Bob is pretty fascinated with the superhero phenom in our culture. At the time of this writing, we just returned last night from a date (yes, couples should still date after 36 years…) to the local theatre where we saw Captain America-Civil War. No spoiler alert in case you’re one of the handful who hasn’t seen it, but as the title implies, it’s the flick in the interminable series where the supers duke it out against each other.
I guess they haven’t read that part about “a house divided against itself…”
Anyway, as a society we congregate over these fantasies for several reasons, some more ominous than others. In fact, a good blogging buddy of mine, Oneta at Sweet Aroma, left me this comment:
“And while we build supermen in the sky, on earth we live so far below what God has available for us.”
Good seg into this account about Moses’ successor, Joshua, who’s body is finally wearing out (after all, he was only 110 when he died) but who’s passion for God was stronger than ever. He was a great leader, inspiring the people to live only for God and to not cohort with the remaining non-Israelites in the conquered or yet-to-be conquered land. He had this effect on them:
“The people of Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the LORD had done for Israel.”
Good leadership instructs and encourages us in living for Jesus, but to remain faithful I must experience Him for myself, individually, personally, intimately…and consistently. God has creative ways of doing this, and we’re not allowed to pick and choose the spiritual battles He gives us. Check this out:
“ ‘I did this to test Israel— to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the LORD as their ancestors did.’ That is why the LORD left those nations in place….He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.”
- God tests us because He must show us what is in our own hearts: do we sincerely want to be faithful to Him? What are we willing to do about it? God isn’t impressed by my spiritual pedigree and He isn’t looking at my spiritual ancestry; He’s looking at ME.
- And to be faithful, it is necessary to learn to engage in spiritual warfare—me, not just my pastor or friend. This is not an option, and it’s not just for my own welfare and survival, but like any army, it’s for others as well.
My friend Oneta has it so right: like the Hebrews who chose not to engage in personal relationship with their own God and learn to fight for Him (and therefore, for their own hearts), they ended up living waaaay below what He envisioned.
So move over, Captain America.
Joshua 24:31; Judges 2: 22, 3:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.