It all begins with God — what we think about God shapes what we think about ourselves and those around us and our world. It begins with God. What is our “narrative” of God?
James Bryan Smith, in The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series) is focused on that question.
God is generous. Our God is a God of generosity.
Smith’s approach is to counter unhealthy and false narratives with the narrative of Jesus about God. The false narrative that attacks God’s generosity and our reception of God’s generosity is that we can earn God’s favor. When we frame our narrative with a “tit-for-a-tat”, we run the risk of entering into a narrative of earning God’s favor and spending our time in fear of God.
What are the reasons we frame God as one whose favor must be earned? What has helped you get over and beyond the God’s-Favor-Must-Be-Earned God?
Smith sees this narrative of earning favor written into the fabric of our culture and in the misunderstood narrative of God’s favor in the Bible — the correlation principle of Deuteronomy 28. Smith contends the metanarrative of the Bible sets the favor passages in context: that context is God’s grace and God’s love and God’s mercy and God’s generosity.
Jesus’ narrative is revealed in the parable of the workers in the vineyard where, in spite of getting what they deserved, we see God giving out of generosity beyond and instead of what they deserved. This, Smith argues, is the narrative of Jesus about God’s generosity.
What God wants us from us is to delight in God. God loves us and God is generous.
Are you receiving this?
He finishes this with an exercise in praying Psalm 23.