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  • Writer's pictureJubilee Lipsey

A Storybook Look at our Faith

It’s like this.

There’s a young beggar who spends his days wandering the streets of a crowded city, struggling to survive. His life is horrible, not just because of what he lacks but because he lives in the power of an evil master who chains him, makes him beg and steal, and verbally abuses him until he can barely lift his head. The beggar doesn’t even know his name; he only knows that his situation is hopeless. He has no way to free himself because his own impossible debt put him where he is. His only outlet is to act out in anger against others. Death is all he can see in his future.

Then one day, the King of the city on the hill sends his oldest son the Prince to take the beggar’s place. The Prince pays the beggar’s debt on the basis of his own merit and allows the beggar to take His place in the palace with the King. Utterly shocked, the beggar accepts the offer, unsure if it’s even real.

The King takes the beggar into his palace and removes the chains from his wrists and ankles. He washes him clean, replacing his rags with royal robes. He shows him all the beautiful rooms in the palace, the food he has access to, all the riches that now belong to him—everything the Prince had prepared for him.

The King then gives the beggar a new name, places a gold ring on his finger, and presents him to the court and the army as his son, the newest prince. The ex-beggar cries tears of joy as he sees how the army and the court submit to him on the authority that the King has given him. He’s overcome by the reality that he did nothing to deserve this, and yet his life has been changed, completely made new by the mercy of the King and Prince.

The next morning when the young prince wakes up, he realizes he’s not on the streets anymore. As wonderful as that is, he also realizes he has a lot to learn about being a prince. He has new clothes to wear, and they feel out of place sometimes. He has to learn to manage a household, invest his father’s gold wisely, direct the army, learn effective war strategies and weaponry, study the Kingdom’s history, and act as the King’s ambassador.

It's a little overwhelming. He doesn’t even know how to talk like a prince. His language is filthy from the streets, and he’s still drawn to unhealthy coping mechanisms that kept him moving when he had no hope. But then, there’s the Counselor the King promised him. He met Him at the coronation.

The Counselor knows the mind and heart of the King perfectly, and it’s His job to remind the young prince of who he is and teach him how to operate in his new life. Even the firstborn Prince is in the King’s courts, interceding on behalf of the ex-beggar continually. The young prince has to admit that he’s clearly been set up for success, not failure. He’s truly loved.

As the days turn into weeks, the new prince takes great delight in everything he’s learning, but sometimes he hears other voices that contradict what the King says. When he’s not listening to the Counselor, he hears the voice of the old master.

You know what you are. Filthy. Powerless. You could never be a prince. This is all too much for you, and eventually you’ll crack under the pressure. The King is selfish to expect all this from you. He’s restricting you. Look at how He puts His rules all over everything…your speech, your dress, your behavior. You’re His slave now. You should come back to the streets where you can be yourself.   

The young prince realizes that the longer he listens to that voice over the Voice of the Counselor, the more convinced he becomes that he has to follow it up. He has to go back to the streets. What’s the harm? He’s a prince now, so he can always come back to the palace when he feels like it.

He ventures out in spite of the Counselor’s warnings, and before long, the old master is hot on his heels. Eventually, the prince is sitting in the ashes crestfallen and feeling as powerless as ever while the evil old master fills his mind with anxiety and anger, pointing out all the things that are still wrong in the world and with him. Why hasn’t the King done anything about that?

Meanwhile, the Counselor stands nearby. The prince sees Him whenever he dares to lift his head. His countenance is sorrowful, but He’s holding out his hand, mercifully offering him the Truth.  

“You’re not this person anymore. You are who the King says you are. You’re free of this evil master. He has no hold over you anymore, but the more you agree with him, the more you empower him. Stop hanging out in this place. Stop giving this man the right to speak into your life. Shake him off, and come home. Fight for the life you’ve been given, and I will fight for you.”

The young prince then remembers the Sword the Counselor taught him to use. When he stands up and starts to declare the King’s words, the Sword appears in his hand, double-edged and deadly. He starts to see fear enter the evil master’s eyes. Finally, the prince turns his back and follows the Counselor up the hill while the evil master flees in terror—because the King’s authority rests on ex-beggar. It’s terrifying to him. But it’s life to the young prince. He drinks in the Presence of the King, astonished that his new Father took such great measures to empower him, to keep him in the freedom His Son purchased. He no longer needs to submit to a yoke of slavery.

“He’ll try again, you know,” the Counselor says. “The evil master will send his minions up to the castle gates to intimidate you to see if you’ll listen. What will you do then? What did we talk about?”

The young prince smiles, remembering an earlier discussion in the King’s armory. “I’ll use my Sword to take them captive and make them obey the King. Nothing false comes into His city.”

“Precisely,” the Counselor beams. “I’ll be right beside you, and eventually, the enemy’s voices will fade altogether when he sees he no longer has a foothold. Then, he’ll become angry. He’ll lash out in other ways. He may even hurt you. But your life is hidden and safe, bound up with the King’s Son. What the Prince did will be your ultimate protection, so nothing will ever truly defeat you. You can be the champion you were always meant to be. Just promise to stick with us.”

The ex-beggar adjusts his grip on his Sword, admiring his reflection in the polished gleam. He’s starting to look like the Prince. “I promise.”

Do you see it?

It’s been several years now since I first got this image in my head, and I keep going back to it as a way to view our position with God through Christ. It’s a helpful perspective that makes it easier to understand what our faith walk needs to look like and why it’s so important.

We tend to place the primary emphasis in Christianity on salvation and push people to accept Jesus primarily in order to avoid eternity apart from God. While that is a good beginning, it’s crucial for the new believer to understand what he or she has stepped into. And it’s essential to understand this biblically since a lot of our modern terminology isn’t actually very helpful.

We’re not “asking Jesus into our hearts” as much as being accepted into His Heart and submitting to Him as our Lord and Savior. And while our eternal future is secure after our justification by grace through faith, we now have a lifetime of sanctification ahead of us. This is where we learn how to grow into our royal robes and conform to the image of the One who saved us so that over time, we begin to look more like the new creation we are in Christ.

The enemy will fight tooth and nail to draw us away from “a pure and sincere devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3), but the Holy Spirit is our greatest asset. He is NOT some sort of extra credit level for elite Christians who want supernatural experiences. He’s our source of power.

He reminds us of the Truth and equips us to live out the life of Christ during our own time on Earth for God’s Glory. We ignore the Counselor to our own peril; the longer we exchange His Truth for the lies of our old life, the more powerless and disconnected we will feel from the life of faith.

You and I were the beggars who have been set free by the Prince, Jesus, and we are now royals in training alongside our Brother, serving the King of all. There’s a very real war at the gates, but it’s already been won, and we’re armed with the King’s weapons and supported by the best Counselor there ever was.

Think of it like that, and I promise you, your mind will engage more easily with this wild, divine adventure we’ve been called into.

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