What is this Larger Story God is telling? How well do we know it? And what does it mean to live in the Larger Story?
“The holy story told by the Holy One is about holy love, what I like to call relational holiness, an “other” kind of love that without the example of Jesus we wouldn’t believe could even exist in real life. Only in God’s story as told by Jesus do we see two unimaginable relational passions played out: mercy, not receiving from God what we deserve; and grace, receiving from God what we don’t deserve; both made available to us at an incalculable cost paid entirely by God.”
“We all have questions. Questions about life, about God, about love. And we are all looking for answers- answers we at Larger Story believe are always found in the story God is telling through the Bible, through history, and through each and every life lived here on earth. And yet, there is another story being told- Satan’s story. His story lies hidden beneath what is visible, and often seems sensible. We are in a battle between these two stories and these two storytellers. Our minds are the battleground and our hearts are the prize; therefore, it is vital that we understand these two stories we are being told, and that we are equipped to win the battle and live in God’s larger story.
The more clearly, we see both stories, the more resolutely, freely and passionately we will remain on the narrow road in the battle for a better love. The tale of two stories must be told.”
There are many ways to understand these stories, but let’s start by answering a few of our central questions.
Who is God?
God is a perfectly happy community, know as the Trinity- three distinct persons in one Divine essence, a holy relational community. This community has always existed and will never end. It is always giving who it is to others for their well-being, at any cost to themselves. The way they relate to each other defines love and holiness. The Trinity chose together to create man, knowing that this plan would cost them dearly and would require them to love, rescue, forgive and restore. God the Father crafted a plan that would require losing the one He loved most. God the Son entered into the plan knowing He would be abandoned to great suffering by those He loved and needed most. And God the Spirit cooperated with the management of the plan knowing He would watch and not intervene while the one He loved most endured the unbearable. Why did they do this? For the many (us) they chose to love.
What is God up to?
Because the love that exists in the Trinity is so colossally beautiful, and because their nature is to share and invite, the Trinity chose to create a people and include them in their sublime life together. The purpose of this life together on earth is to bring God glory by preparing us, His people, to live and love like Jesus did. This preparatory work includes rescue, reclamation, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. He is not merely returning us to our original state- He promises that He is doing something altogether new and it is always good.
Who are we?
We are relational persons, created to know joy in knowing God. We are gendered beings who were created in the image of God, a man or a woman, designed to uniquely reflect something literally glorious about the way God relates. God intends us to enter into relationship with the loving community of the Trinity, and to develop our capacity to relate to others in the same way the members of the Trinity relate among themselves. (John 17) In essence, we are lovers of God and lovers of people because we have first been loved by God. (1 John 4:19)
What has Gone Wrong?
Much like Adam and Eve in the garden, we reject God, declaring our independence. We are thus infected with an anti-God virus that pushes us to live our lives as if God doesn’t not exist unless He’s willing to go along with and support our plans.
Even if we state our belief in God, we display a deep ungodliness: a denial of who God is, the source of all that is good, the supply of everything our hearts desire. This denial leads us to look for happiness in whatever feels immediately good, and this short-sighted demand for immediate relief blocks the release of the Spirit’s power to trust God.
And even if we are doing the right things, the disposition of our hearts is actually unrighteousness: a refusal to both supremely value and deeply trust the good God is up to, forming us to relate like Jesus as we walk the narrow road through life to life. This refusal to trust renders us incapable of obeying God.
We most need forgiveness, but we will not welcome Christ’s promise of forgiveness until we feel more sorrow over our sin than anguish over our pain.
What has God Done about Our Problem?
He sent Jesus Christ into the world, and through His death and resurrection, He introduced the New Covenant by which His people receive a new purity (forgiveness), a new identity (adoption), a new affection (desire) and a new power (capacity), all from the Spirit of God, which equips us to live and love like Jesus. In other words, the power of God is at work, saving everyone who believes in Christ from the slavery of selfishness and releasing them into radical other-centeredness, loving like Jesus. How is God’s Spirit Moving Today?
He is transforming us into “little Christs” by detaching us from all sources of life apart from God (the flesh) and attaching us to Him in a relationship of vital dependence. His goal is to make our souls great with relational holiness. Without the Spirit, our lives are empty, and we have no power to love, but with Him, our souls become great with love and we live in community with the Trinity and each other.
How Can We Cooperate with the Spirit’s Work?
We tell His larger love story by becoming a community of broken people, conscious of the contradictions in our lives and thus dependent on the grace of God. We become allies to one another in the process of seeing our flesh put to death and our new heart stimulated and released. We do this by remaining with others, seeking to know them, and giving them the love Jesus freely gave to us.