Mythical Heroism…

The Mythical Hero. Lancelot, Arthur, armour shining in the sun, fearless and unbeatable.

Somehow we look for the White Knight who will ride in on the mighty steed to save the day. He’s a “Man’s Man”. All men want to be him, and all women want him.

He is relatable to by young and old, he has high position but comes from humble beginnings. Think of the young Arthur, mucking out the stables until his brother needs a sword and the only one is stuck in the stone, so Arthur goes and with no difficulty draws Excalibur from Merlin’s enchantment.

We look for the white knight. We tend to end up with less than we expect. Less of a white knight and more the Black Knight from Monty Python hopping around and completely useless at best.

We look for the Sean Connery “Arthur”, or the Richard Gere “Lancelot”.

Newsflash: The only place you find them is on the movie screen.

Not that heroes don’t exist. Far from it. You meet heroes of the Faith every day, you probably just can’t see it. They tend to look like nothing.

Take this guy I know. He’s a tough guy. And I mean a real tough guy. Works with his hands, manual labour mostly. Thinks with his fists sometimes. It got him into trouble once or twice. He carries a blade most of the time.

He carried it to Gethsemane…

Peter is a white knight, but to look at him? Probably smells of sweat and fish a lot of the time – not a pleasant combination. But he has an amazing gift for compassion. Look at him just after Pentecost. He’s on his way to the temple and a cripple cries out to him. Peter has nothing but the anointing he carries inside him, so that’s what he gives. The cripple dances into the temple.

And Peter probably still smells of fish.

I usually have a knife with me. I’ve carried one most of my life. As a boy I bought my first pocket knife at the age of about seven on holiday in Wales. Just a simple blade folded into a handle that had a picture of a Welsh lady in traditional dress. I used to use it to sharpen my pencil at school. I bought my first multi-blade knife in France on a school trip. A blade, scissors and a gadget for getting stones out of horses hooves.

Because I see so many horses…

These days it’s a larger and heavier blade. It’s a paramedic’s knife – no, I’m not a paramedic – with a single folding blade. In theory it’s for emergency use (or cutting biltong/jerky).

I make no pretense to be a “hero” of any kind, but in a country where there is so much crime at the point of a knife (South Africa), it makes sense to be able to at least make a show. I’m a reasonably big guy, so visual aids are a deterrent. And I really like biltong.

But I’m no Peter. Malchus would probably have been in no danger if it had been me there that day.

But that’s not the point.

We look at “heroes” these days and we see the undefeatable. The protagonist of most movies shakes off the bullet hole in their abdomen and continues to fight unimpeded, unstoppable and infallible.

That’s why the Marvel movies appeal to me. I loved “Civil War”. The characters all demonstrate their humanity. Flawed characters who struggle with internal conflicts but eventually overcome their weaknesses to triumph.

That’s why I love the Bible stories as well.

Hang on…

Yep, you read that right. I enjoy some of the Bible stories in the same way as I enjoy Iron Man.

No, that’s not heresy.

We spend a lot of time as Christians looking at the deity of Jesus. We imbue Him with the focus of the Terminator somehow. We became obsessed with Jesus setting His face as flint towards the Cross, and consequently we miss His Humanity.

Jesus was tempted, just as we are tempted. That means in every way.

Every way.

Anything you and I struggle with, Jesus had to struggle with. At any point Jesus could have given in to the temptation of sin because of His humanity, just as Adam did.

Adam gave in to the temptation to be “like God” because he didn’t see that he was already like God – created in God’s own image. Perfect. Sinless.

Jesus actually was God in human form, but that human form was as fragile and potentially corruptible as Adam was. He came and as a result of the Cross, Jesus would become ruler of all the kingdoms of the World – at that point handed over to Satan. Satan offers to give Jesus what He came for when he tempts Him in the wilderness. He had the chance to short-cut to the position of power by simply bowing down to Satan.

No need for the Cross.

No need for the agony.

All the power.

The temptation must have been immense. So much power offered for such a little action.

But Jesus the man turned His focus to the real mission – Salvation.

He could have taken the selfish route. He chose the path to the Cross.

Even on the Cross, Jesus has the temptation thrown at Him to prove who He is by coming down from the Cross by His own Power. He could have done. He chose not to.

He chose us.

Jesus is a hero. He overcomes the temptation to give into the desires of the flesh – and they were significant. Instead, He stays true to the path to Salvation of the entire human race – by choice. That’s heroic. Heroism in the purest sense.

 

2 Replies to “Mythical Heroism…”

    1. Adefolaju, Check out John 3 – the encounter at night between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus is explicit in His conversation there. Entering into the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with material possessions and everything to do with attitude of heart.

      In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes Joel saying “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
      Shall be saved”. Again, this has nothing to do with money.

      Your tithe does not buy you a place in the Kingdom. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that we can give everything we have, even as far as handing over our bodies to be burned, but if we do it without Love (the Greek “agape” love – all encompassing and only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit) it is meaningless (1 Corinthians 13).

