Your life can be a great story.
It might be hard to believe when you’re facing criticism or complaints, trying to keep up with your to-do list, or even struggling to get enough sleep, but it’s true.
God wants to write a great story with your life.
“The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9
He’s not strengthening you to wander through life. He’s strengthening you to be heroic.
“God wants to do big things in and through us. He wants to direct us out of the swamps of mediocrity and into the mountains of heroism, training us to live a life that truly counts.” (Eric and Leslie Ludy, in When God Writes your Life Story).
Jesus’ life was heroic. With it, he set a pattern for us to follow. And his pattern is one we can follow. Let me show it to you.
What makes the story of Jesus so great?
The story of Jesus is literally, The Greatest Story Ever Told. It’s the archetypal story. The example story for every great life.
The story of Jesus has three base elements to it. Emulate these three elements and your story will be the greatest possible story of you.
Here they are:
1. Jesus is a true hero.
He’s not fake or phony. He’s not putting on a show to impress anyone. He’s simply impressive, yet humble; likeable, yet awe-inspiring.
2. Jesus’ story is about achieving a worthy goal.
Jesus came to make it possible for people to have a relationship with God and to do so, he had to give his own life on our behalf.
The goal is worthy. It’s selfless and noble. And how he achieved it takes your breath away.
As his story unfolds in the pages of the Gospels, we want to know, “Can he do it?” “How will he do it?” And, “How will people respond if he does it?”
3. Along the way, Jesus overcame great obstacles to achieve his goal.
Jesus endured separation from the Father he had known for all eternity. He faced forty days of fasting and a confrontation with his arch-enemy. He persevered through the cluelessness of his closest friends. He overcame the cross, the sins of the world, and death. He rose, and ascended to heaven, where he received the most honored place in the cosmos, the seat at the Father’s right hand.
His is the greatest story, and he is worthy of all glory.
How does that translate to my little life?
I am asked by God to follow that same pattern with the choices I make and the effort I put forth in accomplishing my life’s purpose. Because that threefold pattern is God’s formula for greatness.
More Great Life Stories
Pardon my bias, but I think the second greatest story ever told is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
What makes that story great?
- It has a great hero: Frodo is impressive, yet humble.
- The hero has a great goal: he must destroy a great evil in order to save the people he loves.
- In the process, he overcomes great obstacles.
You and I could list other stories that follow that same pattern. From the Bible, we know Joseph, Daniel, Esther and Paul. In the movies, we root for heroes like Jack Ryan, Tony Stark, Katniss Everdeen and Hans Solo.
They’re impressive, but flawed; they have to save the world; and they overcome one obstacle after another.
Hmmm, sounds like ministry life, doesn’t it.
Christian, you are called by God to live a great life. And this is your pattern.
3 Elements of any Great Story
All great stories have these same three elements:
- A likable hero.
- An impressive goal.
- Overcoming great obstacles.
These are the elements to which God is calling you. The first (a likable hero) is about who you are. The second (your goal) is about what you do. And the third (overcoming obstacles) is about how you do it.
Nobody wants to read about a snob whose goal is to create a comfortable life for himself, and who achieves his goal without exerting much effort.
Page-turners are made of great heroes with great goals who overcome great obstacles along the way. This is your calling. And mine.
Now that you know how to write a great story, here’s how you can write a great story with your life.
Write your life story.
God has placed you on this planet to write a great story with the only life you’ll ever have.
Long before you were born, he wrote what you might call “The Prologue” to your story.
He published the idea that he’d like your story to be about a relationship with him (John 3:16) in which you help others enter into relationship with him as well (Matthew 28:19-20).
If you’ve read the Bible, you know that’s your great goal.
If you haven’t, I encourage you to look again at the stories in the Bible of John 3 and Matthew 28. Consider the central place of those stories in making your life-story great.
The Opening Paragraph
Before your birth, God wrote your opening paragraph.
He gave you a place to be born, a body to live in, and a family to name and nurture you.
As you grew, you encountered obstacles. Some of them came from your family, some from friends, and some from circumstances you had to overcome to remain faithful and become fruitful for him.
How have you done so far?
Have you preserved, learned, and grown from these challenges? How have you done with achieving your God-given goal from Matthew 28:19-20?
There are many pages yet to be written in your story. What will you write on them?
To write the greatest story of all, you will need to become the hero: impressive in how you handle obstacles, yet likeable by those who know you.
You’ll need to play your part in God’s great story of bringing people to himself. And you’ll need to stand in the face of obstacles and overcome challenges that a great life inevitably encounters.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 speaks to the choice you make to live a great story:
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Make your choices carefully.
You are writing the most important story of your eternity – the story that will determine what people read about you forever.
And know for sure that you are not alone in your story. I am rooting for you. And God is in heaven not just cheering you on, but leaning in, eager to assist you at every turn.
How are you writing a great story with your life?
- Are you a likable hero?
- What is your impressive goal?
- What obstacles are you overcoming?
God is with you! Go live a great life today!
Hal Seed is the founding and Lead Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. Hal mentors pastors to lead healthy, growing churches. He offers resources to help church leaders at www.pastormentor.com.
Start Here to learn more about the resources available for you at PastorMentor.