1 Story -- "The Rescuer"
Version 6 of 7: "Having What it Takes"
SYNC claims that this world has a story, and it is not simply a story we humans are making up as we go along. It is a story God is unfolding. It has a flow and a rhythm.
We can pick up that rhythm if we look at the Bible as one long story. That is what "The Rescuer" does, condensing 1200 pages to about 900 words so you do not get lost in the details. Don't approach the Bible as if it were a rulebook or a textbook on religious doctrine. It is basically a story about the world we live in.
Having What it Takes (version 6 of "The Rescuer")
God, the Real GOD, creates a beautiful world with life everywhere. The first humans have absolutely nothing to be afraid of except God’s one dire warning: “Don’t eat from that one poisonous tree.”
Do they have what it takes to obey that one command? No! An enemy of God tells them that God did not give that command for their good, and they believe him! They eat the fruit! The world becomes a poisoned, scary world—corrupt, violent, and deadly.
Do their descendants have what it takes to undo the damage they did? Not even close! Things keep getting worse. Then God launches his own plan to show that it only takes one thing to fix everything. That one thing is to trust God, having the courage to do what he says even when it does not look right or feel safe to you.
Abraham has that kind of trust. When God tells him to leave the security of his homeland and emigrate to an unfamiliar land, he does it. When God promises that this will become the homeland of a new nation that will descend from him, Abraham believes him. He even is willing to obey God’s command to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah, but at the last second God provides a ram to sacrifice instead.
Like Abraham, many of his descendants trust the Real GOD. Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, and Esther all take incredible risks, believing that God will get them through, and he does. Others like Jeremiah come close to dying in prison because they take the risk of speaking the painful truth to the king, but God gives him what it takes to endure the pressure without cracking.
Centuries later, Jesus takes trust in God to a whole new level. He declares that God’s reign on earth is beginning, and he tells his whole nation, "Trust me! Follow me!" even though he knows this will sound like he is starting a revolutionary movement. He gets arrested, and his followers all run away to save their own skins, but still he is not intimidated. He gets tortured but he still forgives.
He keeps trusting God, showing the courage and grit of a true hero, and where does it get him? Dead! He is executed, and there is no lasting impact from anything he did or taught. End of story.
But wait. On the third day, God the Father brings his dead son, Jesus, out of the grave! God comes through again; the ultimate proof that he rewards those who have what it takes to stick with the mission he gives them.
When they see Jesus alive again, his spineless followers get a backbone transplant. After he rises to heaven to take the throne, Jesus sends his Holy Spirit down to live in them, giving them what it takes to face arrest, beating, jail, and even execution.
What does it take to do that? Let's call it grit, a down-to-earth blend of courage, stamina, tenacity, toughness, trust, commitment, faithfulness, and whatever else you want to throw in there. Whatever it is, they have it because the Spirit of Jesus lives in them, and it is powerfully attractive. The Jesus movement keeps growing.
It is still growing today, illegally in many parts of the world. And it will keep growing until the set day when the risen Jesus comes back in person to show everybody, including us right here, that his messengers were telling the truth all along. They had every reason to stick with their mission no matter what.
And that’s why we live the way we live and tell this story everywhere. As Abraham’s heirs and Jesus’ messengers, we have the Holy Spirit in us, and the Spirit gives us what it takes to carry out our mission right to the end. That’s our story.
If you have already said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” Jesus has already put his Spirit into you. Now you have what it takes to endure to the end. So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
1. Yes, God can be trusted 100% of the time whether we have obvious victories like Abraham and Moses or suffering like Jeremiah and Jesus.
2. Yes, God’s whole plan revolves around the heroic courage and grit of Jesus to face the cross and death. He calls us to trust him as sacrificially as he trusted God, his Father.
3. Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit into me to overpower my fears and give me the strength it takes to trust God no matter what.
4. Yes, I am living dangerously—forgiving everybody for everything like Jesus has forgiven me, and trusting God to work out the implications of that.
5. Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to give me whatever it takes to endure hard times and unfair attacks as unflinchingly as Jesus did.
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He shows you what your God-given mission in life is, and he gives you what it takes to stick with it. His Spirit moves into your life and you become a worthy spiritual descendant of Abraham, the father of trust.
That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant when he said, “Trust me! Follow me!” You won’t get to focus on protecting yourself and your own little kingdom anymore, but you will live more courageously and honorably than you ever could have lived on your own, and no matter what comes, you will have a peace you never imagined possible.
Note: There are seven versions of “The Rescuer” story, one for each SYNC season. Each version comes at the story from a slightly different angle. This is the “Grit Season” version. Full set of seven versions