What did Jesus do? Since incarnating the gospel is about being Jesus, believers have to be good followers of Jesus. They have to learn from Jesus. They have to imitate Him. To put it simply, incarnating the gospel is about doing what Jesus did.
To learn what Jesus did, you have to make the Gospels our primary text (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Alan Hirsch observes that Christians “so easily abandon Jesus. Our religion has become Paulism. We need to get back to Jesus. Jesus will teach about mission more than anyone else.” (Missio Intensive Conference, October 7, 2006)
Michael Frost sees that Christians are essentially “a group of people who have oriented their lives around Jesus.” (Missio Intensive Conference, October 7, 2006)
Therefore, they must focus on following Jesus. Jesus invested His life in His disciples day after day, developing them into authentic followers. Christians never stop being His disciples. There is no next step. Following Jesus is every believer’s destiny.
As we follow Him, we seek to be like Him. If Christians follow really well, others in the surrounding culture will see Jesus. In simple terms, “if the heart of discipleship is to become like Jesus, then we see that Jesus’s strategy is to get a whole lot of little versions of him infiltrating every nook and cranny of society by reproducing himself in and through his people in ever place throughout the world.” (Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p 113)
Christians are those who visibly express Jesus through their lives as they follow Him. That is why Paul could write to the Corinthian church, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Followers embody the message of Jesus. They “incarnate” Jesus in their daily lives. They practice Jesus.
So what does it look like to practice Jesus? What practices should be embodied? How do you know when you are truly incarnational? You will look like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Serve like Jesus. Sacrifice like Jesus. Preach like Jesus. Endure. Care. Think. Lead. Submit. Pray. Bless. Give. And keep on doing it! Incarnating the gospel looks like Jesus!