When life throws you heartache and surprises the challenge is to continue to be who you are after life stuns you. When people are unkind, you continue to be kind. That is who you are. When the world attacks, continue to love because that is who you are. This is fortitude as Webster’s Dictionary defines it:
Fortitude is strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger to bear pain with courage.
We need fortitude in the Christian Church. In the 1900s when the church was hit with challenges from science, the church turned into an ugly version of itself. (see Change Old Mindsets – Part 1) Look at the identity, role, and narrative of the church today. I’m not talking about what the Christian church says about itself. I’m talking about how the church comes across.
The old mindset is:
Identity: to be protectors of the faith
Role: to fight the world and people who oppose faith
Narrative: War and doom
It’s no wonder people are leaving the church in hordes.
Jesus came with another identity, role, and narrative, that’s what interests me. The mission of the church is to continue the work of Jesus but we can’t if we are busy fighting each other and fighting the world.
The role of the church is to continue the miraculous work of Jesus. He came to:
- Heal the broken hearted
- Set the captives free
- Release prisoners from darkness
- Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
How would this look in terms of identity, role, and narrative? What would a new mindset shift be? Perhaps it could be:
Identity: to be Jesus
Role: to heal, save, and deliver
Narrative: Proclaim the Lord’s favor
John 3:17 says: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
The word save in the Greek is defined: to heal, save, and deliver.
The change in our mindset starts with our identity which informs our role and reinforces our narrative. I’m in a narrative of hope. God’s favor is on me. I have a destiny given to me by my Heavenly Father and my life counts, so does yours. I know this because I know the quality work of my Heavenly Father. I can say this about you (and me):
You have value.
You are powerful.
You are honored.
You are gifted.
You are joyful.
You have a destiny.
You are loved.
You have everything you need to fulfill your destiny and be Jesus to the people around you. It’s a done deal. Jesus paid the price for you to have access to the same power that raised Him from the dead.
In the narrative of hope, the outcome is in my favor. If I am passing through a dark valley right now, I don’t allow myself to be swallowed by the darkness. I am not of the darkness. I am light. It’s going to take toughness on my part in this moment. I will get through this to the other side. I keep my eyes on the light, not the darkness.
What do we do with the world that gets darker and the church that remains toxic? (I am aware that not all churches are toxic. And thank God for that.) For me, I stay connected to an unlimited source of hope and peace. I stay connected to my Heavenly Father who lavishes love on me. I stay connected to the Holy Spirit who gives me a hopeful perspective. And I stay connected to Jesus who is my peace. It’s not easy, but who said Christianity was easy?
See my next post about peace in chaos.