Friday, April 3, 2009

I took an online personality test last week. However, this one was a little different than some I have taken before. This one asks a series of personality questions and then tells you which superhero you are most like. I was not surprised when my result was Batman. I have always loved the superhero who dresses in black body-armor. I have always liked him because he is a regular guy. Superman is an alien, Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider and many others gained their superpowers by odd things happening to them. Bruce Wayne (Batman) was driven to obliterate crime by the desire to avenge his parent’s murder.

I can relate to that. Who hasn’t wanted to get back at someone who has wronged you? I believe the desire to lash out when threatened is a very human emotion. However, some people would rather their superhero be someone from another planet or some mutant who does good. There are many different ones, because there are many different types of people who read about them and love them.

Last week, at a school for special needs children in Bangkok, Thailand, an autistic boy who was scared of attending his first day of school climbed onto the ledge of the third floor, and refused to come inside. The eight-year-old did not respond to his teachers or even his mother’s beckoning to come back inside.

The fire department was called, but their efforts to bring the child down from the ledge were unsuccessful. Everyone was afraid to approach the boy, out of fear that he may jump or fall. Finally, for some reason, his mother mentioned his love for superheroes. One of the firemen, Sonchai Yoosabai, decided to try something unconventional.

The fireman raced back to the station and quickly changed into his Spiderman costume. The fireman often dresses up as either Spiderman, or Ultraman, who is a Japanese superhero, to liven up school fire drills. He returned to the school in his Spiderman costume, and told the boy, “Spiderman is here to rescue you, no monsters are going to attack you. Walk slowly towards me because running could be dangerous.” Police said the young boy immediately stood up and walked into his rescuer's arms. The image on the right is an actual photo of the fireman in his Spiderman costume!

We as Christians understand that we are to be “In the world, but not of it.” We cannot have an air of superiority, or as the Bible says, be “puffed up”, just because we have Christ in our lives and others do not. We have to be relative to the rest of the world, or the world will never be able to relate to us.

Jesus was a master of this. He was able to speak to the poorest outcast in all of Judea, stand with a Centurion to discuss his servant’s well being, discuss spiritual matters with the Sanhedrin, or speak before Herod and Pilate with the authority of Heaven. Wherever Jesus went, He became like the people there, so they could relate, trust, and believe in Him.

We are called to do no less. If it takes putting on a Spiderman costume to rescue those who are without Christ, then that is what we need to do. A missionary would never go to an area without learning about the people there, and trying to become like them in order to gain their trust in hopes of being able to lead them to Jesus.

Likewise, we are in the middle of a mission field and we must do whatever we can to become relevant to those around us, without losing our witness. We are called not to be conformed to the ways of the world we’re in, but to be transformed by God. (Romans 12:2) Even Paul understood that in his journeys he might need to adapt to his surroundings in order for the Gospel to be preached and received.

Maybe you won’t have to become a superhero in order to tell someone about Jesus, but you may have to do something different or out of your “comfort zone”, in order to reach them. This week, pray and ask God to show how to relate better to those around you, so you can help point them to the greatest “superhero” of them all. May God richly bless your life this week!

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV)

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