ARE YOU THE HERO OF YOUR OWN STORY? (PART TWO)

(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?

(This post is part two of a three-part series. Be sure to check back next Thursday for part three regarding how God has called men to be the hero in their children’s stories and point them to Christ!)

EVERY STORY HAS A MONSTER (PART ONE)

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Wouldn’t you agree that we all long for something more than what this world has to offer, even if we don’t quite know what it is? We each have this yearning within our hearts for something we have yet to experience and obtain.

Some of us can’t exactly reconcile why we are here. As a Christian myself, though, I firmly believe that our very hearts and souls long for one thing: restoration.

I can prove that we all have this unified desire by pointing out the one resounding theme found in every story book, television show, and movie today… The theme is that every story has a monster.

Think of any fairytale you’ve ever read, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, or The Wizard of Oz. Remember Narnia and Lord of the Rings? Take into account Anne of Green Gables, Jane Austen’s Emma or Pride and Prejudice, or Jane Eyre. Each of these stories have a monster figure within their pages.

Humans tell a universal story whether they mean to or not; but why?

It all started in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve, and the monster (or in their case the serpent who was Satan). The monster deceived Eve and led her to believe that if she ate the fruit from the tree God had commanded them not to eat from, that she would become like God, knowing all things.

Eve took the fruit and ate. She then offered some to her spiritually weak husband who also ate, and from the moment she took that first bite of fruit, every kind of chaos and disorder has plagued mankind. We are born into sin, and we find ourselves longing for redemption.

Heidi White has a quote that says, “Monsters are embodiments of The Fall. It’s not the darkness that bothers us, it’s that there is not a hero to meet that darkness.”

Our hearts are desperate for the restoration of our story, of this disconsolate world’s story.

A hero must defeat the monster. Even those who do not believe in our Lord Jesus continue to write and tell stories in which a hero defeats the monster and the darkness and disorder it has caused. Even stories such as Harry Potter and the Marvel series (which are very secular and I do not recommend Christians reading) have a monster(s) and a hero(s).

The Bible itself is full of the monster/hero storyline! Paul reveals this to the men of Athens in Acts 17:23 which says, “Then Paul stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”

You see, they knew there was a god (an unknown god) that they could pray to for deliverance. They just didn’t know who the true God and hero was and still is today.

Ultimately, we tell a universal story because it’s been written into each one of us by our Creator, God.

As Christians, we need to know that the monster in our story exists and is savagely fierce, cruel, and violent. His name is Satan, and he is our enemy. However, we also need to know that the monster can be overcome.

When Jesus died on the cross for our sin and resurrected after being dead in the grave for three days, He rescued us from Satan, the monster of our story that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

Monsters never, ever triumph when a hero is willing to act courageously and sacrificially. For our sake, Jesus was willing to meet the darkness.

“I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy. The most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C. S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you find within yourself a desire that this world cannot satisfy?

= Are you tempted to think that the monster of your story will win?

= What are you going to do differently?

(This post is part one of a three-part series. Be sure to check back next Thursday for part two regarding being the hero of your own story!)