Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Christ: The Greater Superman

 



A while back I had a great conversation with a friend about superheros; mainly which one was the favorite. This lead to an in-depth look, not only at different superheros (which our culture is fascinated with evidenced by the tremendous number of movies that have been made about them), but also to a survey of our culture's accumulated psyche in why we like them. This wasn't the only conversation I've about about this subject; in fact, I've talked with several people about which superhero was their favorite. While the answers were all different in regards to which was their favorite( Spider-man, Batman, &The Flash were recurring favorites) they were similar in respect to why, and by result, who wasn't the favorite. There was one popular superhero that was continuously left out of the mix and that is Superman. The reason he was left out and why others were chosen were remarkably similar: according to all the people I talked to, Superman was seen as too perfect, his powers too comprehensive, his moral convictions too absolute; in short he did not have enough weaknesses. Sure there's the kryptonite issue, but being from a destroyed planet the supply of it is too limited to be readily available, wasn't considered to be a true weakness. While pondering these conversations this continual disqualifer about Superman stuck out: people can't relate to Superman's lack of weakness because we are constantly reminded of our own weaknesses and faults. Batman is a vigilante who is constantly locked in a personal mental battle of right and wrong and if the ends justifies the means, Spider-man, despite his spidey powers is the perpetual underdog, as is the Flash, despite his speed, he is almost always over-matched with his opponent and has to use his mind to figure out how he can use his speed to counter balance his lack of other powers, but not so with Superman, he has strength, speed, can fly, and is bullet-proof, he is always the favorite in any match up - this simply over stretches any ability we as fallible, mortal, conflicted, broken people have to relate with him.

This conflict over favoritism toward imaginary superheros parallels what we have seen and experienced ourselves towards missionaries. Most people view missionaries as spiritual superheros, having heard or read amazing stories of faith in the face of persecution, or of great stories of revival breaking out, or of great provision in the face of great need; and while these are amazing testimonies of what God has done and how He is glorified most people have trouble relating these types of stories to their actual experiences and daily walk with Christ and therefore cannot relate. So they disassociate and re-categorize and compartmentalize stories like this under a different "type" of Christianity than what they experience, and therefore see missionaries as different from themselves. However this couldn't be further from the truth. Missionaries are just as weak and sinful and broken
as anyone else.

When we began pursuing missions someone once told me "it takes more than a plane ride to make a missionary." Now, over a year into support raising, I can testify to the validity of that statement. The instrument God has used in our lives, and I would wager in the lives of countless other missionaries, has been suffering. We are not immune to suffering, want, or lapses in faith. Despite God's amazing provision in our lives we still struggle with doubt, questioning, and insecurities. Recurring sins in our lives are the sin of control and the subtle, yet destructive, sin of pride. We, as are all missionaries, are no different than anyone else; we are no superheros.

Yet there is hope, hope for us as we continue to pursue and prepare for missions, and hope for you as you are on mission everyday at work, school, church, or in your neighborhood;, that hope is found in Christ. While none of us are perfect, He is! But that brings us back to the dilemma at the beginning: if people can't relate to Superman because his lack of weakness and seeming perfection, how are we to relate to Christ in His perfection? The answer to that is two-fold; in the incarnation and in the cross. In the incarnation Christ did what superman is unable to do: He became like us. He left the perfection of heaven and took on, fully and completely, humanity; He hurt, He cried, He was tempted. He encountered and experienced the full range and spectrum of Humanity, therefore He knows! He knows what it is like to be sad, happy, angry, scared. He knows the enjoyment that comes from a good meal with great friends, and He knows the sorrow that accompanies losing a loved one. We can relate to Him because He chose to relate to us by coming to us. We can also relate to Him because not only did He come to us but He made a way for us to come to Him. At the cross Christ payed our debt of sin, that we were unable to pay on our own and that separated us from Him, and he accredited us his righteousness and perfection. So not only is our debt cancelled, but we are given all His riches. This again is how Christ is the better superman. Not only could superman not become human but he couldn't make humans kryptonion. Christ on the other hand did both of these: He became like us in the incarnation, and through the cross allowed for us to become like Him.

This knowledge of the Gospel, when allowed to sink in, affects our lives and changes us! I said earlier that missionaries aren't superheros, well that's not entirely true. In the context of comparison it stands, but the truth is because of the Gospel, and what Christ did on the cross, ALL believers are "superheros." We are all accredited His perfection and His righteousness. This means that we are all empowered for mission, be it in Uganda or in your hometown. This doesn't mean, however, that we will no longer struggle. The struggle will remain: doubt, fear, control, & pride will still be present. When our sin lingers behind us and our circumstances seem impossible before us, we persevere. Through the Gospel we claim the promise of Mark 10:27, "with man this is impossible, but not with God; All things are possible with God." In front these words offer hope, hope against the struggle and in the fight, and behind these words offer humility, the antidote against pride and self-righteousness. All our victories and accomplishments were only achieved through God. This truth is the inoculation against the compartmentalizing that occurs among Christians towards missionaries. It is not the missionaries that get the praise or glory, but rather God. As missionaries we cling to 2 Corinthians 3:15, "not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything from ourselves, but our competence comes from God." and Romans 11:36, "For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen."




Prayer Requests:


1. We need a vehicle! please consider an end of the year donation to help us raise $12,000 for a vehicle.

2. We are at 90% and only need $600/month to meet our goal! please pray that God will continue to provide supporters to help us meet our goal!

3. We still need additional supporters, if you know of anyone who may be interested in partnering with us, please let us know.




Special Request:

Would you consider increasing your donation by 5%? Please take time to pray about increasing you support. If all of our donors increased by 5% (which is $2.50 if you are giving $50/month, or $5.00 if you are giving $100/month.) that would put us at 95%!!!




Praise:


1. We have scheduled our visit to the Sending Center in Philadelphia to have our final commissioning with Serge.

2. God continues to show us his faithfulness, providence, and grace as we trust in Him.

3. We look back over the past year and are so thankful to see how God has worked in our hearts preparing us for Uganda.

4. Had a Skype call with Josh and Anna, our team leaders, and discussed our housing, departure and vehicle plans. We are very excited to be begin planning for these things!




Here is our link for donations if you'd like to give an end of the year gift towards a vehicle:

https://www.serge.org/staff/id-51036/

No comments:

Post a Comment