There has definitely been a resurgence of comic book characters in the movies these days.
Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Thor, the Avengers... are all coming to life again on the big
screen fighting epic battles with age-old villains. What is it that every villain does to strike
back at the hero in these stories? The villain captures the hero’s beloved and the hero
fights to rescue her. Spiderman rescues Mary Jane from the Green Goblin, from Dr.
Octopus and from Venom. Superman rescues Lois Lane so many times we lose count and
Thor rescues Jane Foster.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be so loved, so cherished, so valued that
the most powerful person in your world would do whatever it takes to rescue you? Most of
us doubt whether we have that much value but the truth is that it has happened. God
created us and invited us into a love relationship with Him that is called life. Satan, who had been rejected and cast out by
God entered the picture and snatched us from Him. But God has gone to great lengths to rescue us. He sent His own Son into the story to defeat the enemy and win us back for Himself to continue the journey of life. The enemy continues to prowl after us (I Peter 5:8) but our Father who considers us His beloved (Romans 1:7) continues to pursue us and give us victory over the enemy.
What is it that God sees in us? The Psalmist asked this same question in Psalm 8, “What is man that you are even mindful of him?” What could God want from us that is so important to Him? The way we answer this question will determine the quality of our relationship with Him.
Some believe what God wants from us is obedience. The commands and principles of the Bible are organized, preached, taught and applied. Strict standards are adopted and enforced by the church to keep us “in the light”.
Others believe what God wants is our mind. Doctrine, theology and study of the Scripture are the focus. We need to know and understand God more in order to be fulfilled. God wants our thoughts to be totally ruled by His truth.
There are also those who believe that God wants our happiness. A more therapeutic, self-help approach to Christianity combines psychology and Scripture to help us realize our fullest potential and deal with all of our demons. Support groups, accountability groups, healing seminars and a plethora of self-help books facilitate this process.
But what if what God really wants is… us…our hearts, our smiles, our tears, our affections, our possessions, our dreams, our ambitions… all wrapped up in Him. Didn’t He lament in Isaiah 29:13 that His people were seeking Him with their lips but their heart was distant. If this is true than the way we approach God is not primarily through obedience to a list of commands, adherence to a particular theological grid or victory over psychological issues. The way we approach God is relational. He wants us to be His beloved. Certainly this will include obedience, Bible study and maybe even some counseling but above all it will include a daily, moment-by-moment practice of His presence in our everyday lives. It will include a consciousness of how our everyday choices either lead us toward the life He created us for in relationship with Him or toward self, bondage and the enemy. In my book Ten Life Choices, the ten choices do not represent a formulaic way to approach God, they are simply possible choices to make throughout the day that will lead us in the direction of relationship with God. Learning to ask ourselves, “What does choosing life look like in this circumstance?” is a relational way to experience God.
Many people never experience this kind of relationship with God because they tend to equate their relationship with God with church. The church is not the point, it is a means to the end. The end is relationship. The church can help me learn the right doctrine, encourage me to follow and obey, direct me to some good counsel and surround me with loving fellowship but the church cannot BE my relationship with God.
The good news is that in most cases in the movies, the hero rescues the beauty and they live happily ever after. YOU are the beloved of the Father and He has rescued you from the enemy. YOU will live happily ever after with Him. That is the gospel!