Are you living an “inspired by” or “based on” faith?

Have you noticed how more movies are using the reference of “inspired by” rather than “based on” in their titles or description?

I happened to notice it this week, while watching a movie about the life of Saul and later a series on the Revolutionary War. Both described their films as “inspired by” – one by scripture and the other by the events of that time.

A lot of faith-based movies use “inspired by”, including the recent Bible series on the History Channel and movies like Noah and Son of God. Yet for a historical series? Why not use “based on”? Did the writers not have enough detail to write about actual people or events?

Though I felt like I had a pretty good idea of the difference, I decided to do some research on how the film industry looks at the two. I found a film production blog post, titled “Based On” vs. “Inspired By”; A Degree Of Fictionalization” which states:

“The terms “based on” and “inspired by” suggest very different standards of adherence to the facts providing the ideas for a film and the degree of fictionalization used to enhance the story, change the narrative, or make the film more marketable.”

So while films that are “based on” actual events generally tend to be written around core elements, such as the events, themes and  characters, that serve as representations of themselves, films that are “inspired by” actual events are primarily fictional, but the writer owes his or her idea for the film to something that took place in reality.

That description made me wonder why so many Christian films that are “inspired by” the Bible, can’t actually be written to be “based on” the Bible. Do the film writers think that more people will jump on the Jesus bandwagon if they take some liberties with the stories found in scripture? Or that people who study the Bible wouldn’t notice those liberties? Is it even a big deal, as long as the movie was enjoyable and drew people to see it?

It got me thinking about faith in general. Now before I go any further, I am not writing this to preach at people. As I start to look at 2016, I am seriously looking at my own spiritual growth – where I am and where I want to be!

Do I live my faith “inspired by” or “based on” the Bible, or on the teachings of Jesus? Do I take the easy, enjoyable, likable parts – the ones that don’t cause me too much pain or to make too many changes in my life? Or do I live by ALL the parts of the Bible and all that Jesus calls me to be?

Wow, that’s a hard one. No one is perfect – especially me! So I guess the question is what are my intentions with my faith?

I’ve talked to people who have studied the Bible and been followers of Jesus for most of their life. Some will honestly tell you that they still struggle with certain things. Maybe with fear, anxiety or anger, or in surrendering themselves to Christ, or forgiving someone who wronged them or loving those who are hard to love? Yet they live their lives “based on” their faith, so that there is no doubt they have accepted and follow Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, even as they struggle with some aspects of his teaching.

Then there are those who may have gone to church for some period of their life – or maybe their whole life – and still live their lives only “inspired by” their faith. That was me while I was growing up and through most of my adult years. Believing, but not living my faith. Kyle Idleman (author of Not a Fan) calls these “fans” of Jesus. They recognize Jesus, maybe even accept him. They sing the worship songs, attend the services and even allow some level of Jesus into their lives – but only to a point. Not to the point where the deeper changes matter, or the surrender occurs. Not to the point of “following” Jesus.

I want to be a FOLLOWER of Jesus.

I want that more than anything. I want Him to come first in my life and for me to live that that faith out, every day of my life.

In the past I have allowed my fear of what people will think and what they might say, to lead me to only quietly live my faith. No more! I want to embrace his love for me. I want to share that love with others!

While I have made my spiritual life more of a priority these past few years, I still struggle. I still worry and I don’t pray as much as I ought to, or study His word as much as I would like. Yet in my heart, I am growing closer in my relationship with Jesus every day. I can feel it!

In looking to 2016, I am taking stock of where I am in my spiritual journey, setting my priorities and asking Him for the strength to trust more, love more and to surrender myself! Through Christ, all things are possible!

I close with these lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

Live Like That ~ Sidewalk Prophets

Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change our heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don’t know my name
Is there evidence that I’ve been changed
When they see me, do they see You

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that

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