“Holding out for a Hero”

I used to think Bonnie Tyler had it just about exactly right.

In fact, for my first anything-like-serious boyfriend, I played this song for him,

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed? . .

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight . .
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life . .

Somewhere just beyond my reach
There’s someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder . .
It’s gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet

Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I would swear that there’s someone somewhere
Watching me

Through the wind and the chill and the rain
And the storm and the flood
I can feel his approach . .

There is something about this song that nearly every girl would react to.  Whether in scorn or applause, we do seem to hold to the idea Bonnie captured in her song, even if only until our dreams are shattered or twisted.

We need a hero.  We want a man who can come through for us, who gives everything he has to find us, who pursues us to the highest tower or the darkest dungeon, who rescues us from the shame and fear and even boredom of our lives, who rides off with us in the sunset.

Now just about every girl I know has figured out they haven’t found that man.

They might be married, they might be divorced, they might be single, they might be widowed, or they might be living with someone, but whoever they are, wherever they are, unless they are in the delusional first dip of falling-in-love, they know they have not found that man.

What happens after that is a sorry story.  It’s called a lonely life, and it’s the fate of every woman holding out for the hero she cannot find.

Every girl I know has had it at some point: the dream of walking down the aisle with the man of her dreams who will protect her, care for her, sacrifice for her, and most of all be totally and utterly devoted to her from everlasting to everlasting.

Do you see a problem here?

Really, there’s two, and both are explained in Genesis 3:16b,

“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (God, Genesis 3:16b, NIV)

The two problems

  • We want to find a god of a man.
  • We want to be a goddess of a woman.

We are looking for a lover who can be our god.  Look back at Bonnie Tyler’s song.  Do you see what her first words are?

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?

How interesting.  Where are all the gods?  Where are all the gods?

It seems to me that many of us girls fall in love, sleep with someone, do terribly degrading things with our bodies, and/or marry because we are looking for our god.  Where is our god?  The question is all around us.  Where is our god? 

In America, there is a popular answer to that question: nowhere.  Although many women every day still believe the reality that they have found their god–and many of them do wretchedly humiliating things in their worship of this god–probably even more women realize on that day that they have not found their god . .and resent that they are not being treated as the goddess they had in mind.

And we’ve switched to the second part of what we really want as girls, to be a goddess.

Did Eve desire Adam because she wanted him to be her god or because she wanted to be the goddess over him, or both?  I don’t know.  But I do know that, ever since Eve misguided her husband into eating sin, and her husband figuratively threw her to the dogs during his talk with God afterwards, the relationships between men and women has been a ricocheting teeter-totter of women who treat men like gods and women who treat themselves like goddesses.

We see the one clearly in women who tolerate or even encourage abuse from their husbands/lovers.  Why would any woman ever want to marry a man who beats her?  Only because she thinks of him as her god.  She wants a god to worship.  She wants a god to worship, and she wants it so much that she’s willing to give up her dignity, rights, and even well-being to stay with him.

We see the other clearly in women who thrive as regal divas with men who kiss their feet, or women who tirade as vicious slave-drivers with men who kowtow at their feet.  Why would any woman ever want to capture a husband for herself through her looks or by manipulation or force?  Only because she thinks of herself as a goddess.  She wants to be a goddess that he worships.  She wants to be a goddess that he worships, and she she wants it so much that she’s willing to give up her compassion, gentleness, and even womanhood to keep her self-proclaimed identity.

Now, it was fairly easy to write about these two stereotypes–until I start thinking about myself.  Sure, we can think of the most extreme examples of women we know who have made gods of men or turned themselves into goddesses.  But . . what about us?  What about me?  Have I ever done that?

Guilty, on both accounts.  Surely.  I have held out for that hero, for both reasons.  I have treated men like gods and I have exalted myself as a goddess.  It is so easy for me to teeter-totter to one of the two; it’s so natural.  That’s because I am Eve’s daughter.  I’ve got the same sin nature that she put on when she accepted lies as truth.

