3. Focus on the story: your story.
Why did Jesus tell so many parables? Why will the average American watch over 5,000 movies in his or her lifetime? Why will book sales be higher this year than in any previous year?
We love stories. Or, as City on a Hill Studio says, “Story is the language of our hearts.”
The Bible is a collection of stories. When viewed at a high level, the Bible is one story: the story of God’s relationship with His people.
In addition to including stories, the Bible also influences stories – the stories of people’s lives. As the writer of Hebrews says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12, ESV).
Consider George Frideric Handel. When he was in his 20s, Handel was the highest paid composer in the world. But when audiences began chasing after newer artists, Handel went bankrupt. He became depressed, and stress brought on a palsy that crippled some of his fingers.
Handel’s troubles, however, also matured him. His temper mellowed, he softened his formerly sharp tongue, and his music became more heartfelt.
One day the more mature Handel received from Charles Jennings a manuscript that was a collection of various Biblical texts about Jesus. The opening words, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,” moved Handel.
Handel started composing music for the manuscript. Twenty-three days later, the entire Messiah was complete. A year-and-a-half later, Messiah opened to enormous crowds in London, with Handel leading from the harpsichord. Handel’s fame rose again. Even after going blind, he continued to play the organ for performances of Messiah and his other oratorios until his death.
When you encounter a familiar passage of Scripture, consider how that passage has affected your story. If you draw a blank, then ask a friend.
Sometimes, hearing someone else’s story will help you recall your own. And a formerly dry part of the Bible will take on new life.
Chris Bolinger included as many stories as he could in Daily Strength for Men, a 365-day daily devotional from BroadStreet Publishing. Very few of those stories are about him, because “other people’s stories are a lot more interesting.”
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