Thursday, June 12, 2008

Heroes Wanted

by Mark E. Larson
www.cvillechurch.com

There is a short supply of heroes these days. It’s no wonder then why so many young people are uninspired and unmotivated to become Christians. There are few good role models for them to look to for the encouragement they need. As a result, they look to super-hero characters produced by Hollywood and rock star idols who will fill the void.

If you are thinking that you cannot be a hero, think again! To be a hero, one does not have to achieve extraordinary works or perform amazing acts that will impress and dazzle. If you have a big heart, if you truly care about others, then you can be a hero by committing yourself to do what is right no matter what the cost may be. As Christians, we should be able to point to our own lives as examples worthy of imitation (1 Cor. 11:1).

Every Christian is meant to be a hero! Christians must rise to the challenge to do God’s will each day. There will be trials, temptations, and tribulations involved in living the Christian life (1 Pet. 1:7; Eph. 6:13; Acts 14:22). Therefore, to be Christians we need faith and courage and the resolve to never give up. We are all called to be heroes!

Heroes Are Brave

Heroism is not limited to great feats or incredible acts of courage, contrary to popular belief. Heroism goes far beyond that occasional act of bravery, like saving someone from a burning building or rescuing a child from drowning. Heroism is seen also in everyday life. Children love to listen to the Bible stories of the heroic acts of people such as David who slew Goliath or Daniel who faced the lion’s den. Yet, do they remember what kind of lives these people lived? Do they remember that David was a man after God’s own heart? Do they remember the devotion of Daniel to pray to God three times a day?

Heroes are those who gather the courage to serve the Lord everyday, no matter how challenging it may be. True heroes are not heroes occasionally, but are constantly doing their best to be brave when enduring the trials of life (e.g., 2 Cor. 4:7-10). Instead of turning your back on your troubles, you bravely face them by your faith in God. You, for example, commit yourself to resolve your marital conflicts, dedicate yourself to helping your troubled teenage son or daughter, and determine to work extra hard to provide for your family in times of financial hardship. When confronted with temptations at every corner, you muster the courage, in God, to stand for what is right in a world of sin. Like heroes, all Christians are to be brave without exception (1 Cor. 16:13; Phil. 1:27-28).

Heroes Seek Justice.

How many times have you seen a movie advertised that portrays the action hero as an avenger seeking “payback” for all the injustices committed against him? Far too often, those who exact revenge upon the guilty are elevated as “heroes” for us to admire. Yet, true heroes seek justice, not revenge (Rom. 12:17-19; 13:4).

Heroes are those who pursue justice in a proactive way. A hero works hard for the rights of others, especially for those who are weak, destitute, and afflicted (Jas. 1:27; cf. Isa. 1:17; Prov. 31:9). There is nothing noble about well wishing: “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled” which is unaccompanied by action (Jas. 2:14-17). To be a hero, one must be willing to put himself “on the line” for the rights of others. When a brother is unfairly accused, when the blabbermouth attempts to spread his gossip, or when a bully is preying upon the weak at school, you may have an opportunity to be a hero! Compassion for others will motivate you to be a hero, to pursue justice for those in need (Mat. 23:23).

Heroes Are Persistent.

Many people are quitters and pessimists, who give up easily at the first sign of conflict or challenge, much like the people of Israel who lacked faith when before an obstacle (Ex. 14:10-12; Num. 13:31-33). Many make lofty goals, like to “build a tower,” only to quit when the going gets tough (Lk. 14:28-30). Indeed, one amazing act of courage does not make a person a true hero when he does not follow through with what he started.

A hero refuses to quit until “mission accomplished.” The apostles of Christ were true heroes for their persistence to teach the gospel in a world that persecuted them greatly (Acts 5:40-42). Parents are heroes too when they refuse to give up on their children, doing their best to train them in the way of the Lord. Every Christian can be a hero by his persistence in the battle against sin, by refusing to surrender to the devil and his ways (1 Pet. 5:8-9). We can be heroes everyday by continuing to do good unto others no matter what response they give or result may come from it (Lk. 6:27-31; Gal. 6:7-10).

Heroes Have Integrity.

Many people will compromise their own beliefs in order “to survive,” to get by or get ahead in life. Many will do foolish things like King Saul, who violated the command of God in hope to “gain the victory” (1 Sam. 13:8-13). People lie, cheat, and steal, or set aside their moral values and convictions so they may “succeed” in life and gain the approval of men. The world is constantly enticing us to give in to sensual pleasures at the cost of what is most important and valuable (1 Jn. 2:16; cf. Mt. 16:26).

In contrast, heroes are committed to what they believe in no matter what. “For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13:8). Those that have real integrity not only believe in the truth, but live by the truth (3 Jn. 2-4). By putting our trust in God, we will have the courage and strength we need to maintain our integrity for the Lord (1 Pet. 4:19): To go against friends or family, if necessary, in order to do what is right (Mat 10:37); To refuse to give in to the pleasures of sin (Heb. 11:24-26); To not yield to pressures of the world to conform to its standard (Rom 12:2); To never trade what we believe in for the approval of others! (Jn. 12:42-43; cf. Gal. 1:10).

Heroes Selflessly Serve Others.

Many refuse to help without first asking the question: “What’s in it for me?” Unfortunately, “heroism” these days are often motivated by less than noble purposes: Fortune, fame, recognition, praises of men, politics, and other selfish causes (Mt. 6:2).

True heroes will selflessly make personal sacrifices. A hero does not ask if it is convenient or what he can personally gain by helping others. A sacrificial love compels him to act (Jn. 15:13). All Christians will have to give up something in order to do what is right to help others in need (1 Jn. 3:16-18). It may be your time, money, a career, maybe even the dreams you had for your life. Most of all, it will demand that you give up your sins that stand in the way of fulfilling your duty to act on behalf of others.

If being a hero sounds too costly then consider Jesus who selflessly gave far more than we will ever have to give. Jesus denied Himself to become a man and allowed Himself to be put to death on the cross for our sins. There is no greater hero that will inspire us more to be heroes than Jesus Christ! “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:3-8, NKJV).

Heroes are most desperately wanted. Will you step up to be the “hero” that the Lord has called you to be?


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