Even though I still fall into my old habits of either making gods out of men or a goddess out of myself . . something has changed for me now.  I am no longer holding out for a hero.

I’ve found mine.

No, I didn’t find a god.  I found God.

The truth is, girls, there is no man on earth who will ever meet your M.O. of what you want most.  No man can ever give you what you seek, because what you seek is a from everlasting to everlasting GOD, and there is only one God, and He does not share His Godhood with men.

However . .

One Person of God did become Man.  He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (from John 1:14, ESV).  He came not to make men gods or women goddesses, but to save us from the sin that has resulted from us wanting these things.

Eve wanted to be like God, and found that, in the process of trying to become Him (which is how Satan fell, and the same way he incited Eve to sin), she became like Satan.  In the very act of trying to become a goddess, she became a sataness–not what she had planned.  Even as she cut herself off from God, she cut herself off from Adam–from his respect for her, his love for her, and his loyalty to her.  She didn’t realize what she was doing.

If things had stayed right there, it would have been unbearably grim for us girls.  We would have had no one–no God and no man to love us.  Eve didn’t realize that Adam couldn’t love her without borrowing from the love of God and that, when he cut himself off from the love of God by his sin, he cut himself off from his love for her, too.

But, thank God, He did not leave the story there.  Eve didn’t die without her husband, or without God.  God reconciled her to her husband by promising that a Deliverer would come from her offspring.  The only way that promise could have been brought about was if Adam slept with Eve.  Did you ever realize that God chose Jesus to come to earth in the one, exact way that would only be fulfilled if Adam took Eve back as his lover, even after she had misguided him?  What an incredible, astonishing, delightful grace from God!

Had Jesus come down as a full-grown Man from the clouds of Heaven–which He could have certainly done–or had He simply appeared one day walking the earth–which He could have certainly done, too–Eve would have never had the opportunity to be reconciled to Adam.

Although we, like Bonnie Tyler in her song, often think of the reconciliation of ourselves to a man as our deepest longing . . it really isn’t.

Even though God graciously gave Eve back Adam to love her, Adam was still a mess.  Adam still got crabby, still disappointed her sometimes, still left his dirty dishes in the sink for her to wash (well . . or something like that).

But even if Adam had been perfect, even if Eve had been perfect, it wouldn’t have been possible without the perfection of God.  Just like a lake can’t exist without water, in the same way love, loyalty, truth, joy, and delight (all the things that make up perfection) can’t exist without God.  Eve still needed a hero.  She still needed God back in her life.

And that was what God’s promise to her was all about.  The Deliverer would be her Hero.  A baby from her own body would one day be the great-great-great-great . . grandfather of Mary, Jesus Christ’s mother.  In a sense, the Deliverer would come from Eve.  Do you see the miraculous grace and awe-shocking beauty of Christ Jesus?  He chose to redeem Eve by coming through the womb of one of her daughters.  Miraculous.  Awe-stunning.  Grace!  Beauty!

This is the kind of thing I want to hear songs about, not about searching for men who will never be my god or about representing myself as a false goddess.  I just want to be a daughter of Jesus.  I don’t care about goddesses or gods.  Those ideas are old trash, and they should have gotten thrown-away in the wastebin of Eden after they brought Eve to the raw nakedness, aghast exposure, crushing humiliation, and horrific loneliness of sin.

I do want to say something that’s a side note, but a very important side note.

You don’t have to feel like you are giving up your little-girl dreams of romance by giving up your fantasies of finding a god to marry.  First of all, God is the source of love, and there is more than enough love to quench the longing in your heart for a god.  He is the God.  It’s the difference between trying to catch the drips of water from a broken-down faucet (looking for God in man) and white-river rafting at Niagra Falls.

God’s love is way bigger, way better, and way deeper.