      You could be as wealthy and philanthropic as Bill Gates, giving literally billions of dollars to causes to lift up the broken and downtrodden, but the heart behind it is what matters.

      There are “steps” to be born again and enter the Kingdom – and as I write this, please be aware that I am writing as someone whose personal ministry is primarily as a pastor/teacher to those who are already Christians so this may be a little clumsy!

      1) Acknowledgement of our Sin before God. All of us Sin and fall short of God’s level of Righteousness. The first step into the Kingdom is to recognise this to Him.

      2) Repentance. This is beyond saying “I’m sorry”. It is an undertaking that with the help of Jesus we will turn away from the lifestyle that has taken us away from a relationship with God, and begin to move towards Him by changing our behaviour.

      3) Invite Jesus into your heart. It’s a simple request, but it will change how you see yourself as you begin to see yourself through His eyes. For me personally it was a real wake-up call.

      4) Invite the Holy Spirit into your heart. This is crucial to maintaining the momentum. The Holy Spirit convicts us not of our Sin, but of our Righteousness in Christ – that because we are a New Creation in Christ the old has been forgiven, washed away in God’s eyes as if it had never happened and God Himself now sees us through the lens of the Righteousness of His own Son.

      5) Forgive everyone who has hurt you. For every Christian I’ve ever met, this is a work in progress. My Grandad was a minister for 50 years and a Christian for over 65 and when he went home to be with Jesus at the age of 80 he was still working on this. Don’t let the enemy tell you you’re less of a Christian when you struggle to forgive people. Forgiveness is a choice long before it becomes a feeling, and it is often a very hard one. God knows and understands that, and He gives us the strength on a daily basis to extend forgiveness. Just remember that sometimes the easiest way to maintain forgiveness towards someone is to cut off contact with them. No matter who they are. I won’t lie to you: it can and often does hurt to say goodbye to people who have been in your life for any length of time, but if their presence means you harbour unforgiveness then it’s better to remove them until you can let it go completely. There are, however, caveats with this. If the individual is your wife or husband, God will give you a way to work through the issues. Take them. Often it will take some time, but you are one flesh with your spouse. Remember that you do not forgive for the other person. We forgive people who have hurt us to let go of that pain and allow ourselves to heal. When you forgive someone else, forgive yourself for harbouring unforgiveness toward them – and don’t take it up again.

      In my own life right now there are a few people I am struggling to forgive. I have stopped all contact with them, but the hurt their actions caused cut me very deeply and literally threatened the life of people I love. In the past, actions that have threatened my own life have been very easy to forgive, but this is very different and the pain has been ongoing for many years. I can’t say I ask for the strength to forgive them every day, because that would be a lie. What I do do, is I ask every day for the strength to want to want to forgive them. Some days I even accept it and begin to want to forgive. Some days I even get past that point and make the decision to forgive. It’s never yet lasted more than 24 hours, but every time it lasts more than 12, it’s a victory. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully let go. I hope I will, and that gives me Faith that one day it will happen.

      This world is not ruled by money. It never was. The World, and Satan in particular, will try to convince you that’s not true. But read the Gospels. Jesus lived a nomadic life for the 3 or four years of His ministry recorded in the Gospels. He stayed as a guest in the homes of His followers. Even when He was born, He started in a stable, using an animal’s feeding trough as a bed – that’s what a “manger” is. “Manger” is a transliteration from French into English – it means “to eat”. It was the basket the stable keeper put hay into so the cattle and horses could eat from it. Of the disciples, most of them were true blue-collar labourers. It’s possible the fishermen owned their boats, but if they didn’t catch fish one night, they had no food themselves the next day. That’s why the miraculous catches recorded are so significant. Peter has to pay the tax at the temple, so Jesus sends him out to catch a fish – He doesn’t make a coin appear out of nowhere.

      The West will tell you that nothing can be done without money, yet you’re reading this blog. So far since I founded Eagle’s Wing Ministries not one cent has ever been offered to the work I’m seeking to do. Yet this message and the others reach over a thousand readers online a month and I get emails thanking me for material from pastors around the world that they share with their churches every week.

      Jesus was a carpenter. Paul made tents. Peter was a fisherman.

      But for forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert after they left Egypt and God provided food and water for them.

      Money is a tool. It can certainly make it easier to do things in this World, but never make the assumption that you can’t do anything without it.

      Remember when Mother Theresa died the sum total of her worldly goods she left behind was her wimple (head-scarf) and a bucket. Yet she touched and changed the lives of millions indirectly, and thousands directly through her actions.

      Ask God for provision and He will provide what you need (not necessarily what you want) to do what He has called you to.

      But first follow the steps I mentioned and ask Jesus to be your personal saviour. I promise you, He’s more than willing. Look to Jesus and the Father first and let God provide.

      You’ll be amazed where supply comes from.

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