October 25, 2020

Which Story Is My Story?

Satan Tempting Christ to Change Stones into Bread (detail), Rembrandt

Satan Tempting Christ to Change Stones into Bread (detail), Rembrandt

Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
from mortals—by your hand, O Lord—
from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their little ones.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

– Psalm 17:13-15, NRSV

* * *

Which story is my story?

In the wilderness, Jesus took the time to figure that out.

At his baptism, Jesus heard his Father’s voice affirming him, reinforcing his identity and calling: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” He had publicly identified with the repentant in Israel by coming to John and receiving a washing in Jordan’s waters. Thus, Jesus joined those who lamented the exile of God’s people and were reenacting the crossing of Jordan to return to the land, return to the Lord. Marked by water, Spirit, and Word, Jesus took his place as the Leader of that return.

He had entered the Story.

What came immediately after was Jesus first test of that commitment. Was he sure? Was this the story in which he really wanted to live? Other possibilities were available — had he truly considered them and ruled them out?

Satan Tempting Christ to Change Stones into Bread (detail), Rembrandt

So he submitted to the test, led by the Spirit.

  • Go into the wilderness — see if God is really enough in the midst of solitude and hiddenness and obscurity.
  • Set aside bread for awhile — see if you can really survive on bread from heaven.
  • Face the devil himself — see if you can answer those voices that suggest a better, easier way.

And when it’s over, it is not really over: “When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.” The testing is not a “one and done.” He found himself alone again. He got hungry again. He heard those voices again. Probably every day.

In the end, he stayed true to the Story, and the Story became Good News for you and me, for the world.

And so, here we are in Lent.

Our test.

Which story is my story?


  1. I know my story.

    Basically an unbeliever at heart and a man of very little faith. Often just holding on by a thread. Or being held onto by a thread.

    Nothing like Jesus in the Bible.

    But a lot like those Jesus loved and forgave.

  2. Which story is my story? A vitally central part of my faith is that, when Jesus was tested in the wilderness, and then retested throughout his ministry, and took the final exam on the cross, and when during all that testing he overcame, he prevailed, he passed the Test, he was doing it for me, in my place; because the truth is that I can not pass even a pop quiz. If I have to rely on my own strength, I’m doomed. Just doomed. So I have to believe that, in some very elemental way that passes my understanding, Jesus is my story, he is my test-taker, he is my stand in, he’s the one who shows up on exam day as my proxy and does what I can’t. In Lent and at every other time, Jesus is my story.

  3. I am a seeker of the Christ and have come very far from my youth of self destruction and self indulgences I have been sober no 17 years . Everyone pr most in my life then found my life self-destructing and out of control and they where right . But I find now through a very difficult journey as my “HIGHER POWER” I chose Jesus and have since be told I am hater, raciest , homophobic, and freak why when everyone hated me for being evil and bad now also hate me for choosing GOD rather than the world view on faith and relationship. I literally have to have a permanent contact with God in my head, just to keep the Proverbial demons at bay “Addiction sucks even after 17yrs” and I am getting tired of defending my self from it and the world views. How do you get it “His story” completely without loosing all your friends and Family who just do not see Jesus as their savior and resent my view ?

    Still Seeking ,

    • Tough stuff you’re dealing with there, Bill J. Just know that with Jesus, you are saved, plain and simple. Saved. He’s made you a part of His story and adopted you into His family.

      Something to think about…not sure it will help…just know that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit want all your unbelieving friends and family to be a part of the Kingdom, too. Seek ways to maybe convey that God and Jesus want to have a relationship with them, rather than having them resent YOU. Let the Holy Spirit work…so that you don’t have to…LOL.

  4. Bill J,
    I don’t know your story. The few words you’ve shared here are not adequate for me to know your situation or to give you much advice. I know that as followers of Jesus, we should do everything we can to surrender things like hate, homophobia, racism; just on the chance that you might harbor some of these attitudes, maybe you could ask the Lord to help you search your own heart and see if you may need to repent of any of them. Try not to judge your family and friends; God loves them as much as he does you. I will pray for you today, my brother in Christ. I will pray that Jesus will continue to lift your personal story up into his redeeming story, and that your heart and spirit may find the rest you need in him. And I will pray that you continue in your sobriety. Don’t give up. There is an old prayer in the Eastern Orthodox tradition that I’ve found helpful in facing my own addictions; I repeat it to myself again and again, and somehow it helps: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
    God bless you.

  5. Could someone explain, how do you live on the word of God? what’s it like? Is it a feeling? Do you feel as if you’re content, not needing anything else? That condition would seem to apply to none of the people i’ve ever met. Can anyone here say they have, at least for a time, lived on the word of God?

  6. Good questions, Ben. I know a couple of people who have done 40-day fasts, and they both said it almost killed them. Clearly man has to, at some point, live on REAL bread, and not just the word of God.

  7. Thanks to all who responded .. all helped and some wounded. some time the truth stings .

    “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” 🙂