The battle is for our stories.
Stories are important to God. Think about it, He embedded a need for story in our hearts. He told us the first stories.
How do we know how God created the Earth? No one else was there, so God must have told somebody! Imagine that He walked in the garden with Adam one day and began, “In the beginning…” It was important to God that we knew the story.
Before what we know today as the Bible was written down it was passed down from generation to generation, the story memorized and retold over and over again.
How many times did the Israelites fall away and God said, “You stopped telling the stories!”
I was reading Isaiah 5 the other day, and it stood out to me again there. I encourage you to read the full chapter, but God calls out three things the Israelites are doing that are offensive to Him. The first two are greed and self-reliance.
In verse 12 the Lord finishes with, “They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.” (ESV)
They stopped telling the stories.
They kept celebrating something, but it wasn’t God, because his stories were not on their lips.
The Bible is an amazing wealth of testimony about the Lord. How blessed we are to have the stories of the Lord at our fingertips! But let’s not settle there, let’s do even more! God is still at work, and let’s never stop adding to the testimony of the goodness of God.
Before anybody gets their britches in a bundle, I’m not suggesting that we could supersede or even contribute comparably to the Bible, which is the inerrant word of God. However, the Bible itself commands us to share testimony! It commands us to share the scriptures, which are all valuable, and to proclaim the work of God in our own lives.
After the warning in Isaiah 5:12 comes a passage that ought to pierce our hearts and chill our blood in modern America. As a result of these sins the prophet Isaiah continues, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness….!” (verse 20)
If that doesn’t describe American discourse right now, I don’t know what does. Our values system is absolutely upside down in America right now.
There’s a direct relationship between the stories a culture tells, that culture’s understanding of God’s moral law, and how God moves.
One thing I love about stories is that they speak for themselves. Stories don’t need explained, even a child can learn a lesson from a story. They’ll even remember it!
How often have we traded the simple stories of the Gospel for a lot of big words and endless theology? Shame on us! What if we stopped arguing online about Hillsong and started instead sharing our stories of God’s endless grace for us?
The other night I sang this song with my kids, “This Little Light of Mine.” Words to live by, I’ll tell you what. This song is about our testimony, it’s about the story God has given each of us.
There are a few good instructions in there. Here’s what we do with our story:
- Let it shine.
- Don’t hide it under a bushel.
- Don’t let Satan blow it out.
God has done something in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or little, He has done it. Only you can tell that story. It is your light to shine, no one can shine it for you. That story is now both your privilege and your responsibility.
I feel this prophetic reckoning in my heart that we are in danger of losing the battle of stories. Isaiah 5:12 warns us, and we are already seeing the symptoms that are described in verse 20. We are teetering on the edge in America.
And why not? God has given us better resources to tell stories with the modern media than ever before in the history of the world, and we have squandered it. We haven’t invested in it. We’ve let the enemy have his way while we have hidden from it.
But the battle’s not over. It’s time to rise up and take our stories back.
We can’t all be professional writers, and we don’t need to be. That would be a very awkward body. I can tell you from experience that if we were all professional writers, we wouldn’t get a lot done.
We’re not all evangelists, but we should all evangelize.
We’re not all healers, but we should all pray for healing.
We’re not all prophets, but we should prophecy when the Lord speaks to us.
By the same token, we’re not all writers, but we should all have our testimonies on the tips of our tongues. We should be ready in season and out of season to proclaim the good deeds of God, both those recorded in the Bible and the personal stories He’s given just to us.
Let your light shine today. Share a testimony of the deeds of the Lord, even if it’s only one sentence long and half the words are spelled wrong.
Don’t stop proclaiming the deeds of the Lord. There’s too much at stake.
Director, School of Kingdom Writers