Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Beware The 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 powers 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. After I “flew” off a high-top dresser, my mom made my dad lock up the ladder with a chain so that I couldn’t get up on the roof. 

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.” The creators of Superman in 1930 were inspired by Samson, the strongest man in the world and Moses, who freed and saved the Israelites. Superman is an analogy of the Messiah - Jesus Christ - sent to earth as a Savior of humanity.

But alas, unlike Jesus Christ, 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 – my God-given gifts – 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 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.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 When the Holy Spirit activates these gifts - our “superpowers” - God desires that they flow strongly within us and that they 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 may even 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 the Enemy’s hands. We think of Lust in the context of sexual desire but it is actually an intense, ungodly desire for anything that is spiritually unhealthy for us to have. Envy is biblically defined as the feeling of any discontent towards that which is possessed by others. Envy is coveting what He has given to others. Be thankful to God for the blessings He has given you. Gluttony is an unhealthy overindulgence with food and drink. Sadly it is the only sin accepted by the church. A 2006 study showed that Christian men and women were more likely to be overweight than non-Christians. The study found that Christian women who were Baptist or Black or married had a significantly higher BMI than the general population and far more likely to be obese. 

We all sin daily in thought, word and deed and all fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 but we don’t give place to those sins and quench our “superpowers.” We pick ourselves up, confess our sins and constantly strive to live our lives according to His will for us.

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

1 comment: