2 Truths Every Potential Hero Must Face
Adulthood and experience has forced on me a certain amount of self-awareness—not to mention some reevaluating. Maybe I am not that superhero I always imagined.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about Christ (my true model of heroism) and Calvary (the world’s most heroic act). Jesus’ whole life demonstrates and calls me to a new standard of heroism.
Here are two truths every potential hero needs to face:
1. Heroes Are Built on an Altar of Daily Choices
We would all like to imagine that, put in a dramatic and dangerous situation, we’d step up and respond courageously. The truth is that we’re at the mercy of the character and physique we have created. The chance that I am going to go from a life on the couch to successfully fighting off muggers in an alley is pretty remote. The likelihood that I would go from a life of regular, little compromises to true chivalry in a challenging situation is just as far-fetched.
Jesus crucifixion didn’t come out of the blue. From the moment Jesus laid aside his divinity to become one of us, he carried his cross everywhere he went. Despite the fact that he should have been the one being served, he continually served others. The heroic act of crucifixion was completely consistent with the selflessness with which Christ lived the rest of his life.
Your character is like pottery. It isn’t completely formed and dried until the end of your life, but with every action, with every decision, you solidify its shape a little more. With every truly selfless act, every time you choose mercy over judgement, it’s easier to be selfless in the future. But the adverse is also true. Every time you indulge yourself, choose laziness, hold someone to an unlivable expectation, it’s easier to do so again. With every decision, similar decisions get easier and easier. Eventually it gets harder and harder to make decisions contrary to the character you’ve developed. And if you make a decision continually enough, eventually the choices seem to make themselves. It’s character and not intention that creates heroes.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10
2. Most Heroes Are Not Made in a Moment
I don’t know anyone who has had that hero moment we all imagine. Actually, the people that I admire most are just consistently steadfast, faithful, and reliable.
Let’s, for illustration purposes, call martyrdom the million dollar commitment. We’d all would like to imagine that, given the situation, we could make that million dollar commitment. But for the majority of us, our lives will be spent making tiny investments into the Kingdom of God. A selfless act ($.25) here, a prayer ($1.00) there. And it’s on these little investments the kingdom is built. Sadly, we often think that because we would pay the million dollar commitment, we are absolved from the little daily commitment. But the people who are faithful with their little investments throughout their life often find that they have invested so much more into the Kingdom of God than any one-time act.
In many ways daily obedience is infinitely more heroic than martyrdom; to obey is better than sacrifice.
That’s the challenge to us. There are the martyrs called to make that million dollar decision in cash up front. We, however, are called to live out our commitment in little faithful installments throughout our lives. And if I am not vigilant and proactive in making those little deposits, I can’t trust that I will recognize or respond to those moments where I am being called to invest more of myself.
Like I said before, I am not sure I’m the hero I always thought I was. But maybe . . . just maybe, that’s the kind of thing a real hero says.
What does heroism mean to you? Let us know in the comments.