I want you to think of someone who you looked up to as a young person; someone who you would consider one of your heroes growing up. I can think of a few people that fit into the category of hero in my life ranging from family members to athletes, historical figures, and famous celebrities, amongst others. If you look at your list, I am sure many of you would have some similar types of people and names associated on your hero list too.
If we look at the kinds of people who hold the title of “hero” in our world today we will find no short list of athletes, actors and actresses, famous wealthy entrepreneurs, politicians, police officers, firefighters, military members, and the list goes on and on. One question that comes to mind is: Why do we need heroes? Or maybe a better way to put it is: Why are we drawn to associate people as a hero in our life? I was reading an article by Patrick Kiger this week entitled, “Why Do We Need Heroes?” and he made the claim that heroes help to define the limits on who we aspire to be. We define who we are and who we want to be by our heroes because they symbolize the qualities we would like to have ourselves, the ambitions we would like to achieve, and the life we wouldn’t mind having.
Have you ever had a hero let you down? This person of perfection, who had it all figured out in your estimation, who was impenetrable from faulty humanness all of a sudden looks like a mere mortal? Instead of being placed on a pedestal, they look more and more like you and me; people who have problems, who struggle with sin, who mess up and need forgiveness, who don’t have life all figured out, who desire significance and meaning in their own life, who have questions and issues that can’t seem to be answered or figured out. I know I can think of times where my heroes let me down. They weren’t perfect people and looking back on some of them now I don’t know how I ever thought they could be.
As we continue on in our Waypoints series, looking at the book of Acts, we come to a very interesting day in the early ministry of Paul and Barnabas. We catch a glimpse of one of their first stops in a foreign land, a purely Gentile city with no Jewish temple or comforts of home. The clash of this new culture meets these new missionaries head-on with their message of the love and hope found in Jesus Christ. What they find in this new setting and people group is what many of us can be tempted to struggle with at times ourselves through hero worship or idolizing someone beyond just an admiration for who they are or what they do. Paul seeks to show them that in their search for meaning and significance through imperfect heroes that there is a living God who gives them daily testimony of His love and care for each of them. This Perfect Hero is the one who is deserving of their worship, praise, and attention.
This Perfect Hero is One who will never let us down, will always come through, and leads us in ways that are for our benefit. This Perfect Hero is our Heavenly Father, the Savior of our souls, and the One who sustains us through life’s hard times. In Him we can place our hope and trust because His Word is true and His promises are sure. What a blessing to have a Hero like that!
I recently read a quote by a popular author who had this to say in regards to making assumptions: “We live our lives supposing things are as they appear to be when that is almost never the case.” Oh, how true this is! If I could only begin to describe how often this has happened and still happens to me. How about you? Can you think of some instances in your life where this has been true for you? When have you assumed something about someone or something to be true based on some outward appearance, knowledge, or experience?
We can make a lot of assumptions based on some pretty limited knowledge. We can make assumptions of others based on what they look like, what they say, where they work, what they wear, where they live, and the list can go on and on. We can make assumptions about places based on color scheme, logo, reviews, past experiences, and location. I know there have been many times where I have made similar assumptions only to be “shocked and surprised” to find out that I was way off-base in my assumptions. In fact, many times they did not even come close to measuring up at all. My assumptions, bias, and ideas can be quite short-sighted at times. It is only when my eyes are opened to the truth that the walls of those assumptions come crashing down. Maybe you can relate?
As we continue in our Waypoints series, we turn this week to Acts 10. Many would see this as being one of the essential and key passages in the entire book: the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God. However, before all of this inclusion can occur, God must first work in the hearts, minds, and lives of His closest followers to attempt to break through their bias, prejudice, and false assumptions. The Lord gives this invitation to Peter by revealing to Him the truth about His will for the salvation of all people. Peter comes to the realization that God shows no partiality or favoritism when it comes to whom He desires to come to a saving knowledge of Him. God reveals to Peter that He accepts anyone from anywhere who fears the Lord and does right and that anyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness for their sins through faith in the name of Jesus Christ. What a transforming reality!
I know I am thankful that God does not have bias or show favoritism. In the many places that you and I fall short and fail to live up to His standard for our lives, He steps in. Through faith, you and I are daily renewed to be more and more like His Son. Through faith, you and I are daily accepted as a living child of God. Through faith, you and I can be free from not seeing things as they truly are with God: He loves us, He saved us, and He desires to have fellowship with us. Does it get any better than that?
Pastor Ben Bigaouette