Because men are made in God’s image, even in their fallen state they are able to drip love; but remember that they get those drops from the waterfall of God’s love.  He’s the source, and knowing Him really is enough.  (So there’s no misunderstanding, women are also made in the image of God, but that wasn’t part of the point I was making so I said men were.)

Giving up your idea of finding a god or becoming a goddess doesn’t mean that romance with a man is less in a Christian’s life.  Actually, romance is more.  As a Christian, I learned that I needed to shrink my idea of romance to a man-sized expectation, not a god-sized expectation.  The amazing thing about that is, when I was single and had no one, it made dating not so important, smaller . . but when I found the man I fell in love with, it made my romantic life bigger.  Way bigger.  This is because when we exalt God as God and dethrone other gods in our life, God fills us with His love.

I wouldn’t want to be single for the rest of my life, and I really never did want to be single.  But if I go to the grave having never married, my life will only be less fulfilled if I allow a man to take the place of God in my life.  Whatever God has for my life, that becomes deeper and bigger and sweeter because it’s grown in God’s garden.  He’s grown my romance for Ben deeper and bigger and sweeter because Ben is the man I’m in love with–not the god.

But if I didn’t have Ben, God would grow other loves in my life deeper and bigger and sweeter.  That doesn’t mean there’s not a grief when we’re single.  God’s plan in Eden was for every man to have a woman and every woman to have a man.  When Eve chose to become her own goddess, she never realized she was giving some of her daughters a life without an Adam of their own.

What a relief it is to know that God has worked in spite of our downfall.  And as Christians in a fallen world, we have the freedom to choose to stay single or to be married to Christians.  And what a relief to know that if we lose the man we love–through unfaithfulness or abandonment or betrayal or divorce or death or whatever may be the case–we haven’t lost our Hero.  God is still here.

So, girls, here’s my final thought.  Hold out for a hero, yes, but hold out for the real One.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (God, talking to the serpent/Satan, Genesis 3:15, NIV)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20, NIV)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. (Ephesians 1:3-11, NLT)

For He [GOD] rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14, NASB)

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Day 20: Not too far gone . . yet

I admit it: sometimes I look at the state of our nation and I feel as though it’s nearly hopeless.  Sometimes I feel like it’s Christians, 1 . . Christian-Haters, 460.  Even among “Christians”, there is a disheartening lack of focus, motivation, and even interest.  It’s as if we’ve fallen asleep and we don’t know how to wake up.

Part of the problem is that many “Christians” don’t care much what they believe, or understand it.  They simply have a vague idea that God is good, and they’d like to be on His side.  They have no transfer of this to their daily life, other than what morality they personally prefer.  If they want to gossip about a friend, watch a God-hating movie, cheat on their taxes, lord over their family, download a movie illegally, use foul language, spend their money on luxuries, watch television instead of reaching out to the hurting world, tell small lies, practice immoral sexual behavior, or engage in unholy fantasies, they’ll do it.  The connection between obeying whatever God says and being a Christian is lost.  It’s like it doesn’t even matter anymore.  I know this because I have been this kind of alleged “Christian.”  I was dead or nearly dead to what God wanted for my life.

Part of the problem is that even real Christians, who really do know Jesus, often live in such a long-distance relationship with Him that they can scarcely ever hear Him.  They act mostly as anybody else acts.  They aren’t kinder to their children, more loving to their spouse, more thoughtful to their friends, or more caring to stranger.  They rarely open God’s Word, or satisfy themselves with 5-minute devotions that might have a verse or two of Scripture thrown in, and they think about the upcoming week instead of the sermon while they’re at church.  It’s easy, so easy to backslide, especially when things are pretty good on the outside.  We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and entertainment showers down on us and parades past us and even digs holes for us to fall in at nearly every angle.

Here in America, we are in desperate, horrid straits.  If it weren’t for the revelation of God in my life, I would have never seen it.  I was like many so-called “Christians” who lived with the moral commands from Scripture I wanted and without the ones I didn’t want (or didn’t even know were there because I rarely even read Scripture).

