I saw a video a while back promoting this idea of being your own hero. “Be the HERO of your story!” was the doctrine of this motivational video. This ideology is so common in our culture today and ultimately leaves us bankrupt when it comes to true inspiration and motivation. However, it does touch on a few ideas at the core of human existence: story, heroism and living a life of meaning.
Story is so ingrained in human existence that we tend to not notice or think about it. At the end of our days and weeks, even months, we don’t think so much in terms of story, but we’ve probably just told a few, listened to a few, read a few or watched a few.
The truth is, story impacts every part of our lives: from simple communication with our spouse or kids about how the day has gone to recounting weekend activities and adventures to colleagues on Monday morning. From the telling of a funny joke or circumstance to the history of civilization, story is the undercurrent of everything that’s happening around us. We hear the story, learn from the story, and live in light of story. Each of us live in the story and heritage of our parents and our children will live in our legacy and story.
Language, the Courier of Story
Language and story are intricately tied together. Language is the key tool of story, speaking and hearing the stories that then, in turn, shape what we do, how we do it and why we do it. There is something so deep and profound about the concept of story that if we will stop and think about it carefully, our minds can be opened up to a greater vision of life and a greater story than just our own.
It has been said that “story is the language of the heart.” That’s why when we hear or read or watch a good story, it moves us. It can even change us. Have you experienced a story that has changed you?
The Mega Story
We often think of story only in terms of fiction, but this is not the case! The best stories are true and the very best stories are those written by the Creator. G. K. Chesterton said, “I had always felt life first as a story – and if there is a story there is a storyteller.”I had always felt life first as a story - and if there is a story there is a storyteller - Chesterton Click To Tweet
The story of God and His living, breathing, image bearers walking around and enjoying the paradise garden, through the rebellion and the fall, onto redemption, the New Creation and eternal Kingdom of God is THE story of all stories. It gives incredible context to our lives.
Satan, the defeated one, unable to overthrow God’s kingdom, turned his focus onto those who bore God’s image, the son and daughter of God. And Using the same lie that powered the original rebellion and war in heaven (“to be like God”) he tempted them, and in doing so lead them to the very action that twisted our hearts to this very day. The Kingdom of men was overthrown, paradise was lost, and darkness began to cover the land for thousands of years.
But God so loved the world, He so loved His fallen sons and daughters, that as soon as they fell He began to promise that the serpent would be crushed, death would be destroyed, and He would restore the human race from darkness, defeat, slavery and judgement. The great time of preparation began and continued through the ages from Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to Moses and Joshua, the judges, the kings, King David the mighty giant-slaying warrior, and King Solomon the wise temple-builder. Then came the age of the prophets and priests and then…
Chesterton couldn’t be more right: the Bible – God’s word – is largely a narrative, meaning it is telling a story. And in the center of that story, the hero of that story, is a man named Jesus, a God-man. The Reconciler who brings the Kingdom of Heaven to earth in a brilliant rescue strategy, rescuing and uniting the poor in spirit and the humble of heart and building a holy nation of ambassador priests: you and I, who will continue His mission, be faithful and fruitful stewards of His work, and be about the Father’s business while He, the Master, is away.
The Story Continues
The story is not over yet, the war rages on. We live between the two glorious appearings of Jesus, the God-man. Scripture says, “Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside His control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:8-9 ESV)
This is real, folks. This is no legend or fairytale, no fantasyland or trip of imagination – this is real! More real than you could ever imagine and by faith, we believe, we trust, we wait in joyous hope and confident expectation that one day the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the sky will be split apart like a scroll, and every mountain and island will be moved from their place. The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 6:14 [LEB])
Until the return of the King and the new consummated and conquering Kingdom is established, we look to the One who has gone before: the Great Runner, the Great Warrior, Jesus who has blazed the way. Now the Father, placing His hand on your shoulder says,
“GO! Run in the Way, Fight with the Truth, Enjoy the Life that I have secured for you.”
And as we run and fight and live in the power of Jesus, that Father smiles with delight that His rescued ones are once again sons and daughters of God.
The same lie whispered in the garden echoes today as the repackaged “Be the hero of your own story,” and it is just as destructive as it was in the garden. But God’s story gives our stories context. Our micro-stories must find their place in His mega-story. This is when our lives make sense and we can make sense of our stories.
Jesus is the Hero of the Story
The Author of Hebrews writes,
”Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by He Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV
The author of Hebrews goes on to say in chapter 2 that Jesus is not only God but He is one of us, flesh and blood. because He is one of us, He was able to defeat the enemy and bring our race back to God.
Instead of striving to be the heroes of our own stories, Jesus takes the center stage as the hero of our story.
If I come to the end of my life and have been my own hero, lived my own legend, or carefully crafted my own legacy then I will have wasted my life. Why? Because 100 years from now I will be buried in the ground, my body will be rotted away, and the memory of me will likely be totally gone outside of a few conversations in my family.
But if Jesus is the hero of my story, I live in His legend, I perpetuate His message, I carefully participate in crafting His legacy, then I will have lived a life connected to and in the context of a story that will never die.
When we stop trying to be the hero of our own story and let Jesus, the real Hero of the story, be our Hero, that’s where life really begins. The truth is, there can only be one hero in any good story. But the awesome news is there can be some pretty awesome supporting characters. 😃
Who’s the hero of your story?
Questions to help you evaluate who is the hero of your story
- What are your mindsets? Is your mind set on the Kingdom of Heaven, seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness, or is your mindset on your own kingdom, career, reputation and comfort? Is your mindset serving or being served, giving or being given to, loving God or loving self?
- How do you spend your resources, time, energy, money? How and where we spend our time, energy and money says a lot about our priorities and what we think is really important. Does our resource expenditure point to Jesus being the hero and focus of our story or does it point to us being the hero of our own story?