When I was a little girl I wanted to be Wonder Woman, gold bracelets and all. She was amazing–smart, resourceful, brave, and powerful. These days as I watch Marvel movies with my son I admire the strength and courage of Black Widow and Captain Marvel. Those ladies are cool. It’s the same idea. These women have super powers that make them strong and confident, that enable them to take down whatever bad things come their way. But here’s the thing.
So do you and I.
Our super powers make us mightier than any superhero. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. And that power isn’t timid. It can’t just do little things. It is w-i-l-d! The Bible tries to explain the power of the Holy Spirit over and over.
Like here in the Old Testament:
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
You and I can laugh without fear of the future. Not because we’re indifferent, or don’t care, but because we know we have the power of Jesus in us. Whatever we’re facing, whatever comes our way, we don’t have to be afraid of it. We have a strength that comes not from deep within ourselves, but from the God of the universe. We can say what needs to be said, battle the bad, and fight for cures. We never have to stoop to talking behind someone’s back or making someone else feel small. We can stand strong with dignity. Once again, not because that’s easy. Because dang it’s hard to bite my tongue sometimes. But because the power of the Holy Spirit lives in us and if we tap into it, we can garner up the self control to walk in dignity while taking down the villains.
And here in the New Testament where Paul prays that we may know:
His (God’s) incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21
Wait a second. That was a mouthful and I don’t want us to miss anything. Let’s take a deeper look. The power that God put in us is incomparable. So whoever you consider powerful–a world leader, a professional athlete, a CEO– the power in you is more than theirs. Beyond compare. So whoever or whatever makes you uncomfortable, is being unkind, is making things difficult–they are no match for the power of the Holy Spirit living in you.
Next, this verse says the power in you and me is the same mighty strength that raised Jesus from the dead and put Him on the throne above everything–every power and authority, every moment in time. This power lives in me and you. Raised from the dead power!!! Authoritative power! Royal power! We are so freaking mighty!
But I don’t always act like it.
There are days and situations when I’ll think to myself:
This conversation is going to be hard.
What if I do it wrong?
What if I don’t have enough time to get it done?
What if it doesn’t work?
I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
What if I’m a nuisance?
What if they think I’m crazy?
How can I avoid this uncomfortable situation?
This feels like a lot of work, a lot of steps, like something I’ve never done before.
I don’t even know where to start.
And in that moment, where our inner critic, and sometimes the enemy, tries to tell us we’re not enough, not competent, not connected, not capable, we have a choice. We can cower or avoid or blame or pick up our phones to distract ourselves from even thinking about our struggle. Or, we can tap into the Holy Spirit. Hold our heads up high. Take the first step. Stand up for what’s right. Tell someone we don’t appreciate their derogatory comments. Walk through the door. Walk out the door. Take a deep breath. Apologize. Tell the truth, even if it makes us look less than spectacular. Make the call. Send the proposal or resume. Try one more time.
You don’t need a gold lasso or an invisible jet. You and me–our super power is a gift from the Creator of everything. Our power can be as gentle as a lamb or as fierce as a lion. It can feel like inner peace or a whipping wind. It’s there. Ready to use when the evil of the world comes our way. To protect the innocent (sometimes that’s us), seek truth and justice, fight the good fight, do things for God’s glory, and put things right.
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Who commands crowds so large, there’s standing room only?
Many people came to the house where he was staying so they could hear him speak. The house was so crowded that there was no room left anywhere. Mark 2
When George Clooney was filming The Ides of March on our college campus, students and townspeople huddled around his trailers in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Hollywood heartthrob. When Dave Matthews played at our University’s arena, the show was sold out in less than an hour, not a single seat left in the house. When our hockey team plays, despite their sleeping bags and overnight vigils, many students are turned away before getting limited, coveted tickets to the games.
“Which do you think is easier to do; heal this man so he can walk again or forgive his sins? But I will show you that I do have the power to forgive sins.” So Jesus said to the paralyzed man. “Stand up! Pick up your stretcher and walk!” The man got up at once, picked up his stretcher and walked out in front of the crowd. Mark 2
Who saves people today?
In our childhood imaginations there were Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman who always saved the innocent, locked the bad guys up and restored order to Gotham City or Metropolis. These guys weren’t just heroes, they were SUPER heroes. But they weren’t real.
In reality, we do have people who save lives; doctors, nurses, fire fighters, policemen, EMT’s, soldiers -- who save human kind from tragedy from danger – sometimes they help the lame walk. Often, they save lives. They are heroes. Real life heroes.
They can save our lives. But they cannot save our souls.
“How can this man say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? Only God can forgive sins. Mark 2
Only Jesus can do that. He is the ultimate Superhero – saving the innocent, saving us, banishing Satan so he is powerless and restoring order to His people – restoring order to us, when we ask.
Who would you camp out to get a chance to see? Who is your hero?
Laura L. Smith