WhO ArE YoU?
Narratives and Identity
narrative-a representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values.
“For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Matthew 13:12 NKJV
Boy are we in a time where narratives are determing what we believe is true or not!
Which then leads us to what we believe about ourselves and our ability to do what we think/believe we can.
So I thought a quick little discussion with you might be an encouragement to see this stuff in a way that brings hope and not discouragement.
Can I be honest with you?
I remember not liking the above verse.
The way that I was taught in general as a young believer, gave me the feeling that most of Christianity (after I got saved) was up to me. I was the one responsible for being like Christ, doing the things that He did and I just didn’t see myself as being anything like Him. I mean, like, you know, He’s perfect... and do I need to add anything after that? Naaa.
The reason I didn’t like the verse is because I believed a narrative about God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and myself that was not true. The thoughts I had and you have about yourself, make up your, our beliefs; our identity.
To many of us, salvation was presented as a single event that occurrs when we ask Jesus into our heart. I learned decades later, after a lot of disappointment and frustration, that it’s not that; which was good news!
In the Greek, salvation, sozo, is a word that encompasses a host of other meanings.
It means: saved, healed, blessed, delivered, prospered, protected, set apart, made whole. That’s what you received at the time you asked Jesus into your heart... all of those things! So how come you and I are not experiencing all of those things on a regular basis?
Well, back to narrative.
The narrative for most of the church is that, life is hard and we’re really not going to experience the fullness of life in Jesus until we die and go to heaven. There could be a lot of suffering here. Our stories before Jesus confirm that to us.
The picture I got, and I still hear and see coming out of most of the church, is not focused on Jesus and His providing the overcoming life for us. But it’s one of, teachers telling us that we need to constantly assess our performance. Have we really repented? Are our hearts clean? Are we loving from pure motives? Because, unless we’re performing, God can’t bless us.
Paul, said that he didn’t even judge his own heart.
In 1st Corinthains 4:3-5 Paul talks about leaving the judging process up to God. The self assessing process is one that automatically brings us into a place where we determine whether something is good or bad. Is it worthy to receive God’s approval or His judgement?
For me, that led to years of feeling that I always came up short.
So is there an answer?
Back to that verse I didn’t like ... until recently.
Check out the amplified translation:
“For whoever has [spiritual wisdom because he is receptive to God’s word], to him more will be given, and he will be richly and abundantly supplied; but whoever does not have [spiritual wisdom because he has devalued God’s word], even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Matthew 13:12 AMP
Here’s the picture simplified.
Whatever you focus more of your attention, time and effort on, you’ll receive more from.
Whatever you don’t, even what you did have regarding it, you’ll lose.
This is true no matter what it is.
If you spend a bunch of time focused on art, you’ll get understanding, appreciation, knowledge, benefit, etc., from art.
If you liked to fish when you were younger but don’t spend any time or effort or actually go to a lake and fish, you won’t have much of a desire or make much of an effort to do it after that. You just won’t make the time to. You’ll lose whatever desire and benefit you saw from fishing.
So, focus on the narrative of the Word of God that He came to set you free not just in salvation but every day. Every good and perfect gift comes down to you from your good Father. As you believe that and trust Him, your identity will become focused on Who Jesus is in you and not on how you’re not measuring up.
And Jesus’ words are true.
If you focus on that, you will get more of it!
Life and it more abundantly.