A Salute to the Real Heroes of our Time
As I was on my walk this morning it occurred to me that we have misidentified the heroes of our time. The real heroes of today are not the professional athletes, popular actors and actresses or the politicians we favor. It would be good for us to see through the eyes of our God who the real heroes are.
Unfortunately, we tend to champion the people with physical, intellectual or fashionable skills that appeal to our self-connected prejudices that have developed over our lifetime. We must first realize that God never judges by the exterior of people but is concerned with the condition or our hearts. The Lord spoke this truth to Samuel as he prepared to anoint the next king of Israel:
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7).
God was asking Samuel to find the next king of Israel and cautioned him not to judge by the exterior but to look at the heart. We tend to judge people by exterior qualities like their attractiveness, their physical stature, their personal human giftings, wealth, color of skin, size or their basic status among people who judge by the exterior. Such judgment is not in line with how God views us. In the messianic chapter of Isaiah 53 we are given a description of the Messiah when He was to come to earth:
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him( Isa. 53:2, 3).
It’s interesting that God did not put His Son, the Messiah into a handsome, well built, popular body that people would respect. Instead He had “no form or comeliness… no beauty that we should desire Him.” He was not accepted and honored during His earthly life but “despised and rejected by men.”
So, how can we learn this lesson for our own lives? First, we need to understand that the words I have written so far are true. If you still think your heroes are the beautiful people with all the fancy gifts and exterior, then that needs to change. If we want to think the thoughts of God, we are in need of an inner change of the heart so that we can be healed of our natural tendencies and begin to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1). That walk includes “lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2). I know this goes counter to almost all that the world system teaches us and many of you might reject it as religious nonsense but you might want to stop for a minute and look around and see how the world is progressing. It is going one way and God is leading us in another. The world is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket and God wants to lift us up and give us a life worth living.
Peter encourages us to “…not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3, 4). “Gentle and quiet spirit” are not words you hear in movies or commercials on TV but they are words honored by the Lord. The world elevates the exterior but God knows that it is the qualities of the heart that make the difference.
Somehow we need to find a way to understand and live the words of Romans 12:2: “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” If you want to know God’s perfect will for your life and for this earth in general, you must give yourself to Him and let Him transform your way of thinking. Our hearts are naturally deceitful and in need of transformation (Jer. 17:9). That requires not only a personal commitment on your part but also rubbing shoulders with others seeking to change as God directs. We need the encouragement of others with the same desires so that we can change as God directs.
My heroes are the fathers who have not abandoned their sons, daughters or wives, husbands and wives who never give up their marriage commitments and young people who humble themselves and submit to the love or their parents. My heroes are the people who march to a different drummer than the world’s drum. God leads and they follow. Let us give honor where it is due and stop worshipping the people with external qualities but ignore the inner values that help others and change the world.
How we choose as our heroes matches the condition of our hearts. If we elevate the exterior appearance and gifts of others we are simply revealing what is in our own heart. God is concerned with our heart. We need to get it right by turning to Him and letting Him change us from inside out by His redeeming power.