I Want to Be an Action Hero
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:2-3
My wife and I were recently watching an action movie in which the main character was handsome, brilliant, funny, tall, and muscular. He always knew what to say, and he always did the right thing. In one scene, one look from him made an annoying bully wilt and cower. He exuded power and confidence and honestly, I found myself wanting to be just like him. The truth is, I find myself in almost none of the grave situations in which this character found himself. I do have minor conflicts in my life though. There are little bullies that I find irritating, and in my mind, if I looked like this guy in the movie, no one would mess with me. I’d be in complete control, and I’d be completely self-reliant.
I know how silly it sounds, but most of us do this in some way. For whatever reason, we feel inadequate. We see what others have and we want it because we think that would give us power, prestige, confidence, status, respect, or popularity. Some of us seek self-reliance and adequacy in status. Others attempt to find it in physical strength/beauty, financial success, or even carrying a gun. Whatever our thing is, we want to feel good about ourselves and we seek it in being powerful, attractive, confident, and self-reliant.
In today’s passage, Paul talked about this as putting confidence in the flesh. He referred to those who insisted that a man wasn’t a true Christian unless he was circumcised. Paul taught however, that we have no ability to ourselves. Our confidence is in Christ alone as he is the only one who can save us.
No one wants to be weak. No one wants to feel inadequate. The reality though, is that we cannot save ourselves. We’re saved only by God and we can practice faith in him only when we realize how truly weak and inadequate we are. We seek joy, purpose, and meaning in ourselves, but we’ll never find true satisfaction, strength, or identity in our own flesh because God made us to find those things only in him.
Status is fickle. Money can’t last forever. Strength and beauty don’t age well. Though we desire to be, we cannot truly be self-reliant. We all need God. The sooner we accept this reality, the sooner we can experience the authentic security, life, joy, and peace that we’ve been searching for in all the wrong places.