drawing your life from Jesus, it means you are trying to draw it from some other source.”
How true that is. What are some ways we can begin to continually draw life from Jesus?
Even though when I read these words – how they seem so basic – they are also the most revolutionary words I’ve ever read. When JE talks about how he was at his friend’s house for a get together and was just a “nightmare of sin” in the way he was internally acting? How revolutionary to approach his confession of sin not with a list of goals to “get better” but with a humble heart that asks Jesus to invade his life and live through him. He invited the presence of Jesus to take over, to mold him even still, he surrendered.
That could change your life. That could change my life.
I think I may need to read through the life of Jesus once more just to tune in to all the times He so willingly surrendered to the will of His Father.
Wouldn’t you want to be friends with someone who has been transformed by the personality of Jesus? What would our friendships and relationships look like if this began to happen?
Epilogue: One Last Thought
“An honest book about Jesus that does not address suffering
is not an honest book.”
At a young age my brothers/sister and I suffered some hard losses. Walking through your formative years with such heavy loss is heartbreaking. Walking through your formative years in church where the suffering of Jesus and the suffering that comes with following him is not addressed? Devastating.
I have to thank John Eldredge for being honest. For not skating over suffering because it is something hard to wrap our hearts and minds around. It is necessary to talk about suffering within the church. We do such a disservice to those shattered when we pretend Christianity is all roses and blue skies.
JE writes, “Listen carefully…: Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus. You must not let it.
What does this honesty do to your heart? Is it a relief to hear these words “spoken” out loud? How has suffering affected your relationship with Jesus in the past?
JE closes out the book with the encouragement to not forget what we have read in this book. He encourages a second read through (I’d say a third or fourth even…) to really soak in the personality of the Jesus we love. Underline, read it again, engage the book.
What are some ways you are going to be working what you’ve responded so deeply to within this pages into your life?
Before head over to the community to discuss I want to say, this is absolutely, hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read on the life of Jesus. More so, one of the best books I’ve ever read period.
I so hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you’ve fallen in love all the more with Jesus, The One and Only.
I highly recommend you check out the videos at beautifuloutlaw.net because JE has a way of reading these chapters with such flair. You feel engrossed in the Gospels as he shares.
Join us in the community this week (or whenever you get to these chapters!) to share your thoughts and what you’ve learned as you’ve read this book through.
It has been such fun to do this with Christy and all of you.
Something JE has been saying for several chapters is let Jesus be Himself with you. The first time I read this book I was not exactly sure what that meant. This time…. I see Him much more clearly. Going back into His Word and experiencing Him as a man and as God…it’s changed my heart. I see Him intimately. My dear Beautiful Outlaw.
We should expect to encounter Jesus anytime, anywhere, everywehre.
Jesus is everywhere. (page 184)
There is something profound about knowing He is everywhere and it’s as simple as just looking for Him. How have you seen Jesus today?
For me what JE says about the stories of others like missionaries… it really struck home for me. I have a cousin who has traveled the world doing missions. She has done amazing things for Him. I have always been in awe… and a little jealous because she was doing amazing things with such amazing stories…. yet I was just here. Now I see…it doesn’t matter where I am because He is there, preparing amazing stories for me. I just have to look a little deeper to see them. We all have amazing God moments and stories sometimes we just don’t choose to see them the way He does. Hold fast to the treasures you have. (page 186)
I must admit that JE’s telling of David’s story…especially about the guilt and pressure is one reason I struggle with organized religion. It’s something He is working on with me but I know it’s going to take some time… is there something you really struggle with that He is slowly working on with you?
Experiencing Christ within us, as well as beside us and with us. How often are you inviting Him to experience life with you?
One of my favorite lines from the whole book… When we recover the humanity of Jesus, it helps us find him in the messy parts of our own humanity, of humanity at large. (page 193) I could seriously write a blog post on this. Even more… my heart understand the messy better now that I am seeing His humanity…and it’s a gift.
God makes our hearts new. There is amazing hope in that.
Kristen asks a great question about about how we would describe Jesus years in public ministry…. for me I think the answer would be as he says many will say…love. I had never really seen the deepness of His love before and now seeing His humanity with all that He is. It’s love. To me His motive was love. I do think JE’s answer is brilliant
One thing that strikes me in this chapter…and the past few as I think about it is that JE is constantly telling us two things:
He reminds us to invite Him in. and two…He will come. All we need to do is ask. He is already here. Sometimes we just need to ask to see Him.
Out of the two reactions…I definitely fall into the camp of I could never do that. It’s why this is my year of dare…so I can see that I can do brave and hard things just as He did and I will and now I want to live like Him.
How to do all of these things… Love Jesus. It’s so simple. Why do we make it so hard?
We started this study with a powerful prayer…and now it seems so right to end it with this one…Lord Jesus, I give you my life today, to live your life.
Christ in us…our hope of glory. Our HOPE.
When reading the epilogue this time one thing pricked my heart so powerful I literally had to put the book down for a while. Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus. You must not let it. This is my struggle right now… in the not knowing and the frustration and the confusion…I feel the suffering and I see now it is trying so hard to separate me from Him to change my view of Him and I am fighting hard to keep it from doing that…today? I invited Him into it and my heart is so much lighter.
This book has challenged me and made me look at my life and my heart. IT is helped me see Jesus as more than I ever though possible and it has helped me see it is okay to just be myself. A girl who loves Jesus with all of her heart and is seeking to be more like Him daily. I am not perfect and I am a mess… but that’s okay because my beautiful outlaw Jesus loves me that way.
Thank you for joining Kristen and I in reading this book. My hope and prayer is that it has helped you see Him differently and even more beautifully than you could ever imagine.
See you in the community for our last discussion. Cannot wait to see what you think. <3