It is that time of the year for National Novel Writing Month. Preparing for one of my groups at the agency I work for, I happened upon the concept of the Hero’s Journey plot structure. Discovered by Joseph Campbell, this plot structure focuses on the external and internal journey a hero takes. In relating this concept to an addiction/recovery concept, I continued to reflect on how this hero’s journey is well applied to the Christian life.
First, we have to begin with one of the most profound passages of scripture in the New Testament. I have chosen this one specific passage because of how it reflects the blessed hope that is our reward in the next life. Second, we have to understand how we are engaged in our own heroic journey of the Christian faith. Third, we must always be prepared to carry this message to others and present to them the gift of salvation.
Revelation 3:21 says this:
21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Our journey through this life is marked with various types of experiences. Some of those experiences are good, while other experiences are troubled and not so good. Writing to his disciple, Timothy, the Apostle Paul teaches us this:
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NASB)
Like Paul, we are faced with the battles of our lives, the temptations that plague us and call us to sin are everywhere. We must continually engage in this battle. Not just to live in this moment, but to look forward to that moment when we stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives and how we have served him faithfully.
Wherever we find ourselves in our journey today, the first step in the Christian Journey is the first step the hero takes in his journey.
The Call to adventure and the ordinary world
We live in our own particular perceptions where there is biased suppositions. We all have our own experiences (good or bad) that have shaped our thoughts, personalities, and even how we perceive the world around us. This ordinary world is all we know and understand. For some, this world is not uncomfortable, and they see no threat or need to change because of any threat against them. Yet, when that threat comes, when that moment our ordinary world is challenged in some way, we begin the journey. This can be a short journey, or it can be a long and enduring journey. However that threat and challenge comes to us, we must face it and conquer it, or it consumes us.
For the hero living in his/her ordinary world is facing with some form of stress:
The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.
Prior to our journey in the Christian life, we are faced with various stresses, we are at a crossroads, and our environment, personal history and heredity has brought us to where we are at today. Within our own ordinary world, there is some polarity in our lives that seems to pull us in different directions.
Within this framework, we receive the call to adventure. This call comes as a form of repentance, receiving the gift of salvation, and coming into discipleship within the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the central theme of the Great Commission given by Christ himself to his disciples:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Once the call is given to come unto Jesus Christ, there is great blessings in store when we lay hold onto the gift of Salvation. Yet, many who receive this call end up refusing the call.
Refusal of the Call
There are many reasons an individual may refuse the call of salvation and discipleship. For the hero, he or she refuses the call to adventure because of the fear of the unknown. Fear of what others may think. Fear of changing one’s lifestyle. This refusal can be within a day, weeks, months or even years before the individual takes up the call of adventure into the Christian life. Yet, many continue to come into the person’s life and share aspects of the Gospel message, and the individual may experience internal moment’s of stirrings and awakenings in response to what is being shared. In the hero plot structure, the call to refusal is based on fear:
The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.
Many of us, prior to coming to faith and reliance of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ, have experienced moments like the hero. We experienced thoughts and apprehension in “becoming a Christian”. There is great fear, great trepidation because of what this would mean to some. For many, there is valid reasons for their fears. For us, we acknowledged and validated our own fears and reluctance to come into a genuine relationship of Jesus Christ. In this moment, we refuse the call to partake of the redemption and salvation that is through Jesus Christ.
Meeting the mentor
At this moment, the height of our fear and reluctance to answer the call to adventure, a mentor/guardian comes along and begins to teach us. Guiding us in the means of preparation to take on the adventure we have been called to do. This step is crucial as it helps us face the next step in our own personal journey – crossing the first threshold.
For us, our guardian/supernatural aid is the Holy Spirit. Scripture promises us that we will be taught and comforted by the power of the Spirit that moves in each and every person who lives an authentic Christian life:
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26, NASB)
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we begin our journey into the Christian life. We are prepared to cross the threshold with our aid, with those who become our mentors, and the journey begins.
However each one of us received the call to adventure, the Christian Journey is the beginning of hope and peace in a world that seems to grow ever darker and filled with all manner of vileness. Yet, Jesus Christ is still calling. Scripture says:
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20, NASB).
There is still hope for each one of us, there is still freedom granted by the gift of Grace and the salvation that is through Jesus Christ. Have you received the call to adventure? Has it been a long while since you have received the call to adventure?
- The Normal Christian Life – #1 Secret to Spiritual Power (fwgf.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit’s Filling – Part 1 (kdmanestreet.wordpress.com)
- TP Theology (thatreformedblog.com)
- How can I become more motivated for soul winning? (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- How Did You Begin? (pilgrimpassing.com)
- Acquire the Holy Spirit: An Orthodox understanding of Christian life: VII (avowofconversation.wordpress.com)
- Practical Christian Life (Are You a Practical Christian?) (profseunoyediji.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness in your Christian Life (revthechristianlife.wordpress.com)