Remember Who You Are

The stories we tell ourselves matter. Go into work thinking everyone’s out to get you and you’ll find yourself paranoid and agitated. Remember how much your family loves you and you’ll walk in the door ready to dole out hugs and kisses. There’s a connection between the story we tell ourselves and how we relate to the world around us.

This is especially true for Christians who join the story of their life to the great story of life itself when they lose themselves in being united to Jesus by faith. Our story gets swooped up into his. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” writes St. Paul, “for me to live is Christ.”

Too often followers of Jesus forget whose story they’re living in. Their own failures or problems of the world dominate the story of their lives more than the glorious good news of King Jesus’s resurrection and reign. One Scottish minister gazed at a congregation of Presbyterians and, for the long look in their faces during worship, asked, “Have yae all been baptized in vinegar?”

Is it any wonder that anger, resentment, and broken relationships characterize our churches? Or that our defense of the faith is more reactionary arguments than gracious invitations? No wonder many of us lack any power to fight off sin and temptation in our lives.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” writes the author of Hebrews. What do we hope for? What is the true but unseen story? Namely, that we who have believed have been bought with a price. We are not slaves but sons of the most high. Jesus isn’t ashamed to call us family. We’re destined for the New Jerusalem where every tear will be wiped away and God himself will be our light. This is our story!

What if we believed it?

In his fantasy adventure novel “North! Or Be Eaten,” Andrew Petersen writes of two brothers, long lost princes. One is hideously transformed into a beast when he loses hope in the true story of his kingdom. After he attacks his older brother, both boys are bedridden, one from injuries, the other having been restrained, for days on end. Each morning the boy’s mother asks her beastly son, “What is your name?” only to be met with a growl. But each night the older brother whispers stories of their youth to his transformed brother—stories of their childhood games, adventures, songs—till at long last one morning their mama comes down to their room and asks the beast, “What is your name?” and is delighted to hear “My name is Kal, son of the High King.”

He listens to stories of his true self and then, as the shadow passes, he believes them, and he remembers who he is.

Do you have a story teller reminding you of who you are? A gospel speaker whispering “beloved, child of God, adopted, chosen, made new” in your ears? How precious and powerful—to remember the true story of our identity and so live with hope for things as yet unseen.

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Links for the Weekend (12/20/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Come, Desire of Nations, Come: An Advent Reflection

Here is a wonderful extended meditation on Haggai 2:7, one of the lesser-used prophecies about the Messiah. Matthew Arbo notes the reference to this verse in the hymn Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and writes about the need for God to shake the nations before the desire of all nations will come.

He is the desire of all nations whether the nations know him or not. He isn’t the desire of just some nations. He is the desire of all nations. The nations desire him irrespective of whether they acknowledge him or not. He is the object of their deepest and highest longing, for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he rules over the nations (Ps. 22:28). 

Three Things to Remember When Giving Comfort to Grieving People

The holiday season can amplify loneliness and grief. Randy Alcorn gives three helpful things to remember when we have friends who are grieving.

If we don’t know what to say to a friend in crisis, remember that so long as Job’s friends remained quiet, they helped him bear his grief. Later, when they began giving unsolicited advice and rebuke, Job not only had to deal with his suffering, but with his friends’ smug responses, which added to his suffering.  

The Enduring Power of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Eric Metaxas writes at BreakPoint about the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Dickens’ classic shoots down the idea—prevalent in some Christian circles—that reading novels is a waste of time. They seem to forget that Jesus Himself was a master storyteller. For instance, He didn’t just say, “Come to the aid of those who need help.” Instead, He told a vivid story about a Samaritan who rescues a wounded man.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called Consider the Sycamore. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Cliff L for his help in rounding up links this week.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here.