When my children were little, they daily dressed up in costumes as super heroes in order to conquer the world that day. My son was always the strongest super hero and his sister was his weaker side-kick. One day while we were walking downtown, I discovered that my four year old super-hero’s strength was more than I realized. He suddenly decided to make me the “bad guy” and gave me his famous Power Ranger karate kick. Down I went! He hit right on a small piece of my ankle bone and chipped it off. Who would know that my four year old son contained such strength!
As believers, we often feel we must be a spiritual super-hero: always strong, handling every difficulty with perfect peace, wisdom, patience, and love. We need to serve everyone no matter how we feel and what we are actually skilled or burdened to do. We must not cry, be afraid, or struggle in any way. We think we should have a Bible verse for every question, a comforting and wise word for every problem, ability to do everything well to help spread the gospel, and unnerving boldness and bravery in serving God. Do you relate to any of these beliefs?
However, the apostle Paul described quite a different scenario about himself. “When I come to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:1-3). Wow, this does not sound like a super-hero!
So what about Paul makes him a hero of the faith? The answer is found in the same confession about his weaknesses. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). True heroes of the faith are ones who are totally dependent on God’s power and are obedient to God’s calling and Word no matter what the cost. They lead others to have faith in God’s love, power and grace, rather than depend on their love and abilities. When we are helped by this kind of person, we walk away marveling and praising Jesus!