As Director Fury once said, it is an old-fashioned idea.
We live in an era of nuclear weapons, world governments, and seemingly infinite consumerism. Sometimes we wonder, is there any room left for heroes?
Personally, I’m with Director Fury. I’m not putting all my faith in weapons.
I still believe in heroes, and so does God.
As a part of my mission to “find God in unexpected ways in everyday life,” I am periodically exploring a deeper, spiritual theme in popular mainstream movies. Last week, Melissa, the author of the blog Broken.HEARTED, asked her sons what movie they’d like to see me take on next. As you may have guessed, at the top of the list was “The Avengers.”
My response? Challenge accepted.
I had the same problem with this movie that I had with Avatar last week. God’s everywhere in this film. Maybe you don’t see it yet, but trust me, you’ll find Him if you look for Him. After all, God promises that we’ll seek Him and find Him if we seek Him with our whole hearts (Jeremiah 29:11-13), and Hollywood is no exception.
For the purpose of this challenge, I’m going to focus on what Captain America calls the “sacrifice play.”
It’s one thing to blow up a bomb by remote control. It’s quite another thing to put yourself on the line to help others. That’s what it truly means to be a hero, and no one does heroism better than God.
Almost from the outset, the world was in trouble. No matter how you choose to interpret the book of Genesis in the Bible, either literally or figuratively, the take home point is the same. We as human beings make mistakes, and, because of those bad choices, the door opens for darkness and evil to come flooding in.
*Spoiler Alter* Loki, our favorite god-like villain fallen from grace, comes to earth and (you guessed it) opens a door for all hell to come streaming into downtown New York City.
Now, I won’t spoil everything for those of you who haven’t seen this incredible film, but trust me, it isn’t pretty.
Our world is a messed-up battleground very much like the streets of New York in this film. But here’s the amazing thing. As soon as we opened that portal of darkness and all hell broke loose, God had a plan.
God decided that He would sacrifice Himself to close that portal.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NLT
As if that wasn’t enough, when Jesus ascended to heaven after defeating death, He sent us the Holy Spirit. This Spirit fills our hearts and lends us power.
That’s right. We have super powers.
Jesus said it himself. Because of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we’d be able to follow in his footsteps and do miraculous things. (John 14:12)
God wants us to use those super powers to continue the fight until the battle is completely won. The only limit on that power is our willingness to take action when God calls his Avengers to assemble.
But it’s not always going to be easy. We must be willing to make the “sacrifice play.”
“… If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. ” Luke 9:23 NLT
“ And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 NLT
That’s right. If we are going to follow Jesus, we sometimes must be willing to make the “sacrifice play” just as He did.
Of course, that doesn’t always mean laying down our lives. *Another spoiler alert* After all, things worked out for Iron Man! Still, part of following Christ means that we have to be prepared to follow Him wherever He may lead. We have to be prepared to sacrifice when He calls on us to be His heroes in an embattled world.
Sometimes it’s as simple as giving the extra change in you pocket to a stranger in need.
Sometimes it means giving a few minutes of your time to call an ambulance.
Sometimes it means offering a shoulder to cry on.
Sometimes it means standing by a friend as they battle cancer.
We’re called to be heroes in a million different ways, and we each have unique God-given abilities to answer that call. Just as the Avengers each have different super powers, God has gifted each of us differently. No two of us are the same (Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:10-11, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). There’s no such thing as a typical Avenger.
It does not matter how we serve. What matters is that we answer when God calls.
In one way or another, God calls each of us to be his Avengers in a world under siege. Will you answer? Will you be a hero? Because if Jesus showed us anything, it’s that no worldly power can overcome evil. Not really. As Martin Luther King, Jr. summarized so beautifully, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Bombs cannot fix what is happening in our world. What we really needed is people who care enough to take action.
Will you answer the call? Are you willing to be His Avenger?
Please know there is no service that is too small to make a difference. For ideas on how you can get started, visit the Random Acts of Kindness website.
Remember, you can be a hero to someone today through God’s power that’s living inside of you. Use that power today. No matter who you are, you can do something!
God bless you today on whatever adventure He brings your way,
In what ways are you making a difference?
Do you have any ideas you can share that might inspire others? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!
Here’s a Matthew West’s song “Do Something” to help you get fired up.