My six-year-old son thinks superheroes are cool, even though he actually knows little about them. We don’t own anything related to Spiderman, Ironman, or Batman, except for a T-shirt my husband bought for him the other day. His knowledge of superheroes goes as far as what he hears from the neighbor kid down the street. And I’m glad. I don’t like the superheroes. They’re like mini-gods with huge egos in tight, spandex exercise suits. Our culture’s obsession with superheroes is a bit idolatrous. We don’t bow down to worship little Ironman mini action figures, but we do tend to gush an exaggerated amount of admiration for someone that isn’t even real.
Is it that we secretly wish we were them? I’m not talking about squirting spider webs out of our palms or shooting laser beams out of our eyes; I’m talking about dominating others and being self-sufficient. Being powerful.
The problem is, that’s never going to happen. The superhero stories deceive us into desiring what we can never attain: being God. We nurture within ourselves this fascination for autonomy, without realizing that we’re training our hearts in the wrong direction; instead of running to God, we think we can find the resources within ourselves to solve all our problems, and attain all our dreams, which can only lead to more brokenness and hurt.
But, that’s how it is with the superheroes, right? They boldly define their own rules, and map out their own agendas. Sure, they sacrifice themselves for the good of others–while calling on their own inner strength to do it. However, there is no ultimate law which defines what is good and bad. It is just assumed. Where does that assumption come from? I don’t know. An inner sense of morality? A conscience?
Since we can gradually become insensitive to our conscience, and since it’s so easy to misinterpret wants and feelings for conscience, we need a less fuzzy guide. Something concrete and definite. What we need is the Word of God. The Bible. And yet, since we’re so good at lying to ourselves, we even mishandle the Bible, and make it seem to say what it clearly doesn’t. We bend the rules and mark out our own reality. We attempt to live life in our own power, apart from God’s power and truth. We want to be the superheroes of our own life story. Stupidly, we never anticipate all the damage being done while we’re out there living our dreams with no accountability.
There is no truth apart from God’s word. There is no life apart from Jesus. And there is no strength to live the way we should apart from God’s indwelling power.
He who abides in Me [Jesus], and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
There are no superheroes; there’s only Jesus. All of us wannabe superheroes will only crash and burn at the end of our fruitless journey for self-fulfillment disguised as “noble aspirations.”
Jesus is the only God-Man in existence, yet without the enormous ego and fatal character flaws. Our One Perfect Super Hero.
(Continue by reading Superheroines.)