Narratives that threaten to control and overthrow us are a trial we are to overcome
I think one of the ways Satan seeks to destroy Christians is through our own thought life. In particular through what we focus on. He wants us to focus on all the bad things that happen to us or that happens in the world, and to be either outraged by it, angry, or afraid. This is the ultimate in narrative control, and inasmuch as it exists, and things affects us, hurt us, or threaten us, it can start to seem like this is our lifes narrative. There is however a battle we are in and it is about what rules over our hearts.
The Bible teaches us Christians that there is another greater narrative for us that transcends, overcomes, and overrules this temporal worldly narrative that we have often let rule over our minds and to a degree have become enslaved to.
We Christians are taught by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, a transcendent, and eternal narrative of the world and of our lives. One of the most inportant things we learn from God’s word is that our Lord is sovereign. He is all-powerful over the entire universe that he made. That, as R.C. Sproul taught, “there is not one maverick molecule” that is not under God’s control, or outside of His will.
That is a chief pillar of our worldview. That God is Lord of all and by that, we understand just who God is. We are also taught in the scriptures that He is good, He is faithful, He is righteous, and He is loving and merciful. We see that throughout the Old Testament and New. We are taught in the New Testament that the Father has loved us, and sent his only Son, who willingly, in love, came to accomplish the mission of our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, and the imputation of His righteousness to us. This is good news.
As we are united to Christ through faith alone, (faith which He grants), this double imputation, our sin to Christ, borne away, His righteousness to us, credited to us. This is our redemption and our eternal life are secured forever by Him. This is our wondeful new story and narrative. This is the metanarrative that controls us, and therefore the Love of Christ controls us (2 Cor 5:14). As we set our minds on the things above (Col 3:2), where our treasure is, where Christ is, we know truth. We then bear fruit of this new heart, and new narrative of our lives.
The fruit of the Spirit is borne from our new hearts and therefore out of our lives. Fruit of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23) This is enabled in us through the work of the Holy Spirit which indwells us.
So, the strictly materialist worldview of all we see around us, of all the information that fills our senses. should be at times either ignored or pushed out of mind, or other times we should understand it in its temporal context as being under the eternal context, which we have been enlightened to. In this we are taught that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him, and are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
So, the narrative of the life we experience is not sad things are bad, and happy things are good, but everything that happens to us is interpreted for us by this Word. That all things work for our good. The all things He purposes that we experience in life are for our good from an eternal perspective. This is a great battle we must fight in our own hearts and minds. That the two narratives exist, one that our flesh tends to agree with, and one that the Spirit agrees with, and we are often tripped up by the weakness of our own flesh (Gal 5:16-17). But even that fialure of ours is turned for our good, for the strengthening of us in Christ who seek, and are called to strive towards walking in the Spirit, not in the Flesh.
Sometimes we are weak, and sometimes we are strong, according to where we are in-the-now, but God gives us the church, which is comprised of our leaders who Christ calls and eables to love us, and our brothers and sisters in Christ who love us, and we love them, and we all build one another up in Christ, because we are one Spiritual family. Family forged by the bond of the Spirit of God.
This is our narrative in-the-now. This is our temporary state on our way to eternal glory which awaits all of us. Christ has already overcome the world, and we are following Christ. Following in faith, and as imitators (Eph 5:1-2), and as brothers and sisters, led by the Sprit bearing Spiritual fruit. This is our story! This is our song! Why wouldn’t we want to praise this great savior all day long? Christian, be encouraged! You have a great future!
Now this new narrative we are given brings to mind a couple of things. First, as far as evangelism goes, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this story, to have this new story be their story? Not as if we are a great hero in it, but really as we are, weak poor unlovable sinners bought by the King (redeemed) and brought into His family and eternally loved by Him.
The second thing is, what about the misery of this life’s temporal trials and sufferings overcoming us? What about when we forget the truth and start down the wrong path to be controlled by our own weakness, or the world’s narratives and desires, which is both an offense to God and an expression of unbelief.
These trials that test the genuineness of our faith, and instead of falling away to destruction, we repent and return to Christ our savior. God grants us repentance (Acts 11:18), and we cling to Christ our savior in faith again, in repentance again, and this is how we walk in this temporal world. As those who continually are expressing two steps of repentance and faith, repentance and faith, repentance and faith.
This is our temporal state, simultaneously both sinners and saints (Simul Justus et Peccator), continually strengthened by the Spirit (Eph 3:16), the Word, the church, all given by God to we who are guarded by the power of God through faith through the trials, to our eternal inheritance (1Pet 1:5). This is our great hope, which is assured in us by the Spirit that we are indeed children of God for whom this is our story, this is our future, this is our sure treasure, this is our inheritance kept for us in heaven.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
The Holy Spirit assured Biblical narrative is the controlling narrative of our lives. We should continually strive, not only to remember it and to understand it, but taking every thought captive, continually preach it to ourselves and each other to build one another up in Christ. This is our story, and this is what is to ruleour hearts and minds, not the partial narratives.
We should know that Satan often works with partial truths, stripped away from the larger narrative, and by that He lies, and seeks to control our fleshly hearts by partial truths, which are really lies. This is our battle, always making sure that all the partial narratives fall under the greater narrative of what is true according to God, according to the Word of God. The partial narrative with events that seem good or bad in the moment is not the whole story, and therefore it is not the context of all that happens. Therefore our hearts are to be ruled by Christ, and the eternal narrative, not the temporal and partial narratives of our experiences in certian seasons of our lives.