Even real Christians are often afraid to expose ourselves to God.  We are afraid of change–afraid we’ll have to do something bold like witness to a neighbor, stop badmouthing our coworkers, sell our sports car, reconcile with our children, or spend less time watching football games and more time in real war, the war of Christ vs. Satan.

I’ve heard that, as Christians, we already know God won, and that is exactly right.  We do already know that God has won the war.  The prophecy in Revelation reveals Jesus as the King, Victor, and Redeemer of all who believed in Him–and Judge of all who didn’t.

But that doesn’t mean we give up daily battles!!

If I knew the outcome of a war, and I was marching out, I wouldn’t want to stop fighting and lose the battle because I knew my side would win the war!  On the contrary, I’d have even more strength and bravery to fight!

This is exactly what happened to Joshua, Gideon, David, and others in the Old Testament.  They fought bolder because God revealed to them that they would win.

I have to wonder what is going on when we sit back in our Lazy-Boy of spirituality, fully content that we are saved, to recline and watch idly as other Christians around the world go to war for the sake of Jesus and fight for the freedom of our brothers and sisters of Adam’s race who have been captured and tortured by Satan and don’t even know they’re behind enemy lines.

Recliners and wars don’t match.  I don’t remember any scene in The Lord of the Rings where anyone sat in a recliner.

“Is that Mount Doom over there?” Frodo asks.

And Sam answers, “Why, yes, Mr. Frodo.  But look at this lovely chair Gollum made for us last night while you were asleep.  Wouldn’t you like to sit in it for a bit?  I think it’s safe.  The orcs are still pretty far away over there on that hill.”

In fact, I don’t remember any scene in any war movie where the characters asked for a time-out and sat down in a recliner to have a little nap.

We are at war, Christians.  We are at war.  Not with the people of this world, no matter how evil they might be, but with Satan and his army of demons!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

This is not something we are to take “passively”, as Tedashii says in his song Make War.

If we are not engaged in the rescue mission–then what are we doing?  How can we call ourselves Christians if we won’t follow the Christ of Christianity into war against Satan?  How?  That would be no different than if we called ourselves soldiers in the Union Army–and never went to battle in the Civil War!

Today’s mission in focus is those who make war against the enemy of this world.  Our pastors, teachers, missionaries, and apologists are out on the battle lines, and their swords are drawn.  They fight for Jesus Christ, and we should not abandon them to fight alone.  As Christians, we must raise up our swords of God’s Spirit, and we must go to war to destroy every deceitful philosophy that holds our brothers and sisters as prey to Satan’s attacks.

How can we enlist in the war?  If you know Jesus Christ–if you believe in Him as the Son of God and receive His atoning sacrifice as the payment for your wickedness–you are enlisted.  Now is the time to fight.  Here are a few suggestions for how we can go out on the battlefield instead of waiting in a recliner on the sidelines.

  • Join a small group at your church.  If you’ve already been a part of a small group, pray and ask God if He wants you to start one for unbelievers or to encourage Christians.
  • When your church has a need for a position to be filled, pray for how God would have you answer or that He would raise up someone to fill that position.
  • When mission opportunities arise from your church (like chances to give to world missions, help out at a homeless shelter, fund a school book fair, go on a mission trip, invite a friend to church, buy presents for foster children, or send out cards to visitors), pray for how God would have you answer.
  • Take initiative to support missionaries and mission projects.  Ask God to show you what He wants you to be a part of and what He wants you to donate to.
  • Study apologetics and read books from trustworthy Christian authors.  Ask God for wisdom so that you can help bring the lost to His Kingdom.
  • Most of all, read God’s Word every day.  God promises that in Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (from Colossians 2:3)

Apologetics resources:

Answers in Genesis, AiG

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, RZIM

It’s time to make war–not against people, and certainly not a physical war.  It’s time to make spiritual war against Satan and his lies.

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:10b-18, NLT)

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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