Learning Our Lines

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You have been exhorted as a people numerous times to remember who you are in the story you are in. You have been asked to think about what kind of character you are. If the day you are having were a movie, what character would you be? And would it be a sympathetic character or not?

But in order to do this, you have to read the story that is unfolding around you. As you do this, you need to know that the temptation to regard yourself as the protagonist is a temptation that will be enormously compelling—regardless of how you have been behaving. Everybody does this, whether they are good or evil, regenerate or unregenerate, obviously sympathetic or just as obviously not. Everybody looks out at the surrounding story through his own eyeballs, and interprets it according to the self-serving paradigm that each one of us carries around with us. Hitler and Nietzsche did this, as did the apostle Paul and Augustine. How can we tell what we are doing? What is the mark of wisdom? It is not that you are the hero of your story. That is like declaring yourself the protagonist because you have ten toes. Remember that human beings are intricate computing machines, deviously high-jacked by some diabolical hacker codes that run self-deception programs all the time.

In this world, the real protagonists (enabled by the Holy Spirit) recognize the very real possibility that they are the problem character in the sketch. They know that apart from God’s grace, they would be. They do not spend a lot of emotional energy trying to get other characters to see themselves rightly. And the real protagonists read the Scriptures faithfully and regularly in order to see the kind of script that God wants us to use. God did not tell us to get up there on the stage and ad lib it. We are to learn our lines, from the inside out, and we are to say them.