“One of the deepest of all human longings is the longing to belong, to be a part of things, to be invited in. We want to be part of the fellowship. Where did that come from?”
We all have a defining story. The lens through which we see the world is largely influenced by the driving narrative of our lives.
If the driving narrative of our lives is limited to our own personal experiences, then we are going to find ourselves extremely disappointed in life as it unfolds. All of human history has been told in stories. From the early Mesopotamians, to the Pharoah stories of Egypt, to the French Revolution stories and the Great American Revolution against the British, history is full of story after story after story.
The religious heritage of humanity has also always been about stories. The Mayan Indians connected to a greater story. The Greeks and Romans believed in their Gods. The Jews had Yahweh, the Muslims Allah, the Christians Jesus. So many stories. So many driving narratives. So much confusion.
Why in the world should we pick one story over against the other? Don’t they all have value? Can’t they all be right? Aren’t they many stories that all just tell the same Story?
The answer may surprise you.
The answer is…
Humans have created stories throughout human history for several reasons. A strong sense of tradition, an emotion of familial relationship, and a reasonable way to think through the existence of all things are just a few reasons why we create the stories we tell.
Consider the Bible Story
But I want today to give you some compelling reasons for considering the Bible story as the Story to belong to. This will not be exhaustive because I just don’t have that much space or time to write. But I want to pique your interest today and invite you to reflect on the story you’ve been told is your own. I want to ask you to consider the possibility that, if you haven’t embraced the Gospel story…the Story of God as laid out in the Bible, maybe you will reconsider.
Here we go:
- The Bible Story connects us with history unlike any other book. From Genesis to Revelation, everything that the Bible reveals is about both God and us. The earliest books of the Bible were written as far back as 4000 years ago. Recorded human history goes back to at least 10,000 years and many of the ancient religious stories parallel the stories of a Great Fall of humanity, a Great Flood, and a Divine Being. In our 21st century Western mind, we have become accustomed to rational/logical thinking and have all but disposed of story as a viable explanation of the existence of things. We rely on human ingenuity, scientific discovery, and only the facts to explain our existence. What we have ended up with, I’m afraid, is a dead, cold humanism that offers no real explanation of our origins or our future. There is a new story being told about how humans are the only real hope for humanity. We are disconnected from our own history, and we are in a tailspin as a result. The Bible story offers a connection between the present and the past like no other book.
- The Bible Story reveals a God who offers life-giving relationship or death-dealing religion. Religion that is right and true always leads people to deeper more compassionate relationships. But most religion, as we can clearly see even today, is leading people to exert power over others and to annihilate any real sense of connection and love. The Bible Story describes a God who is fierce in his pursuit of a humanity connected to Him intimately. God is described as a jealous God, which really only means that His love is one of deep strength, His passion for His creation is relentless, and His desire for us is that we freely choose Him. This God offers us life and death, knowing the risk involved if we choose disconnection from Him. What kind of love is this? A sacrificial love, an abiding love, an unconditional love. This is a graceful God. No other story describes God in this way.
- The Bible Story gives us multiple ways to experience His Story. Through historical record, brilliant narrative, beautiful poetry and songwriting, heartfelt pleas to romance His people back to His heart, wisdom literature, Good News Stories, practical letters of encouragement and instruction, and even through prophetic future telling…God tells his Story so that the simple minded and the highly intelligent can both come and understand His desire for us to connect with Him. We all come from different walks of life, with different individual stories and histories. The Bible Story gives us examples and storytellers from all walks of life that are just as diverse as we are. 40 authors from different time periods and cultural backgrounds all culminated together in a book that cries with one strong voice…Our God is near us…wooing us, rescuing us, and restoring the brokenness in our lives. No other Story in all human history even comes close to offering us a real God who really understands and listens to our hearts.
- The Bible Story reveals a God who is not content to stay up in Heaven. Too many of us believe that God is “the Man Upstairs” when, in actuality, He is the Man upstairs, downstairs, in the attic, in the park, in the workplace, in our school, in our basement, in our heart, in the world, out in the open, behind closed doors, everywhere and in everything we see and don’t see. God is not content to be aloof, distant, and darkly shrouded. He came to us. He became one of us. He walked our sod, used our bathroom, learned our pain, suffered our suffering, and even died our death for us. But this Story doesn’t end with the death of God… He is not asleep. He is alive and well, and this is the Story the Bible offers us. A God who cares about every inch of our bodies and every depth of our souls.
- The Bible Story gives us a worldview through which to see the brokenness and eventual redemption of our world and its people. No other compelling narrative paints a picture of a restored humanity the way that the Bible does. God’s Story reminds us of our brokenness and pain, but it also gives us meaning and purpose for the life we live here and now. And to top it all off, it also defines life for us after this one. The Bible isn’t an instruction manual on how to live our lives…it is the written Word of the One who made you. It is trustworthy, reliable, and UN-mistakeably unique among all the ancient texts of the world. Do the research. The Scriptures are unparalleled.
Why does all this matter?
The story that defines your life is the story that will influence every decision you make, every person you interact with, every action you take in this life. If you choose to connect yourself with a story that isn’t true to how you were created to live, then you will always find yourself lost, disappointed, and disconnected from the belonging that you so desperately seek.
Humanity is full of people who allowed themselves to be defined by a different story. Don’t be one of those people. Connect yourself to the larger Story God is telling. The invitation to Follow Jesus is an invitation to allow a different Story to define who you are and what you do with your life.
What do you think? What has been the story that you have allowed to define your existence? Is it different from the Kingdom Story of God? Talk to me. Let’s discuss these things. How can I help you?