The Biggest Influence on Faith in Our Culture

August 27, 2019

My husband knows if I see a movie trailer and it says "based on a true story" I'm probably going to watch it.

I love movies based on true stories!

(The Young Victoria, The Impossible, Hacksaw Ridge etc.)

What's your favorite way to enjoy a good story?

Netflix? Amazon Prime? Redbox? YouTube? Books?

Last year people spent billions of dollars at the box office.

Why? Because we crave stories the way we hunger for food.

Yep, stories entertain us... But they do so much more than that.

We love stories, and are God-designed to learn from them.

It’s why Jesus often taught His disciples through parables.   

It's why a week after a sermon you often don't remember anything but a story the pastor shared.

As Donald Miller says in his fantastic free ebook How to Tell a Story:

Telling a story often creates a “clicking experience” in a person’s brain allowing them to suddenly understand what someone else is trying to say. As such, those who can tell good stories will create faster, stronger connections with others.

Stories are terrific tools for communication. They instruct, provide rest, give us inspiration and help us learn empathy for others. On the other hand, stories can do an enormous amount of damage. A story is a tool and in the wrong hands it can devastate entire cultures. Find me an evil dictator who has risen to power and I’ll show you a leader who, if nothing else, is an exceptional storyteller.”

Who else sees this, too? The stories people consume heavily influence what they value, their morals, their identity, and what they believe is true.

We have an enemy who is an exceptional storyteller.

The only storyteller I know who is more intelligent and intimately knows what each person needs to learn via story is Jesus. He is the Author, He is the Word, and nothing compares with Jesus’ stories.

And Jesus has given you stories.

Have you felt God impress it upon you? That what you’ve been given is not just for you alone?

When I began to realize the powerful impact of story sharing with the next generation I saw it in everywhere in the Bible: God commands His people to share His words and what He had done for them with the next generation.

So it makes perfect sense why our enemy - who wants to destroy our faith - is so invested in storytelling.

The devil gets the power of story a lot more than we do. He is keenly aware of the impact on our collective faith if we do not remember and share our personal histories with Christ.

There’s a quote from Karl Marx that sobers me. Marx wielded this truth in an evil, strategic way to the devastation of millions of people:

“A people without a heritage are easily persuaded.”

How many of us - and the next generation - do not know our spiritual heritage?

How many of us don’t know what God has done for our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc?

How many of our children, or the kids whose lives God has given us influence in, do not know what God has done for us?

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Screwtape Letters. In it there is a more experienced, older demon who is advising his younger nephew demon on how to keep the human he is assigned to away from the truth about God:

“Since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another.”

Cut off every generation from the others. Don’t let them share their experiences. Because where there is story-sharing, there is learning. There is influence.

I believe stories are one of the biggest influences on faith in our culture today.

This next sentence is one I am praying God echos in your heart long after you read this post:

Your personal experiences of Jesus will break through the powerful lie of familiarity.

People tend to tune out to what they need to hear about God because they think they already know what is being shared about Him.

C. S. Lewis explains the value of a story is that “it takes all the things you know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity.”

Your stories of God's love have the power to restore to others the rich significance about Truth which has been "hidden by the veil of familiarity".

Your life is a letter from Christ, written by His Spirit, on the tablet of your human heart. (2 Cor. 3:3)

If someone asked you what some of your most significant experiences of Jesus have been, would you have a ready answer?

Do you want to be able to articulate your experiences of God?

Do you care enough about the faith of the next generation to take action?

I’m with you. I do, too.

Tomorrow what I share with you could change the trajectory of faith in your family and community forever. It'll be posted here on the blog with the sunrise.

Until then remember: You are so, so loved.

 

- Elise

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