Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Beware of Christian Kryptonite

Dear Friends,

It’s a bird..It’s a Plane..It’s Superman! I loved that old black and white tv show as a kid and more than anything else, I wanted to be like Superman when I grew up. While Sunday School flannel boards were teaching me the biblical stories, Superman was teaching me Christian behavior and values. Using his superpowers to help others, Superman fought for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” I practiced my flying at an early age. Jumping off the back of the couch with a little blue blanket around my neck like a cape, I could fly the entire three feet until I hit the floor. 

Superman had been given incredible powers: superhuman strength, superhearing and of course the very cool “x-ray” vision. And his powers were never used for his own selfish needs. They were only to be used to help others. Strong Judeo-Christian elements are woven through the Superman story. His birth name was Kay-El, Hebrew for “Voice of God.” His back story is the story of Moses and Superman is an analogy of the Messiah - Jesus Christ - sent to earth as a Savior of humanity.

But alas, unlike Jesus, Superman had a nemesis. Something that could strip away his superpowers and leave the Man of Steel weak and helpless. That one thing that could destroy Superman was the green, glowing crystal called Kryptonite.

As a child, more than anything, I wanted to have superpowers so that I could help others, and it was many years later that God answered those prayers. I never received superhuman powers but did receive supernatural powers. I still can’t fly but I can use my supernatural powers for the good of others. (May God forgive me when I don’t)  And, I’ve learned that I need to watch out for the Kryptonite.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we receive the whole Triune package: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. When we subsequently receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we receive one or more of the spiritual gifts that Paul lists in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. Perhaps we are given words of Wisdom or Knowledge. A gift of Faith or Healings. The working of Miracles or Prophecy or the gift of Discernment of Spirits. Maybe even Tongues or the ability to Interpret Tongues of others. But none are given for our own use. The New Living Translation probably says it best: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” (Verse 7)

When the Holy Spirit activates these gifts - our “superpowers” - God desires that they flow strongly within us and are always used for His purposes: for the good of others. That’s why we need to watch out for the Kryptonite

The early church called them the “SEVEN DEADLY SINS” and they will indeed deaden your ministry to others, rob you of your supernatural gifts and weaken you to the point of depression, discouragement, despondency and despair.

Our Christian Kryptonite is one or more of those seven sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Wrath is our uncontrolled anger that leads to self-destructive bitterness and unforgiveness of others. Greed is the pursuit of material things. We laugh and call it “shopping therapy;” God calls it “sin.” Sloth is more than just physical laziness, it’s spiritual laziness. And Sloth is anytime we fail to do what God wants us to do. When we don’t use our gifts of the Holy Spirit for others, we are practicing the sin of Sloth. Pride is the deadliest of the seven. Pride caused Lucifer to fall from Heaven and become Satan. Our Pride delivers us into his hands. Lust is an intense, ungodly desire for anything that is spiritually unhealthy for us to have. Envy is biblically defined as the feeling of discontent towards that which is possessed by others. Be thankful to God for the blessings He has given you. Envy is coveting what He has given to others. Gluttony is a selfish and unhealthy overindulgence. Whether food or drink, we thoughtlessly consume and ignore the needs of others in our world who are starving and thirsty. 

Identify the gifts that the Holy Spirit has activated within you. Then use those spiritual “superpowers” wisely for the good of others. And if you ever start feeling flattened by life and spiritually weak, look deep within and check yourself for the deadly presence of Kryptonite. Amen?

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