(Post by: Michelle Hobbs)
Last week, Lilly stated that every story has a monster. A monster that must be defeated by a hero. I would like to go a little further with this thought about stories and say that every good story follows the Biblical account of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.
From the ancient text of The Odyssey to the most recent Avengers movie, every compelling story follows this pattern. A perfect, or at least stable, society, or life, is disrupted by a monster, who is then defeated by a hero, restoring order and goodness. Because this is the arc of the Christian story, it is woven into God’s creation, into the very fabric of every human being. Whether an author or screenwriter means to or not, this is the story that is naturally retold over and over again because we are created in the image of God. All of humanity has a divine longing to tell His story.
My question to you, this week, is: Are you the hero of your own story? Have you thought of your life as a story; one that could impact those around you now and the generations that will come after you? Living in light of eternity demands that you think of your life this way.
C. S. Lewis states that he first learned to love God through stories. He recognized the pattern within, even Pagan, stories as man’s spiritual effort to make the world understandable and bearable.
The Bible, itself, begins and ends with incredibly gripping stories. It begins with the creation of our world and the fall of mankind. It ends with the creation of a new world; one that is completely perfect and free of evil monsters. And, of course, there are hundreds of other stories within the Old and New Testaments.
Jesus taught His disciples through stories or parables. Nathan helped David to realize his sin by telling him a story about a rich man and a poor man (2 Samuel 12). The lessons that stick with me from the Bible tend to be stories of people who overcame trials and sin, such as: the woman at the well, a group of friends lowering a crippled man through a roof so he could get to Jesus, blind Bartimaeus who refused to be silent, Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see Jesus, or the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and tears.
Stories are vital to the formation of our souls. They are like a good map that helps us to navigate, survive, and even flourish in the wilderness of this world that has lost its way. They help us to make sense of our trials and tribulations.
Is your story a guide to others? Does it show them what to do, or maybe what not to do? Is it an inspiration to help another take courage and stand up against evil?
Our world is full of monsters, and we are forever at war with them. Whether those monsters reveal themselves as real, live, flesh and blood, or as corrupt institutions or government entities, or as sins, trials, illnesses, or other challenges that we must overcome, each human must choose whether to battle evil or allow it to flourish.
I have been privileged to disciple two young ladies recently. Each have made mistakes, sinned against people close to them, and have had to choose to go to battle to find redemption and restoration. I am so proud to say that each have defeated sin through their faith in Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit. One is a little farther along in her story than the other, having been a Christian for a few years. The second is a brand-new Christian (Praise the Lord!) and is trying to figure out how to live for Jesus.
These ladies, as well as you and I, have an opportunity to tell our story. We have the chance to tell others how Jesus has defeated sin and evil in our lives and has helped us to be heroes, whose stories can inspire others to do the same.
Every good hero in the stories we read, or watch, must be trained, taught, and prepared to defeat monsters. They must be proved worthy of the task at hand. It is through hardship, trial, tribulation, and pain that a hero is fully developed.
You see, it is precisely the darkest secret sins, the most challenging trials, and the most powerful enemies that make the best stories. The ones that people around you, your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren can relate to the most. We are all facing monsters!
When you are courageous enough to repent and tell others about how Jesus helped you defeat your monsters, and how the Holy Spirit allows you to live in victory over evil, then, you become the hero of your own story!
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= What kind of “monster” do you need to defeat in your story?
= What are you going to do differently?