Many cultures across the globe have a love for superheroes. We enjoy watching them use their innate or acquired talents to make a positive difference in the world. A couple of weekends ago, I went with my daughter, Kyrsten to see the newest Marvel superhero movie, Captain Marvel.
While Captain Marvel was far from one of my favorite Marvel movies, it did get me to thinking about being an alien in a strange land. It reminds me that this is exactly what we are as authentic Christians.
I found myself reading the Bible, Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter is famously called “The Hall of Faith” because of the way it chronicles the heroes of the Christian faith like Abel, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Sarah, and many more. These were everyday people who God used to do amazing feats—often against all odds—because they believed that a greater power was working through them. In one specific verse (Hebrews 11:13), the Lord reminded me that devout Christian couples are foreigners in this land. We authentic Christian couples are foreigners here in a Western culture that does not represent our values.
As we pursue spiritual intimacy with God and one another, we are possessed and transformed by a power that is greater than any earthly force. This power is the Holy Spirit and it gives us abilities that regular humans do not have. In a real sense, you are superhuman which means "having exceptional abilities or powers". This was the premise of my last book, The Unfair Advantage: A grace-inspired path to winning at marriage. As a mature Christ follower, your superhuman abilities are intended to make you more like Christ and glorify the Father who gave them to you.
We best remember that this is not our home. We go through many physical and emotional highs and lows in our natural lives. These, however, are only temporal states for a temporal residence. Our Father has prepared for us an eternal home that is like nothing that we can imagine. But, the Father did not gift us with superhuman abilities for our eternal residence. He gave you and me these superpowers to use here on earth.
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Jean Grey, Captain Marvel, and even my favorite Spiderman are all fictitious characters in the created universe of Marvel and DC Comics.
You and I are designed to be real superheroes in God’s created universe—earth.
A couple of weeks ago, Dalia and I met with a group of engaged Christian couples who will be wed in 2019. I asked each of them a question, 'What is your superpower?' I told them that it is critically important to understand their specific superpower as individuals in order to begin to understand of what they are capable as a couple. You cannot discover the heights that are possible in your marriage without a critical examination of the individual superpower that you each possess.
These engaged couples looked dumbfounded when asked about their superpower. But, it is simply your gift, talent, or skill that is easy for you but difficult for others. Every spirit-filled Christian has a superpower. So, what is yours?
Scripture tells us in Romans 8:16 that the Holy Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed powerful beyond measure. Verse 26 encourages us that the Spirit helps us with our weaknesses. Verse 37 convincingly retorts that with our Holy Spirit-empowered superpowers, we are ‘more than conquerors’.
This in and of itself is powerful. But, what is possible when two superheroes wed? What is the possible offspring of this divine consummation? Humorously, that’s more powerful than thinking about a union of Superman and Captain Marvel.
I thought hard about my superpower before it crystallized. My superpower is 'wordsmith'. Since a young age I have been fascinated with words--written and spoken. God has gifted me with the ability to use words to his glory. From competing in 4-H public speaking contests in elementary schools to writing my doctoral dissertation on transformational leadership among people of African descent, I like using words to tell compelling stories or challenge the imagination.
Yet, this wordsmith did not marry another wordsmith. As a young adult, I was attracted to my wife Dalia whose superpower is 'number crunching'. It is no wonder that she became a certified public accountant (CPA). She deftly sees the picture in top and bottom line figures. For Dalia, numbers make things concrete and clear.
What is possible when this wordsmith and number cruncher join hands in pursuit of godliness. Each day, I am seeing more that when Dalia and I make our words and numbers work together, we really are unstoppable. Yet, I've also come to see how we have allowed our selfish to use these gifts to exert control over one another. This is the irony. Your superpowers can be used by the powers of Darkness to divide or by the powers of the Holy Spirit to unite.
This is exactly why the Adversary fights to keep you from aligning your superhuman abilities because he knows the power you have if you work together.
If you are listening to the Holy Spirit within you, then you already sense what he is revealing to you. I just ask you to release that which the Lord reveals. My prayer is that you ask God for the courage to speak it into existence. I hope my recent blog post, 'Marriage Revealed and Released' will help you do just that.
I would like to encourage you to do the deep work to think about your superpower and ask your significant other to do the same. I believe that you will find another level of godliness in that discovery. I’d love to hear what you learn.
In the meantime, take a look at this fun (yet significant) discourse as to what being a Christian superhero entails--at least from the perspective of one Catholic priest.