The Quest of Christian Faith.

After Bible study this week, my Bible teacher asked me to give a testimony to our group next week.  It dealt with the three parables told in Luke 15, which are the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son.  We realized that there were some common words like lost, found, and repentance and they had a common theme of celebration at the end where the shepherd celebrates finding his lost sheep, the woman celebrates finding her lost coin, and the father celebrates finding his lost son.

When meditating the Scripture we read that night after returning home, I realized something very important.  I am a filmmaker by profession which means storytelling is key to the work I do every day.  When reading the Bible, especially the Gospels, I saw a pattern develop that makes studying this wonderful book not only more intriguing, but also very important.

Are you familiar with the old Nintendo video games from the eighties?  If not that’s okay, because they are built on adventure stories that have been passed down through the ages.  There’s the Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, and even Super Mario Brothers.  Each of these games has a common thread running through them.

In each game, the hero has to save the world by going on lengthy journeys or quests to seek out weapons and items (or tools) that would help them accomplish their task.  In the Legend of Zelda, Link must journey to save Princess Zelda from an evil wizard by finding different weapons like the hook shot, the bow and arrows, and the magical sword to slay the wizard.  In Mega Man, a robot named Rock must defeat a mad scientists’ robot masters and copy their weapons in order to battle with the mad scientists’ doomsday machines in his fortress.  In Super Mario Bros, Brooklyn, NY plumbers and brothers, Mario and Luigi, must go through different levels to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of evil Bowser and in order to do it they use different magical flowers, mushrooms, and suits to boost their combat skills.

Have you seen the connection between these games yet?  They all have a hero/heroine embarking on a quest in order to accomplish something good and along the way, they acquire extraordinary weapons or items to aid them in achieving their noble tasks.  In a similar manner, like the heroes of these video games, we as Christians are embarking on a quest to live out our faith on a daily basis.  However, like the antagonists of our video game heroes, there are many obstacles preventing us from embarking on our faithful daily quests.  The Bible, Prayer, Meditation, and Example, like the maps, weapons, and items that aid our video game heroes, provides us with the tools necessary to overcome not only these obstacles, but also the world itself.

The Bible presents us with the armor of God, which are named by their essential pieces in Ephesians 6:10-18. “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/

 

Much like our heroes, we must have each piece of the armor of God including prayer, meditation, and praise, as they are weapons in our arsenal of faith. In the Legend of Zelda, you journey through vast dungeons to obtain magical weapons that aid in your quest and most of the time, you cannot beat the boss of the dungeon (or stronghold for Christians) without that specific weapon. In the same way, we cannot tear down certain strongholds without any of the weapons mentioned above.

Link7

courtesy of: supersmashbrosfanon.wikia.com

So, how does this connect with the three parables?  Well, it’s actually plain to see.  In the story, all three of the characters are looking for someone or something and they do not rest until they find it.  However, the Parable of the Lost Son provides us with even more specific details.  The eldest son, the father, and the youngest or “lost” son are three different people.  The eldest son is far more mature and responsible than his younger sibling, which explains his great devotion to his father.  However, he too is spiritually lost as is reflected in his envious attitude of his younger brother. Like many people, we profess loyalty to Christ, but hold things against others in our hearts. His father is a kind, patient, and loving man.  The younger brother, however, must have felt trapped by his upper class lifestyle and wanted to embrace the world wholeheartedly.  So, he decides to leave his home and live life to the fullest.  However, even though he wants to embrace the world, he realizes that the world does not reciprocate his love for it and is on the point of starvation.  He realizes this and decides that it would better to return home as a humble servant of his father than to live one more day in the cruel world.

The younger son returns home and is shocked when his father, instead of being infuriated by seeing him, instead runs to him and embraces him.  His father even organizes an immense celebration for his son’s safe return.  The boy still begs his father to be treated like a servant and not like a son.  However, his father disregards this offer and still accepts him in sonship.  All is not well though, as the older brother catches wind of this and is immediately envious of his brother’s warm welcome.  His father comes out into the field to find out why his eldest son is upset.  When his son voices his criticism of his brother, the father explains that the eldest son will inherit all that his father has, but should rejoice since their family is now whole again.

It’s a deep parable, but it begs the question: why does God allow us to not only live in, but to experience such a harsh world?  Well, the answer goes back to our previous Bible study about God’s Discipline versus Punishment.  God Disciplines us through hardships to make us stronger.  Why?  Well, as explained above, it is for the new quest of faith that we are about to embark on for the rest of our lives.  We cannot use or receive our spiritual weapons without first being trained on how to properly use them. In martial arts, a teacher never lets a student use a dangerous weapon without first teaching them on a padded version of it like a tri-staff, broad sword, staff, or nun-chucks.

learn-kungfu

courtesy of: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/

 

Our quest (which Paul calls a race) will only begin when we first approach God with true repentance like the lost son did.  Let’s look at Paul’s faith as an example of this. Before, when Paul was Saul, he hated, ridiculed, and even persecuted Christians. However, after meeting the Risen Savior Jesus Christ, he became a whole new person. He not only converted to Christianity, but also helped to shape its spread throughout Israel and the outside world through his letters, which make up a good percentage of the Gospel or the New Testament. Paul is a perfect example of what God wishes to achieve through all sinners even to today: to crucify our flesh and to achieve our purpose in serving Lord Jesus.

 

Like Paul, I also struggle with hatred in my heart and it is against those in power, especially those who are very wealthy. Why should they be saved? After all the pain and suffering through wars, poverty, and other social injustices that they force us to bear through their political decisions, I felt they did not earn the right of Salvation. If anything, I felt it was our duty to stand and fight against these Neanderthals with God’s Might by our side. However, God proved me wrong when He revealed I didn’t earn the right to Salvation either, but that Salvation is a not right, rather than a gift given by God through His Grace and I was just as sinful as those in power today. God is not looking for Sauls, who judges others while also sinning (which we seem to be very good at doing), but for Pauls who crucify their flesh daily in order to submit and follow the will of Jesus so that they may testify to others so that also they may be saved. Only then can we be accepted into God’s Family again.

2-Saul-Paul

courtesy of: myhomeschoolprintables.net

After all this, God trains us to face the future obstacles in our lives.  We are now trained and equipped with a various arsenal of spiritual weapons such as the Word of God, Prayer, and Miracles or Spiritual Authority.  With these weapons and the One Triune God with us, we then fight the daily spiritual battles that we face every day.  Without coming to Jesus humbly as the lost son did with his father, we cannot embark on our quest of Christian faith. I have felt this testimony being built up inside of me for a very long time and I feel now is the time to tell it. Fighting a spiritual battle with our strength alone never works and believe me I have tried and ended up defeated almost every time. However, when I came to Jesus through repentance, my life is starting to change spiritually for the better. Many of the past sins I used to commit frequently, I now fight daily on the spiritual battlefield of my heart as I learn to apply my spiritual weapons through hardships, which I have to come learn is actually God’s Discipline. With my spiritual growth has now come physical, mental, and emotional growth and my point of view on life itself has taken a completely different turn. Like Paul, we must crucify our flesh daily so that God may change us into strong Christian warriors and allow us to break down the spiritual strongholds that dominate our lives. Thus is the quest of our True Christian Faith! Amen.

Put on the Armor of God

Armor of God Wall Chart

courtesy of: churchleaderscampfire.com

Key Verse: Ephesians 6: 10: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

 

One Word: Be Strong in God.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: