Some years ago, my husband and I spent time traveling across Southeast Asia. And while we were there, God gave us some thrilling opportunities to share Him with some local friends.
But the more these opportunities arose, the more I realized I needed a comprehensive tool to help me communicate the gospel. I needed something ‘big picture.’ I needed to share with them the overarching story of the Scriptures.
Why? Because knowing God’s story – the Ultimate Story – the Meta Story – is the only way we can know and understand our own life stories.
But, I had a slight problem.
With no previous exposure to the gospel or the God of the Bible, I knew my new-found friends would never come to faith if I just jumped into the story of the Bible in the middle – if I started by introducing them to Christ.
That’s like jumping into The Hobbit in the middle of the story – when Dragon Smaug destroys Lake-town. If you began the story in the middle, you’d miss being introduced to the unlikely burglar, Bilbo Baggins.
You’d miss learning how he was drafted into an adventure with 13 dwarves and a quirky wizard. You’d miss Bilbo’s creepy encounter with the wretched Gollum from whom he steals the prize of a mysterious magic ring – a ring that spawns a trilogy of other books.
You’d miss all of that!
Pick whatever story you’d like – Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games - the result is the same. If you jump into an epic tale in the middle, you miss crucial parts of the story.
I knew I couldn’t do that with the Bible – the most important story of the universe. I knew I needed to lay some groundwork before introducing my friends to Jesus.
I needed to share the whole story of God, because God’s story changes everything. It changed me, and it changed them.
Teaching my friends the story of God changed them in three ways:
God’s story filters our worldview
The story of God better equipped my friends to filter their culture and worldview through the prism of God’s Word. It helps me do the same with my mine.
God’s story helps us filter and evaluate what ideas and beliefs on which we’re basing our lives are man-centered and need to be removed.
That’s how God’s story changes things; it helps us see clearly that we are not the true Hero of our personal stories, but rather, our stories center around the King.
God’s story strengthens us for adversity
The story of God better equipped my friends to stand strong in adversity.
Each of us has past pains in our life – betrayals, abandonment, financial regret, emotional scars and even physical suffering. But God’s story for the world helps us cling to the promise that our present circumstances are not meaningless. What is wrong in our lives isn’t because of bad luck, but because of sin.
Knowing God’s story for the world means we can trust that God had a plan to deal with that sin. God’s story means we can trust that we aren’t stuck in our stories – things won’t always be this way. God’s story means our life stories have a good end; a good King is coming to make everything right.
Part of our story has yet to unfold.
God’s story teaches us to perceive Truth
The story of God better equipped my friends to hear from God rather than relying on their emotions.
Despite enjoying a democracy, many of us are still ruled by a ruthless dictator – our emotions. Our emotions tell us that whatever we feel at the moment represents truth. But our emotions can deceive us because they originate out of deceived hearts.
Knowing God’s story for the world means we can know Truth – with a capital T! – truth based on fact and evidence in God’s Word. God’s story for the world roots our stories in Truth because it introduces us to Truth in the person of Jesus Christ.
God’s Story changes everything. It changes how we view reality. It helps us cling to hope in the midst of suffering, and it helps us filter out parts of our worldview that don’t align with Truth. I know, because it changed me, and and it changed my friends.
Do you view the Bible as a story? How does that impact your everyday life? Would love to hear from you!