Posted on: May 9th, 2007 Deciding Not to Ruin the Story

Sometimes I think that the word "sin" is an unfortunate word in our day and age. Not an unfortunate concept, rightly understood and articulated, but it just so often seems to throw people (especially non "churchy" people) for a loop, to raise more preliminary objections than it seems to be worth.

Be that as it may, here is the best reason I know of to be faithful to Jesus in one’s own personal walk as a disciple: sin ruins the story. It messes up the story, the drama, the narrative tension, of one’s own life. Every good story relies on, lives on, tension and conflict. This is, or can be, seen as the narrative tension of the individual Christian life.

Whether your issues are food related, or sex related, or pride related, or whatever, when you resist that initial urge to indulge in "the lust of the flesh" (Gal 5:16-24; I Jn 2:16-17) what you are really doing is living into the narrative tension, continuing and developing the plot, of the Christian drama, the Christian life. Without that tension, the story is (temporarily, by God’s grace) ruined.

When a compulsive binger gives into the urge to escape her problems (stress, shame, fear) with food, it has a deadly effect. But not (for me, at least) primarily in some sense of ultimate soteriology. Rather, in the sense that there is now no drama. The suspense has been destroyed.

The open-ended adventure of banking everything on God’s faithfulness has now been shortchanged, and the result, finally, is boredom. Let-down. Nihilism.

I say, damn that. I say, let us, let me, put all of my eggs in Christ’s basket, and continually bank on him, trusting him to complete the good work he began in me. Trusting that he will, based on his promises to me, finish the story, bring it to its utlimate climax (not a fake, self-manipulated climax), one that only he can imagine and bring about.

Then, and only then, can others be brought into the good, true, and beautiful story of the Christian life.

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