I love super heroes. Ever since I was a kid, the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Hulk have turned my head. I remember wishing I could fly or deflect bullets or, well, do what the super heroes do.
As an adult, my newest fave has been Iron Man. Now, it doesn’t hurt that Robert Downey Jr. is easy to look at. But, it’s more than that. I love the action. I love that he always wins. I love that, even if he’s hurt badly, somehow he always manages to pull out a victory and save the day. And, I love that Marvel keeps putting Iron Man movies out. Just to make life sweeter, they also make Avenger movies. Iron Man. The Hulk. Captain America. Thor. What’s not to love???
Okay, back to Iron Man. In case you’re not familiar with him, let me give you the brief Iron Man synopsis. Tony Stark was a genius. He used his genius to invent weapons, then sell them to the highest bidder. That made him fabulously wealthy. He didn’t care that the bad guys were buying his weapons, he only cared that he was getting richer. That attitude permeated every part of his life. His weapons business found him in Afghanistan promoting a new super weapon. Unfortunately, his vehicle was bombed and he was taken captive. He had a chest full of shrapnel and was being kept alive by a device hooked to a car battery. His captors wanted him to build a weapon for them, but instead he built a super suit and used it to escape. Once home, he found a power source for his new heart protection and set about perfecting it and his super suit. He quit selling weapons and began to use his genius for good. Thus was born Iron Man. At the end of the first movie, he decided he couldn’t hold his secret any longer and announced on national TV, “I am Iron Man.”
As I was praying for a friend this morning, my prayer was specifically for God to strengthen her, to give her courage and confidence. In my mind’s eye, I could see Him literally wrapping His strength around her, much like armor. Yes, I quickly made the Iron Man link in my head! He reminded me that what Tony Stark inventions do for him, God does for us. Now, before you laugh at me (or after), just go with it for a minute.
In the Old Testament, we read, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Jeremiah 24:7 says, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” Now, all this tells me we have a heart problem. We often hear the term, “give your heart to Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. “ Ah….see! We get a new heart! Just like Iron Man! Okay, not exactly, but you get my point.
Now, God knew our “new person” was going to need some extra protection. You see, after Tony Stark found a new power source for his new heart gadget, it was highly sought after and the folks who wanted it wouldn’t mind killing Tony to get it. So, his Iron Man suit helped keep him alive. In the same way, the enemy of our souls doesn’t want us to live in peace, he doesn’t want us to make it to heaven, he wants to destroy us. And even when satan isn’t trying to destroy us, we seem to do a pretty good job of it ourselves.
You know, life is hard. I know that there are those who believe it’s only hard when we make it hard, but I have to disagree. 2 Timothy 3:1 says, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” James 1:2 says, “ Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” Even Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Notice, none of these say “if.” So, we know life will have difficulties. It will be hard. It will hurt.
But, God. (My two favorite words!) But, God has prepared the provision. He has made a way. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 See. Armor of God. Like Iron Man!
The Word also says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2. Because, just like Iron Man, we’re going to need to do good things with our new hearts. God has a purpose and a plan for us. He didn’t just create us and then leave us to our own devices. The New Testament writers constantly urge us to reach out to other people, to minister, to love. The only way we can love the unlovely is if we have Jesus in us and we’re using our God-given armor to protect ourselves. Otherwise, we’re going to be too wounded to help anyone else.
So. How are you today? Are you feeling like a nobody or a super hero? Because, I came here to tell you today, (as the Church of God preachers like to say) that, if you have Jesus, then you are a super hero! Don’t feel like it? That doesn’t matter! Just tap into the power and protection that God has for you and use it for good! Say it with me, “I am Iron Man.” (or “Iron Woman” if that makes you feel better.)
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!