I am a sucker for war movies, especially movies that highlight the honor in sacrifice and the heroism of those who fight for our country.
Act of Valor was one of those movies. Granted, it is essentially one long commercial for the Navy but I thought it was pretty good. (It was especially cool that the main characters were active Seals, and not actors. Thing is, you could totally tell they weren’t actors…)
As Christians, we belong to a better story. We have been saved into a story that no Hollywood movie could top (even Passion of the Christ). This story has more intrigue, sacrifice, honor, surprises, and glory than whatever we watch on the big screen. I know this, I affirm it.
But as my mom and I were walking out of the theater (I love that she doesn’t drag me to chick-flicks but will totally see movies like A.O.V), I couldn’t help but wonder how our story topped it. With the emotional ending and epic battle scenes, I could not readily see that my affections were stirred more towards Jesus than the Seal Team. I found myself thinking that I would rather be absorbed in that story rather than the gospel.
I realized that I wanted to be the Hero. I wanted to be in the story where I was the Seal that secured safety for my team and the American People. I wanted to save the day. I wanted to be the honorable self-sacrificing soldier.
However, that is never my place in the story. In reality, I am infected with a disease more devastating and destructive than AIDS or MRSA: sin and corruption. I have been corrupted since conception and ever since have been a dirty rotten little sinner who shakes his fist as the heavens challenging God to battle. Worse than immoral actions, I have offended (really pissed off) this holy God. The battle is within me and I am my own worst enemy.
Therefore Jesus came to the world in human flesh, incarnating into the fallen humanity to seek and save the fist shakers (the lost and religiously self-righteous). Living His whole life here on earth then allowing for Himself to be murdered at the hands of sinful man, Jesus then rose from the dead ultimately conquering over sin, Satan, death, and Hell.
Not only that but God is redeeming everything back to Himself. All creation will again, in the new heavens and new earth, sing praises to the Trinity.
And I have been united with this Christ. He is how I have been brought into this story. All the benefits Christ secured for Himself is automatically given to me: justification, sanctification, election, preservation, sonship, the affection of the Father, ability to participate in the life of the Trinity, ect.
And then He grabbed ahold of my affections and brought me near to Himself, replacing my anemic desires with soul filling God glorying desires. So I no longer hate this God but seek for Him to be my supreme delight, delightfully!
Anyways, I am not the hero of the story. You’re not the hero of the story, you never will be. Jesus is the hero. He is the victor. He has secured victory for those who are united with Him. He has given purpose to suffering, even suffering in throwing ourselves on the grenade to show who the Hero truly is.
What is even better about all this? My participation, co-laboration, in this story is not predicated upon ANY faithfulness within myself. Zero. Jesus is the source. HIS faithfulness guarantees me a spot. HIS perseverance, HIS act, HIS glory, HIS valor secures me, keeps me, draws me, moves me, changes me, into being more like Him and less like me.
Jesus did not simply DO and act of valor. Jesus IS the act of valor, He embodies it.
What are other ways in which you see the story of God being greater than any other Hollywood movie?