Our Souls Crave the Spectacular
My husband Greg and I have four children and we love to all go see movies together. Lately, we have been introducing our youngest sons to all of the wonderful superhero movies that have been made over the last decade or so. We love talking about each hero’s tough backstory and how they overcame impossible odds due to superior intellect, or superhuman strength and character. We all have our favorite characters and it is surprising to me how each member of our family identifies with different heroes due to their unique personal perspective and experiences.
Our conversations often lead to the question, “What superpower would you like to have?” Invisibility, flight, and super strength are favorites in our family! We are all drawn to the idea of having various superpowers at our disposal to help us navigate through life’s rocky seasons. The ability to fly away from danger or confrontation, super strength to overcome our physical limitations, or even the gift of invisibility when we say or do something embarrassing would be welcome in our everyday lives!
There seems to be something in our souls that craves the supernatural. We somehow innately understand, at least on a subconscious level, that we were created to be more, do more, live a life of purpose and passion, and know and be fully known by a God Who loves us. I believe these superhero movies tap in to that deep desire in our hearts and that’s why we love them so much! We imagine what it would be like to leap tall buildings in a single bound, fly with the birds and planes, and act heroically when faced with evil in our world.
The Supernatural Supersedes the Spectacular
I wonder if we have ever considered that our Christ-given ability to forgive others and ourselves is just as powerful in our real day-to-day life as any of these other spectacular abilities in the lives of the superheroes in these movies. You see, holding ourselves captive to our past mistakes and the temptation to pay for those sins with our own good works or sacrifices is the natural way humans have dealt with sins and mistakes since time began. Trying to “pay” for our shortcomings on our own leads us to condemnation, religious activity, and to frustration and death – death of dreams, joys, peace, and love in our lives. But as we incorporate the forgiveness we have through Christ, we release our hearts from the sin-debt we feel and enabling us to finally be able to leap over anger, fly above offense, and see through the deceptions the enemy presents to us, such as a false identity based on failure and sinfulness.
As we listen to who we are in Christ, we hear that we are loved, we are forgiven, we are His beloved. We start to act on those truths and forgive and love others. And because love never fails, God’s love in us sets others free to receive His love for them as well. The forgiveness we could never earn freely flows from our hearts to the hearts of others and they start to experience the same transformation. This love that saved the world is powerful enough to set even the most frozen and sin-bound heart free. As we walk in His love and forgiveness, we are quite literally doing the work of Christ mentioned in Luke 4:18-19,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
Because we are now in Christ, we are His hands, feet, and mouth, created to do the work of Jesus of setting the oppressed free, restoring sight to the blind, proclaiming the favor of the Lord, and helping to release captives of sin and death. In a very true sense, we are showing up where there is oppression, poverty of spirit, spiritual blindness, and spiritual death, and sharing the powerful life and love of God. It doesn’t “appear” spectacular, but it is so much more powerful because it is supernatural and holds eternal ramifications for the slaves of sin and death, now set free!
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
I believe that freedom of soul and spirit is far more valuable than freedom of just our physical bodies, so the supernatural work of God through forgiveness directed to ourselves and others is even more impressive than the spectacular work of any comic book hero. As we follow God’s work in and through us to the lives of others, His freedom through Christ flows through us and does His amazing and powerful work of love in all of our lives!
Receiving Our Forgiveness First
Hebrews and Galatians further illustrate the effects of our complete forgiveness:
Now where there is forgiveness of these things [our past sins], there is no longer any offering for sin.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [of trying to pay for your sins by religious or pious activities].
When we appropriate His righteousness to ourselves and our sinful actions, thoughts, words, and decisions, we are finally free to be all we have become in Christ. It takes faith. If we don’t receive what God’s Word says about us by faith and CHOOSE to act like it’s true FOR OURSELVES, we will stay entangled in the guilt, shame, and condemnation of our past sin. We must receive this truth to be true for ourselves:
2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We have to SEE by faith that Jesus BECAME our sin and that we BECAME the righteousness of God in Him.
Now, every time our memories remind us of our past, we answer with the cross. “Jesus became that sin for me. That sin was atoned for – paid for in full – on the cross of Jesus Christ.” Every time the devil mentions those thoughts and actions we are ashamed of, we tell him to take it up with Jesus. God freely exchanged our sins for Jesus’s righteousness, and who are we to argue with God? Our Christian response to it is to accept God’s Word as true for us and then act like it – whether we “feel” it or not. As we do this, we can run faster, leap higher, walk farther, give more, love better, speak more freely – all because we are unhindered by guilt and shame and condemnation.
As you receive and practice these truths, your forgiveness bubble will widen and others caught up in it will be transformed by the love of God as well. You were created to be powerful and influential in transforming your world with the goodness of God, right here and right now.
For You light my lamp;
The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
For by You I can run upon a troop;
And by my God I can leap over a wall.
You are more than spectacular, you are supernatural!