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Jesus Isn’t Your Supporting Actor


What’s the point of your life?

We’re on this earth, the Apostle Peter says, to glorify God and amplify the gospel: “Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits” (1 Peter 2:12 CSB).

For someone who is a resident of this world, what matters is that they get the recognition, the justice, and the reward they deserve here. For someone who is a citizen of heaven, what matters is how their situation prepares them and others for that home.

Imagine your life as a movie. Who would the main character be? In every movie, there are major characters and minor characters. What happens to minor characters is not as important because the story is about the major character.

I’m guessing that in the movie of your life, you generally see yourself as the major character. I’d like to convince you to rethink that decision.

I’ve seen advertisements for the new Top Gun movie, and I am more than a little excited. The original was one of my favorite movies of the 1980s. For those of you who (shame) haven’t seen it, the main character was Maverick, of course, played by Tom Cruise—who, like Nicolas Cage, is the main character in every movie he plays. But Goose was actually a better character, and a better guy, if you ask me. Goose’s whole role in the movie is to die so that Maverick can develop convictions of his own and become the man his dad always thought he could be.

Goose’s story is tragic, but his story contributes to a larger story, and that story is one that turns out well.

If you’re the main character in your story, then that means you’ll evaluate everything that happens in your life by its effect on you. How did it help you? Did it make your life easier? Did you get what you deserved?

But if Jesus is the main character of your story, then in everything that happens, you’ll ask, “How can this contribute to his story?” The point is not how things benefit you, but how they help you tell Jesus’ story. In riches or in poverty, in prosperity or in pain, the question is, “How can I use this to glorify God and amplify the gospel?” When something bad happens, you may say, “Well, this wasn’t good for me, but how can this point people to the gospel?”

Many people would ask why they would make anyone but themselves the main character of their story. Here’s why: One day the curtain on your life will close, and the credits will roll, and if the story was all about you, it’s over.

If your story, however, was bound up in and surrendered to Jesus’ story, then even after you leave this earth, you’ll get to participate and rejoice in a story that goes on forever and always ends in victory.

This article originally appeared here.
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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.