Stories

Stories. By Rebekka Hansel
“Saving is all His idea, and His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving.”
 Ephesians 2:8-9 (MSG)
Any writer will tell you that a STORY has five basic elements: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. But what makes a GREAT story? In many cases, it’s the conflict and the resolution. Conflict builds character, and great characters rise from the ashes of their conflict to a grand resolution. And as Christians, we love to apply this same formula to one of our favorite stories to tell of all. I’m referring, of course, to The Testimony.

Growing up in church, Wednesday night was Testimony Night. Before the pastor began his mid-week sermon, he handed the microphone over to any brave soul who was willing to share what the Lord had done in his or her life that week.
 
I don't mean to make light of it - it was one of my favorite parts of the service. Seeing as how I'm a big fan of stories in all their forms, this shouldn't be that surprising. The wilder the tale, the more I loved it. Because honestly, who doesn’t love a great conversion?

I believe that it’s why we love the Apostle Paul so much. Here is a man who is literally murdering Christians when we meet him in the book of Acts, and then in one epic encounter with Jesus, he has a grand conversion and becomes an evangelical powerhouse! Now THAT is a story!

But what happens when you’re someone who sat at her kitchen table at the age of 4, asked her Mom how to get Jesus into her heart, and then more or less followed all the rules through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood? If you’re anything like me, you may wake up one day and think to yourself, “Well. I don’t know that I really have a testimony.” There was no reason (I thought) for me to grab that Wednesday night microphone.
 
And that is the great deception. The characters, the setting, and the plot are different for every Christ-follower. But the conflict for us all is the same. We were every one of us, born with a sinful nature that separated us from God. The prophet Isaiah says that "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Living my life as a rule follower might have been admirable to some, and it probably made my parents' lives easier, but there was no rule great enough for me to follow to find my way back to the Father.

The resolution, for me and for all that were born with a sinful nature (spoiler alert: that's everyone) is the blood of Jesus that saved us and reconciled us to the Father so that we could be His children.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize the truth - I do have a testimony. A story. One that I never could have written myself.

Challenge:
It is so tempting for us to look at our lives and be deceived into thinking that our good works (or what we call "good") are what make us fit for Heaven. Today, I encourage you to consider again what we have been saved from and what we have been called to. Not because of anything we have done, but because it pleased the Father to send his son as a sacrifice. He paid the price and wiped our slates clean. He is, was, and will always be the only one perfect enough to atone for our sins
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4 Comments


Dawn - May 5th, 2022 at 12:53pm

Fantastic! Love your story!

Pastor Brian - May 5th, 2022 at 6:11pm

Great word indeed - Thanks for sharing!

Sandi Filean - May 6th, 2022 at 9:34am

Such a great message and reminder - thank you!

Darlys Purdy - May 8th, 2022 at 7:58am

Good reminder for us that grew up in the church.