Beebe and Foster identify “Intimacy with Jesus Christ” as the fourth path in their book Longing For God. They write, “From the times of Christ, Jesus’ followers have sought ways to imitate him. The New Testament is filled with examples of how experiences from Jesus’ life became the model for early Christians.”

This imitation took various forms at different times. Sometimes one aspect of Christ’s life was emphasized. At other times something else was emphasized. “Beginning in the fourth century, the virgines sacrae were consecrated to perpetual virginity as an expression of the imitation of Christ. Syriac Christians followed suit, initially understanding discipleship as a literal imitation of the poor, homeless, celibate Jesus. In Ireland, the Celtic Christians practiced a form of voluntary exile and deprivation know as ‘the green martyrdom,’ traveling as itinerant ministers in faith and obedience just as Jesus had done.”
In the thirteenth century a new approach developed. This new approach came to be known as the devotio moderna, the new way. Followers of this new way attempted to live life the way Christ had lived. “No longer were Christians called to a life of solitary prayer. Now they were to be in the world, preaching, praying and facing the same challenges Jesus had.”