Last night at our Home Group BBQ, it just so happened that down the end of the table where I happened to be sitting there was a vigorous discussion happening about alternate realities. This, at times fiery, discussion debated whether the Bourne Trilogy (Bourne Identity, Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne Supremacy) was a docu-drama based on reality (my contention) or just sheer fantasy based on an alternate reality (everyone else’s contention). Things got particularly heated when we began discussing whether Narnia really existed or was, again, an alternate reality. I can only wonder what sparks would have flown if we had gone into the centuries long debate which has pitted philosopher against philosopher whether Clark Kent (A.K.A. Kal-El) belonged to this reality or some alternate reality. If there’s anything we learn from the story of Kal-El, it’s that you don’t need wings or Red Bull to fly – as long as you continually renew your strength.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
When Lois Lane was asked what she knew about Superman (Kal-El) she stated that he was from the planet Krypton, that he could fly, and he renewed his strength from the Sun. In the docu-drama, Superman Returns, we see Kal-El taking time out from saving people and averting disasters by flying out of earth’s atmosphere and basking in sunlight to renew his strength.
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
We each have different categories of strengths. Each of these strengths need renewing. For example, our physical strength needs hydrating, nourishing, and rest. Our mental strength needs stimulating, instructing, and musing. Our spiritual strength needs to worship, to pray, to meditate on God and His Word.
¶ So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
Second Corinthians 4:16
After discovering that my spine was severely degenerated, I learned that spines need renewing. Sports scientists now teach elite sports people how to care for and renew their spines through proper hydration, active warm-ups, warm-downs, proper stretching, and use of a back roll. I’ve just spent 4 days on my back, largely unable to move, because I have spent too many years ignoring these elements of renewal.
There is of course a more valuable spiritual application in all this talk about alternate realities and back care. Our souls need to be continually renewed. As Kim reminded us all last Sunday, this requires maintenance. But spiritual maintenance, Kim said, was different to regular maintenance – for each time we do spiritual maintenance we grow.
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.
ONE OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL THINGS
One of the beautiful things about what Christ does in a believer is allowing us to see the world the way it actually is (Eph. 1:18). The Scriptures declare that those outside of Christ are blind (2Cor. 4:4). They cannot see the real world – they are virtually living in an alternate reality. While our Home Group BBQ discussed alternate realities last night, we also reflected on the reality that life is short and death is certain, yet so few people prepare for it. While we can get our finances in order, our health care plan in order, too few people take the time to get their souls in order by the daily renewing of their hearts and minds in Christ.
¶ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Even Superman has to take regular time out and renew his strength in the glory of the Sun. Even the True Superman took time out from the demands of a needy world to renew His strength by coming aside to be with His Father (Matthew 14:23). How much more then do we need renewing? While Kal-El renewed his strength from the radiance of the Sun, we renew ours from the radiance of the Son. Like the dripping wet and weary Peter meeting the resurrected Christ for an impromptu fish breakfast on the shores of the Galilee having just unsuccessfully fished all night, his strength was supernaturally renewed by the presence, words, and radiance of Christ. When the ten other disciples struggled to haul their spontaneous catch of fish to shore, it was Peter who then got up renewed from having been with Jesus and at the word of Christ he single-handedly dragged the net of 153 large fish onto the shore.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.
The journey of following Christ is a journey of continual renewal and growth. This is why our goal is not just simply to get people saved but to help people to grow in Christlikeness. In reflecting on these things this week, I read something yesterday that challenged me. “There has never been an easier time to get people saved and yet there has never been a more difficult time to disciple people into committed growing followers of Christ.” This Sunday we will meet together to be renewed. It could be the day when some people realise for the first time that they have been blind and living in a delusion as Christ opens their eyes. And, it should be the day when for those of us whose eyes have already been opened we will see the world a little more clearly because we will, like those seekers from Bethsaida, see Christ a little more clearly.
So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”