Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking.Rom 12:2
God is a story teller of most powerfull stories. When you think of it, a great part of the bible is story telling. It is easy to see with the historical books, from Genesis to Esther, from Matthew to Acts.
Jesus taught mostly in stories like parabels. Jesus told more stories than anything else. Almost no hermeneutic or exegesis. This most probably is the reason why we remember so much of what he said.
When you think of it, stories are shaping a culture much more than laws, rules, and regulations. Because behind each law, and even the whole system of laws, there is a story.
Come to think of it, behind every system, there is a story.
Let’s take one of the most powerful stories in the world.
Money is nothing but a story. And we all believe the story more or less. And that is why the story works.
Imagine, we all believe that a piece of paper with a certain print is worth much more than its physical value and can be exchanged for something of real value to us, like food, shelter, cloths, or of perceived value like art.
In a transaction, both parties have to believe the same or similar story to feel treated fairly. Imagine offering an ape a dollar bill in exchange for a banana, with the promise that he can buy another one or an orange for that piece of paper in the future.
In the west, no problem. In Myanmar, the dollar bill has to be new, unfolded, without spot or wrinkle, but then you get much more than one banana in exchange. Stories vary, but as long as we believe stories with a common denominator, we execute transactions based on those.
Man can create out of nothing. Too often we think that this is the domain of God. And for physical things, I would say it is. So far, we need atoms or particles to build something physical.
But marketing shows us that we can build stories that people start to believe and act upon. Who would have thought that we would depend on a communication device in our pockets to talk to people not in physical reach a few decades ago?
We are creative people, just as God is.
He created the world through his word. In other words: he told a story, and it became real. He told my story, and I walk it out. Even more, he told my story, and I am.
Changing our Stories
Changing our thinking is done by changing the stories we tell and we believe.
But in order to change those stories, we need to first become aware of them. Most stories we believe feel so natural or are so much interwoven with our world that we hardly notice them as what they are: constructed stories.
There are so many of them, like
- The world is reality. Actually, the world might well be anything but reality. For sure, heaven is more real than this universe.
- Money. A construct created by man, so he did not have to transport goods over large distances. Think of the traders in the temple that sold sacrificial animals so people did not have to bring them to Jerusalem.
- We are sinners saved by grace. That is true for a moment, an instant at most. As soon as we admit our sinfulness and submit to Jesus, accepting his death on the cross as a personal extension of grace, we are a new creation. Sinner before, son of God after.
- Hierarchy. The bible shows us that there is no hierarchy or casts in church. He, who wants to be a leader, leads through serving. We all have something to bring to the table.
- Work has to be work. Only after the fall, man was to sweat because of work. True, this earth is fallen, but we are new creations. Work not only can be fun, it ought to be fun.
Look at this world with many questions. That helps. Ask “what if”. What if this world weren’t real? What if money was just—paper? What if we really were sons of God, just as the bible tells us?
Build models. Use your phantasy.
Talk with others. Just play and go to places where no man has gone before.
But first, build a great foundation reading the bible and praying.
Many of the articles here on the blog only exist because of questions and phantasy, built on a sound foundation.
But there is one more thing you need: feedback from people you trust.
Your Safety Net
If you have people in your life that hear the voice of God, that you trust, and that are willing to follow your thought experiments, you can lean out of the window much further than without.
Those people will keep you save—if you let them.
Being on your own, the danger is that either you will not go where God wants you to go, or you go to far or in the wrong direction. Think of so many set man, single senior leaders that went astray. Either they did not listen to others, or had no others in there life. The curse of hierarchy.
Finding those people is hard. God will place you if you listen to him. But still, those people have to be willing to go places, to ask questions, to build models, to think. We all start some place, and change takes time.
If you found people that God put into your life that cherish new ways to think, hold fast to them. They are instrumental for our changing our minds.
So we can become what we are: the answer to all problems. Because Christ lives in us.