Heroes Part 5: Vulnerability
On Sunday 25th August we concluded our 'Heroes' series .
You can listen to the talk by clicking here.
Below is a summary of the talk.
We’re ending our “Heroes” series with the help of Superman! I always thought that in some ways Superman is the least heroic of the superheroes – I mean he’s pretty much invincible and where’s the heroism in that?!? I mean poor old Spiderman gets colds and homework, Batman has no superpowers whatsoever and as for Daredevil he just has heightened senses… and only because he’s blind!
But Superman…. He is (famously) more powerful than a locomotive, can leap tall buildings in a single bound, he has X-Ray vision and he’s impervious to bullets... Not only that but he’s a master of disguise – able to become completely unrecognisable by the simple addition of a pair of glasses and a clumsy demeanour….
I mean, come on, when you have powers like that, if you’re easily the strongest and fastest, how heroic do you need to be?
But Superman of course did have that one weakness didn’t he – that one vulnerability?
Kryptonite! He turned weak and frightened in the presence of Kryptonite. Weak because it took away his powers and frightened because he knew it did!
So here’s my question for you today… What’s your Kryptonite?
Some people are afraid of things like spiders, snakes, even butterflies! For others it might not be something they don’t like but something they really like but which they know is bad for them and they can’t get enough or give it up!
For others it might be that they know God wants them to take a next step, but they’re doubting themselves and they’re just not trusting him!
One such person who doubted his own ability and struggled to trust God, was a man named Gideon, about whom we can read in the book of Judges in the Old Testament part of the bible. You can read Gideon’s story here.
Despite his shaky start, Gideon eventually trusted God and delivered the nation of Israel from the oppression of the Midianites, an enemy who greatly outnumbered Gideon. Gideon was lauded as a hero by the Israelites and they wanted him to rule over them, but Gideon – having learned his lesson – insisted that only God would rule over them. Gideon knew – and had admitted to God in fear and trembling – that he was weak and yet by trusting in God who is immeasurably powerful, Gideon secured the victory.
What battles are you facing? Do you feel that you don’t have the strength to overcome your personal “Kryptonite”?
When faced with Gideon’s fear and self-doubt, God told him to “Go with the strength you have… I am sending you!” and he reminded Gideon that “I will with you.”
The same is true today when God asks us to do something. He is with us and we must go with the strength we have, in the knowledge that when God is with us, the strength we have is more powerful than anything we can ever face.
The same is true of our salvation – as Jesus said to his disciples when they asked how anyone could possibly enter the Kingdom of Heaven: “With man this is impossible but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).
Sometimes we have to willingly accept some vulnerability, as when we have children. We open ourselves up to a whole range of extra vulnerabilities because they are so vulnerable and we feel the weight of that. But God says: “Go in the strength you have. Am I not sending you? I will be with you.”
When we decide to follow Jesus we become vulnerable to people who might mock us – and we willingly put aside some actions/responses that as followers of Jesus we have chosen to put out of our use.
When we become members of the church we make ourselves vulnerable – there is trust involved, there’s commitment involved… we expose ourselves to risk financially, emotionally, time-wise….
It’s important that we recognise our own vulnerabilities. And not to live in denial of them but to admit them, and go about either changing them or accepting them.
One thing’s for sure – not only does God know your vulnerabilities but his enemy the devil does too. In the Superman stories, his arch enemy Lex Luthor didn’t just happen to have Kryptonite lying around did he? Do you think he randomly happened to have it? Of course not! So why did he go to all the trouble of getting it and having it ready for his encounters with Superman? Was it a surprise to him that Kryptonite was exactly what Superman was vulnerable too?
No! Of course he knew very well and that’s why he used it against Superman. Make no mistake – you and God aren’t the only ones who know your vulnerability.
So what is it for you? What’s your Kryptonite? Is it impossible for you to overcome alone? Maybe it is – maybe you’re open to attack in that area and you can’t resist the attack alone. Maybe it feels impossible. But rather than hold back and say you’re not good enough or ready enough…
“Go in the strength you have. Am I not sending you? I will be with you.”
You may not have superpowers but God can overcome”! The bible is full of people who didn’t seem to have what we might think it takes – and they might have thought the same, from Moses, to Gideon, to Paul. And yet they went in the strength they had, trusting that with God they had all they needed.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1. What’s your Kryptonite?
2.Are you putting your trust in God in your battles or fighting them alone?
3.Do you routinely ask for God’s help and thank him when he gives it? If not… try it!
4.What might God be asking you to do? It could be in your personal life, professional life, church life or perhaps a relationship issue with another person or with God himself! Set aside some time alone and in silence and ask God to tell you what he wants you to do.