Summary: It is personal. Sometimes it is guarded and sometimes it is shared. Everyone has one. Real people have real stories! Are you telling yours?
Pt. 1 - Highlight Real
Stories are important. Stories are powerful. Stories often make the difference. It is why we follow and are loyal to particular authors. It is why we stand in line to watch moving pictures on a screen. “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”
Stories have the power to change things. One man said it like this “If you want to learn about a culture listen to the stories. If you want to change a culture change the stories.”
Jesus certainly knew the power of story telling. He was a story telling master and was constantly telling stories to drive home truths. However, one of the clearest examples of His grasp of this power wasn’t a story He told. It is the account the demon possessed man in Mark 5. Jesus goes 8 miles out of His way to see him. Jesus gets in a boat. Crosses the Sea of Galilee. Steps out of the boat. Meets a demon possessed man living in a cemetery. Casts the demons into 2000 pigs. Is chased off by the owners of the pigs. Followed to the boat by the now changed man who wanted to go back with Jesus. Jesus stops him and says, “Go home, understanding power of a story, and tell them your story.” Tell them what God has done. Several chapters later, after being chased away, Jesus arrives in the same area and a crowd of 4,000 comes out to meet Him with their sick and diseased in tow. What caused the change? Why did rejection turn into reception and expelling into expectation? Story. One man told his story.
We think other’s stories are powerful but we underestimate our own. We should know our story is important because in Revelation 12:11, after a war breaks out between the devil and saints, we are told just how powerful our story can really be . . .
Revelation 12:11 (NIV)
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Jesus’ blood and the power of our story defeats the enemy of our soul in the days to come but victory today is also tied to our story.
Our story is important. Our story is mighty. Our story is powerful. However, there is a challenge that we face in a facebook world. There is a subtle change that has taken place in our Sports Center society.
Perhaps the best modern day example of this challenge and danger is the GOAT! He said it himself. “Maybe its my fault. Maybe I led you to believe it was easy when it wasn’t. Maybe I made you think my highlights started at the free throw line and not in the gym. Maybe I made you think every shot I took was a game winner. Maybe it’s my fault that you didn’t see that failure gave me strength and that pain was my motivation. Maybe I led you to believe that basketball was a God given gift and not something I worked for every single day of my life.” Michael Jordan
We are a highlight driven. But the danger is that we tend to focus only on highlights and we fail to highlight real. Michael Jordon would go on to say that "I missed 9,000 baskets, lost almost 300 games, missed 26 game winning shots, I have failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."
Jesus combats this danger in one account in the New Testament and without saying it Jesus refused to accept highlights only. When Jesus dealt with the woman at the well in John 4 He tells her to go get her husband and she gives a highlight truth. I have no husband. Jesus refuses to settle for that and reveals her whole story . . . Your right you have no husband, you have been married 5 times and you are living with your boyfriend now. She leaves Jesus, runs into town and says come meet this man who told me everything I ever did.
So, from what Jesus illustrated and knowing our story has power that is supposed to help us and others overcome what do we need to know?
Half doesn’t make whole!
Too often today we don’t see the powerful impact of our story like the demon possessed man or the woman at the well simply because we fail to highlight real. Jesus wasn’t a fan of highlights only. He showed us that the power is released when we highlight the real!
We want to tell half the story. We like to tell the good part of the story only. There are some issues with this. . .