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Spiritual Training Cycle: Examination (wk. 12/13)


On the morning of September 11, 2001, chaos erupted in the World Trade Center towers. The impact of each jet knocked out the power rendering the elevators useless. More than 15,000 people had one mission – walk down the stairs and get out alive. While they were walking down, they began to pass another group walking up. New York City firefighters had one mission – help everyone get out. Even though I wasn’t there, I know everyone going up those stairs were more than first responders – they were heroes.


I’m going to make a very bold statement about you and then I’m going to prove it. You’re a hero. You are. You may not be walking up a flight of stairs in a life-or-death situation, but that doesn’t make you any less of a hero. There are four things every hero needs to do. And when you realize you do all the same things, I hope you’ll receive your title of hero and use it to change the world.


Hero Move # 1 // Heroes cultivate peace

Anyone can bring more chaos to a situation. That’s easy. But heroes don’t go that route. They look for ways to cultivate peace. You can have the last word, or you can let it go. You can topple somebody with your words, or you can speak life into them. You can rant on social media about how terrible the world is, or you can get involved and make a difference. Spiritual strength gives you the capacity to do great things. So be a hero and use your strength to cultivate peace.


Hero Move # 2 // Heroes have a journey

I don’t think there’s any greater hero than Jesus. And Jesus had a journey. It’s a journey every hero must embark upon, including you. It begins with suffering. No pain in your life is wasted – unless you waste it. Think about exercise. All great workouts start with suffering. Suffering creates the tension where you decide if you’re going to press on or not. And when you do, suffering produces perseverance. Jesus persevered. Persevering through suffering changes the very nature of who you are. It shapes your character. And once you realize you can do difficult things, you now have hope that you’ll do the same in the future. That’s the hero journey:

Suffering ➞ Perseverance  ➞ Character  ➞ Hope

It’s not about having what it takes to fix your life. It’s your hope in Jesus that because He persevered, you can too.


Hero Move # 3 // Heroes must sacrifice

Don’t make the mistake of equating suffering with sacrifice. They’re not the same. Sacrifice is the willingness to let go of something of significant value for something of greater good. Jesus sacrificed His life for the greater good of humanity. Anyone can sacrifice ten minutes of their time or five dollars for a homeless person. Heroes make ultimate sacrifices. They give up their addictions. They give away their obsessions. They love their enemies. The pray for those who persecute them. You are a hero – which means you will have to sacrifice.


Hero Move # 4 // Heroes do the impossible

I’ve had the chance to meet some of the worlds’ strongest men, including Brian Shaw. Standing 6’8” and weighing in at over 400 pounds, Shaw is a presence unlike any other. Although he has won numerous titles and set all kinds of world records, I am most captivated by his atlas stone record. Shaw picked up a 555-pound stone and threw it over a four foot platform. That’s right, threw it. Impossible? Maybe for you and I but not for Brian Shaw. He’s a strongman hero!


It's not that heroes do the impossible. It’s that they make the impossible possible by operating in the strength they have. Jesus did the impossible. He defeated death. Talk about the ultimate feat of strength. And our faith in Him also makes the impossible possible, which is reconciliation with God. As a hero, people may think it’s impossible for you to forgive someone for what they did to you. That’s it’s impossible to praise God when you get your diagnosis. That it’s impossible for you to be filled with joy in the middle of your storm. But you’re a hero. By the power of God’s Spirit, show the world that the impossible is possible.


Questions for Reflection:

Who are some of the heroes in your life?


Of the four things heroes do (cultivate peace, have a journey, make sacrifices, do the impossible), which one is God calling you to do?

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