I remember being in Sunday School when I was young and hearing about all of the Bible heroes. What great men and women!! Oh, how I wished I could grow up and be like them. David killing Goliath, Sampson killing 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass . . . wow, Esther defying conventional wisdom to save her people, and John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. All of these things were done for the glory of God. Hmm. That thinking was delusional.
I did not want to be God’s hero. I just wanted the accolades, the hero worship for myself. My thinking then was childish, immature, and narcissistic; just as my thinking is today. So in 73 years, have I learned nothing? Yeah, but not the gutsy stuff. I quote John 3:16 with glee as if I had anything to do with it.
First of all, get real. These people did not live on the mountain top of victory or glory. They only occasionally rose above the sludge of self-pity. I wonder how Sampson felt when the temple stones fell on his head, crushing the life out of him. I bet a dime to a dollar that he did not think his life would end by him taking it.
David, the king, had no worries, right? Read the Psalms. He wrote of his struggles, sorrows, and coming to the reality that he was not in charge. Even as king, he could not stop the plotting against him by his own people.
Okay, so I need to reassess my thoughts about life, purpose, and reality. Yes, I am like those giants of faith: mortal, helpless, struggling with pride, entitlement, false expectations; and worse, I believe that God thinks like me. How easy is it to believe that what God wants for me is what I want for myself. Balderdash! That is totally stupid and filled with delusion, but I contend that this is what I deserve.
So let me try to be a mature adult about this. We are no different than any of the people of the Bible, good and evil. Am I old, wicked King Ahab crying because someone else has a vineyard that is more beautiful than mine? What about Delilah? Hey ladies. Hmm. What about Mary Magdalene? She was a wonderful follower of Jesus; look at her background.
I should want to emulate these people, the good ones that overcame, because all of the good ones did overcome. I need to mature in Jesus’ purpose, not my glory. Who were the truly mature people of the Bible? Let’s start with Jesus, Abraham, Job, Paul the Apostle, John the Baptist. These are some of the real giants of faith and works. Let’s examine them.
Abraham was given a promise at 75 years of age that did not happen until he was too old to receive it. He had a son at 99, and Sarah was 95. He tried to make it happen and created chaos with Ishmael. Job thought he knew everything, but he realized that he did not know the most important thing: the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away (Job 1:21). Expectations outside of God are the total result of my fallen human state.
Paul, when he was Saul, thought sincerity and truth were the same, especially if we are sincere first or have faith in our sincerity. Determination and effort only in ourselves makes us fools and idiots if they extend beyond the Word. Saul was learned in tradition but ignorant of the prophecies regarding “the Christ.”
How about Jesus: no immaturity, no self-will, no entitlement, just a total commitment to follow God. More importantly he had a true willingness to give up hope of rescue in the garden, “If thou be willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42). His expectations did not trump the father’s will.
All great men and women of the Bible suffered loss of expectation, self-aggrandizement, entitlement, and narcissism. All saw the true evil of their natural flesh. All gained the mark of a true hero: courage and conviction. A realistic since of value, purpose, destiny, and mostly a true since of being a faithful servant.
Keep your faith, love not your life unto death, and keep looking up. Live by Jesus’ life expectations, “. . . not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Your brother and fellow servant in Christ,
If only we looked as cute as Sadi (in the picture) when we pouted.