Shazam! The movie where a boy-turned- superhero battles against the spiritual beings that personify the seven deadly sins. Interesting concept. Don’t we all want to be the kid that fights and wins against darkness and evil?
The world of entertainment, whether books, videos, or games, is laden with supernatural themes and characters. We have the comic book heroes. We have the fantasy heroes. We have the sci-fi genre. Wait! We even have the action movies where our favourite character does things on screen that are clearly not physically possible. Ten bad guys shooting machine guns miss while the hero, with a handgun, turns and pops each one off with a single shot. One of the Fast & Furious movies had a runway scene that was so long that the runway itself would have to be 42 km long! But we love the action, we love the suspense, and we love the rush!
WHY? WHY IS THERE SUCH AN INFATUATION WITH THE SUPERNATURAL IN OUR WORLD?
Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, “…He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (NLT)
First, we are wired for the eternal. We are wired for the spiritual. We are wired for the supernatural. God never intended for us to have lives restricted to just a natural system. God walked with Adam in the garden. That connection was lost because of sin. Jesus restored that connection. Now, as believers, God does not simply walk with us. He dwells within us by His Holy Spirit! This is the connection we were made to have.
Second, I think people, Christians included, are bored. Life in the first century Church was not boring in any way! God was on the move, people’s lives were being transformed in masses. The Gospel was being preached and there was risk, danger, and thrill. It’s far too easy for us as western world Christians to settle into a mundane spiritual life. We read our Bibles. We pray. We go to Church. And we just do life. Were we not made for more than this? So we seek out the thrill by vicariously living through the heroes we watch, read about, or pretend to be in video games. We get our adrenaline rush there and tell ourselves we are satisfied.
The world and Christians alike go after these supernatural genres because we long for more. And so we should. We should long to see God moving through us in witnessing. We should long for God’s power to invade people’s lives and transform them. We should long to see Jesus glorified in His Church and in the world.
A Christian has a conversation with a friend and, while sharing his faith, tells a story of God doing something supernatural in his life. “My wife was sick with a fever. I prayed for her and within an hour the fever was gone and she had all her energy back! God healed her.” The look of skepticism is clear, followed by, “Cool. If that’s what you believe.”
WHY? WHY ARE PEOPLE ENAMOURED WITH THE SUPERNATURAL YET SKEPTICAL ABOUT JESUS AND HIS POWER TO CHANGE LIVES AND SITUATIONS?
First, the supernatural is compart- mentalized. Many people may enjoy supernaturally based movies, books, and games but they don’t actually believe in their reality. There is a conflicting internal desire and denial. Desire because they’re wired for the supernatural and in some way want it to be real. Denial because to believe it will change a person’s life and not just keep it as entertainment in one of life’s boxes.
Second, to acknowledge the power of Jesus has personal implications. If someone believes that Jesus is alive today and still does supernatural things he must also face the question of what Jesus wants to do in his life. It goes something like this, “If I believe that Jesus is alive then I have to face the fact that He died and rose again for me. If that’s true then I have to face the fact that Jesus truly is Lord and now I’m faced with surrendering my life to Him. I don’t really want to do that. So if I deny the supernatural, I don’t have to deal with it.”
THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS IS THE REAL ISSUE.
People can believe in angels. Many do. However, there is no accountability, no lordship there. There is just spiritual activity.
People can believe in demonic forces. Many do. However, there is the belief that their own human will can keep them safe. It’s just spiritual activity that they can engage in or avoid.
People can believe in new age concepts—reincarnation, yin/yang, chi, spiritual force and balance. However, there is no accountability, no lordship there. They are just ways one can navigate their own spiritual path.
The world needs to know that Jesus is real. The Church needs to know the real Jesus. He is powerful. He is Lord of all. He is actively working in the lives of people today. He is more powerful than any and all the superheroes combined! He is the only real superhero. He rescued us from the dominion of darkness and the slavery of sin. He conquered death. He provided forgiveness and eternal life. He gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us in life. The list goes on and on.
THE NEXT TIME YOU READ A BOOK, WATCH A MOVIE, OR PLAY A GAME, COMPARE YOUR HERO TO JESUS. WHO COMES OUT ON TOP?
Can these books, movies, and games be used as a reminder of our heart’s longing for a supernatural life? Maybe the next time you watch a movie with a friend you can tell him about the One who bested death. He might respond with skepticism at first. But perhaps God wants to show Himself to that person in a very real, supernatural way. Pray for him.
Pray for yourself. Get out of spiritual boredom. Present yourself as available for God’s power to work through. Ephesians 1:17-23 speaks of how God wants us to know and understand his power that is for us as believers — the power He used to raise Christ from the dead.
Maybe you are a Superhero sidekick! The Sam in Frodo’s world. The Robin in Batman’s world. Part of the team. A Christ-ian.