Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ahhhh! Antagonists!

In creative writing each year, one of the things we discuss is the different kind of antagonists employed in stories. For a quick refresher, by the way, an antagonist is “the bad guy” or the primary force opposing the main character (or “the good guy”) in a story.

Bad guys in stories can be external, as in the character of John Aycliffe in Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Avi). When I read Crispin, I really couldn't stand that guy...

Another external antagonist might be
the creepy gnome staring at you from this picture...

The opposition can also be internal, as in the conflict of mind for Eliza Bennett in Pride and Prejudice (Austen).

>>In most stories, even in the two mentioned above, both forms of opposition are present.

The same is true in life. 
Most often, we have both internal and external antagonistic forces opposing us. For you, one antagonist may be a bully at school or even a debilitating disease that you deal with every day. Perhaps you struggle with keeping your thoughts pure when you see a cute guy or girl or keeping your attitude in check when speaking with people in authority over you.

At the very least, we always have that inner turmoil—the internal antagonist. For, even when you belong to Christ, your old nature is present within you.  Like the character Gollum from Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), you constantly have to fight fleshly and evil desires within yourself.

If you are in God’s family, however, the good news is that the power to overcome those lusts of the flesh resides within you—in the Holy Spirit. But no matter what your main struggle is at this moment—whether internal or external—I want to encourage you to call upon the Lord in your distress.

When reading Psalms 18 today, I was reminded of a song we used to sing in children’s church. The words of the song were taken directly from Scripture:
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. . .
The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. (Psalms 18:3, 46)
 Some speculate that David wrote these words after prevailing over his own antagonist, Saul. (If you don’t know that story, check out 1 Samuel 18-24.) Reading Psalms 18 in lieu of the David and Saul story puts David's praise of God in a whole new light.

Follow David’s example, my friends: 
Call upon the living Lord.