From Warmonger to Super Hero

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 2, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

As Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) lay helpless in a cave somewhere in the Middle East, put there by one of his own weapons of warfare, he began a transformation from warmonger to “super hero.” Rescued by the brilliance of a scientist he had previously ignored, and helped in creating a device that would keep the shrapnel in his chest from penetrating his heart, Tony begins a spectacular escape plan that would lead to the creation of the exo-skeletal suit that would be Iron Man. In the battle to escape his prison and captors, Tony’s assumptions about weapons and warfare are shattered, and he vows to no longer let his company develop weapons that would contribute to the destruction he saw – and experienced.

That vow would be very difficult to keep, especially since the shareholders and board members of his company did not understand or agree with Tony’s new path. If you have watched the Iron Man movies produced in the last several years, you have seen the struggle Tony has lived through in trying to shed his OLD way of living. The initial decision and the start of the transformation into a hero was rather quick and sharp. Continuing to walk in that path, continuing to let his assumptions about technology be re-shaped and his arrogance be changed into self-sacrifice, was not easy – and continues to be a struggle as we approach the newest movie “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.”

What makes this struggle so tangible for us is that we can identify with the challenge of making wise choices, when there are so many opportunities for us to make easy and self-gratifying ones. If we are a follower of Jesus Christ, our encouragement is that Jesus has made it possible for us to live completely for the good – every time. Read Romans 6:8-14.

As Paul continues in his discussion about living free from sin and rebellion through Jesus, he presents us with a reminder that Jesus already died for our sin, undoing the penalty of separation from God, and enabling us to live in the fullness of HIS presence. When Jesus came back to life, it wasn’t temporary – he didn’t die again later. He was permanently raised to life. He remains fully human and fully God. And as a part of the Godhead/Trinity, he permanently represents the reconnection of humanity to God through his sacrifice and resurrection.

Even though Jesus accomplished that task, that access for us to have relationship with God, we still need to walk it out our relationship with God through Jesus. For most followers of Christ, there has been a moment of transformation, like with Tony Stark – only much deeper and more powerful. We experienced a moment when we realized we needed God, and we needed the exchange of life that Jesus offers – from our selfish destructive ways, into good, selfless and life giving ways. That moment is usually sharp and quick, though for some it may be a bit more of a journey of discovery. Once we have accepted Jesus and choose to follow Him, our free will has not gone away. Our ability to offer ourselves back to selfish and sinful behaviors is still intact. And like Tony Stark, our struggle persists, because we still live in our fleshly bodies and in a world that still lives according to the desires of the flesh. If our struggle is around a previous addiction, sometimes it is even more profoundly painful to fight against.

It is helpful to remind ourselves that we are not trying to satisfy rules and laws anymore; we are not trying to avoid judgment or shame. We have been set free, and because of the grace God has given, we are able to keep our struggle in perspective. We can seek help if needed and not fear judgement, because God has already taken care of that. We can remind ourselves that if our goal is freedom and fullness of life, then we need to shun those choices and keep ourselves from activities that lead us back into self-indulgent behaviors.

So, quite simply, we have a choice daily about how we are going to live. We can live the way we did before Jesus, and with that experience all the same things we did before. Or we can remind ourselves of the freedom Jesus offers – even on the toughest parts of the journey – and choose to keep ourselves from stepping back into our OLD way of living. As we will see in my blog post next week, that choice is ultimately one of life and death.

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