“Lewis once suggested that literary critics are, and have always been, neglectful of ‘Story considered in itself.’ They have been so focused on themes and images and ideological commitments that they have failed to notice the thing that decisively differentiates stories from articles or treatises. If we then try to consider the seven Narnia stories as a single story, what is that story about? I contend that the best answer is disputed sovereignty. More than any other single thing, the story of Narnia concerns an unacknowledged but true King and the efforts of his loyalists to reclaim or protect his throne from would-be usurpers.” –Alan Jacobs
And what are we? We are partisans for the unacknowledged King. We are exceptions to the total, cosmic treason of mankind. But this is from grace, for people who would be rebels.
St. Francis of Assisi is widely quoted as saying, “Preach the gospel, if necessary use words.” There is debate about whether or not he actually said this, but my beef with it is more than authorship. It’s content.
I understand the intent. Live out your faith, let people see the result of your faith. See the book of James. Yes, yes. Indeed.
But the Gospel is words. It is news, Good News. It is not anything, it is something. It is particular information.
It is not advice. It is not a “How To” book. It is not, as are the religions of the world, a set of things to be accomplished by you and me for a reward. As some one has said, “The religions of the world are ‘do, do, do,” and Christianity is ‘done.’” That is happy news.
The Gospel is the Good News that the battle is won, the king has defeated the enemy, and we are free. True, in a real sense, for now a battle goes on. But this is not the central battle, this is the working out of the result of the central battle. This is chasing the Philistine army after David is holding Goliath’s severed head.
The victory is sealed. The Victor is enthroned.
Yes, for a little while longer the world is put upon by a pretended sovereign. But the Ruler of All is not surprised by anything. He is not, contrary to popular belief, on the edge of his chair, biting his nails.
Our task is faith. If the faith is there, then so too will be the the works. Faith is God’s gift. He is not stingy, so we need not worry, or fear.
“We obsess about the future and we get anxious, because anxiety, after all, is simply living out the future before it gets here. We must renounce our sinful desire to know the future and to be in control. We are not gods. We walk by faith, not by sight. We risk because God does not risk. We walk into the future in God-glorifying confidence, not because the future is known to us but because it is known to God. And that’s all we need to know. Worry about the future is not simply a character tic, it is the sin of unbelief, an indication that our hearts are not resting in the promises of God.” –Kevin DeYoung
Preach the Gospel to yourself. Use words. Believe those words. That is faith.
Acknowledge the True King.