I saw “Clash of the Titans” tonight. It was guy night with my son, and we enjoyed the action and adventure. What red-blooded man doesn’t dream of standing on a mountain and bravely defeating the Kraken?
When I see a movie like that, I tend to transfer that desire to be a warrior to my spiritual life. I want to strap on my spiritual sword and bravely head out into the face of evil to defeat the enemy in the name of Jesus. It’s a natural desire. In fact, it’s a desire the disciples of Jesus had in Luke 9. A Samaritan village rejected Jesus, and James and John asked the Lord if He wanted them to “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did.” Ah, the all-too-human desire for power and glory!
But Jesus rebuked his disciples that day, and He rejects our desire to be courageous warriors today. You see, victory in God’s kingdom comes through serving. Leadership comes from being the least, and greatness comes through humility. God doesn’t need me to go defeat the enemy, He will do that. He doesn’t need my intellectual prowess or my flexed muscles. He doesn’t need me to dive through the air in slow motion, sword in hand, to kill the monster. Who gets the glory in that scene? Jesus Himself told the disciples on that day, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Even our Lord had His eyes set on victory through service. He said He did not come to be served, but to serve.
Yes, there is a time for courage…the courage to stand our ground when it would be easier to deny our Lord, the courage to live our convictions in a world that would love to see us fall. But the real courage in God’s kingdom is the willingness to humble ourselves, be obedient to the God who will win the victory, and reflect all the glory back to Him. It takes bravery to serve those we don’t particularly like, to love our enemies, to sacrifice our own well-being for that of others.
It takes real courage to serve.