I love reading the stories of those God has used throughout history. The diversity of those He uses is staggering. There is no one personality type, ministry philosophy, nor theological tribe God has been limited to. All of this serves to make much of God and breed humility in us.
Outside the Bible, biographies of the people God has used to make a lasting impact tend to be my favorite reading. The stories of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, D.L. Moody, C.H. Spurgeon, and A.W. Tozer have all served my soul, my marriage, and my ministry. Besides the amazing nature of these stories, there are three primary reasons I read these great books:
1. They stir my affection for Jesus
One of the common traits in those God uses to change the world is their inextinguishable love and affection for Jesus. I have found the more I read of their love for Christ, the more my own affection for Him increases. I can feel my heart burn hotter as I turn the pages through the lives of the Christians who have gone before me.
2. They serve as a practical example
If you are like me, you want to learn how to better love and pursue Jesus. The lives of these flawed, but faithful servants serve as practical examples of how to pray, study God's Word, prepare sermons, serve the church without sacrificing your family, and endure hardship in a way that honors God and grows our faith.
3. They remind me of God's faithfulness
Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "There is nothing new under the sun." Reading the struggles, suffering, and successes of God's people reminds me of this. The opposition I face, the fatigue I feel, and the joy I experience are not exclusive to me and they are not new. These great biographies serve as constant reminders of who God is and his faithfulness toward His servants down through history.
If you have not made Christian biography a regular part of your reading rhythm, I high recommend you give it a shot. They will stir your affection for Christ, serve as a practical example of how others have pursued Christ, and remind you of God's faithfulness.
Here are a few of my favorites:
"50 People Every Christian Should Known" by Warren W. Wiersbe
"Jonathan Edwards: A Life" by George M. Marsden
"Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther" by Roland H. Bainton
"Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers" by Lewis A. Drummond
"A Passion for Souls: The Life of D.L. Moody" by Lyle Dorsett