The Holy Spirit plays a very important role in our salvation. One of the big reasons for this is that without the Holy Spirit, we would still be telling ourselves the same old story that limits and inhibits us. The elements of that story are probably well-known to you.
One version of that story goes like this: “I’m a good person. Most of the time I do what’s right. I really don’t need God to come and rescue me because I’m an independent, self-sufficient person. I can totally figure it out on my own. In fact, look at my (fill in the blank: position, power, prosperity, property, playthings) and even you can see I’ve got my act together.”
That story works well until we get in a bind and don’t know how to get out of that bind without some help. Then the story changes.
The new story might sound more like this: “I’m an idiot. How did I allow myself to get in this position? I feel guilty and ashamed of myself. And helpless. I don’t know what to try next, because I’ve already tried everything I can think of to pull myself out of this nosedive.”
The problem with either of these stories is that they make our identity dependent on us. And that’s a trap — a trap that can be deadly.
Paul tells us there’s another story. A better story. And it involves the work of the Holy Spirit. This new story is not good advice. It’s good news. It’s good news of life-changing freedom. We don’t have to go it alone anymore. Our identity doesn’t have to be dependent on how “together” or “not together” we are.
We have a Savior named Jesus who loves us enough to die for us, and then rise for us. The new story tells us that Jesus’ death and resurrection changes everything. The new story describes that through faith we become dearly loved children of God, a new identity bought with Jesus’ blood.
When the Spirit assures us of this, and supernaturally plants faith in our hearts through the Good News, our story changes. We go from needing to be independent and self-sufficient to allowing ourselves to depend fully on Christ and being confident that we are completely sufficient in him.
This new story tells us that our failures, guilt, and shame no longer define us or identify us. Our history is just that: history. And our baggage has all been unpacked at the cross. The resurrection is our new reality.
Our new story is one of hope and a future. And that future involves being fully identified as Christ’s, living in his love, and enjoying his power at work inside of us.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NIV).
Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit. I want to have freedom from my sins. I want to be able to tell myself a new story — a story written from the Good News of your salvation. Transform me by your gospel’s power and the Holy Spirit’s authority into a new person who has a new story written for him.
Our Bible reading for Sunday, August 30, is 2 Chronicles 35:20 – 36:23, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 and Psalm 104:19-30.
Header image based on "John Steinbeck on Story telling" by Jill Clardy, CC By-SA 2.0