In the movie Braveheart, there is at least one scene where a battle is about to take place and the peasants who have banded together against the oppressive nobility don’t just charge recklessly, but hold their attack patiently. Braveheart commands powerfully, “HOLD…HOLD…HOLD…” as they anxiously await the start of the battle and see their opponents drawing steadily nearer. While they are armed and ready, they resist firing their arrows and other weaponry too hastily, but wait until their enemy is close enough for impact. In a similar story line, the children who journeyed into Narnia and eventually found themselves in battle against the white witch were given gifts from Father Christmas to use in their time of need. Among the gifts, Susan received a magical horn to blow when she was in urgent need of help and Lucy received a healing cordial from which only a small drop can revive the most fatally injured. In both cases, they were to reserve their use of these until absolutely necessary.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
The most powerful lie that won’t be silenced in the human heart is the notion that, in fact, “I am my own.” Satan essentially convinced Adam and Eve of this as he persuaded them to look out for their own interest, not to be taken advantage of by God and build their own kingdom. The lie was that belonging to God diminished human value and that real value would be attainable through individual power, control and self-reliance. The inherent flaw in this proposition is that in order to secure individual value, value must be taken from others, which ultimately diminishes the value of all. On my own, I must look out for myself first and foremost, eat or be eaten, and in the end, have such a limited and volatile value based merely on my personal accomplishment, so that intrinsically, no value exists at all.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. Gen. 9:6
Being made in God’s image is what gives immeasurable value and significance to a life, not the powerful use of sword, brains or personality. I am not my own, and this is actually a very good thing for my value, worth and significance, contrary to the persuasion of the serpent. God’s image as my value means that unlike the stock market, my worth doesn’t rise and fall from day to day but holds at untouchable heights. But I am still too easily lured by this orphan philosophy. My thinking is that God gave me this horn (if I were Susan in Narnia, that is) and He surely didn’t mean for it to just sit in my closet so I better use it! And rather than use it for the rescue of many in battle, I blow it just be heard and seen, in the meantime driving people crazy with the loud and abrasive sound of something like a boat horn that was never intended as a musical instrument. Unlike the warriors in Braveheart, I am so eager to be valiant in battle that I would go running out prematurely, endangering the whole mission not to mention the lives precariously placed on the front lines of the battlefield.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph. 4:15-16
He has equipped me to participate in the health and strength of the Body of Jesus for the end not of glorifying my particular body part but to help the whole body grow in love. A hand or an elbow or a foot cannot simply look out for itself, put itself front and center all the time, and expect the whole body to race efficiently, work productively and function cohesively. When I come to realize that I am not my own, I can better trust the leadership’s command to “HOLD…HOLD…HOLD…” my use of my horn, sword or whatever skill I bring for the sake of the body and not just my own recognition.
This is an issue of trust for me in this season of being home all the time, having no real role outside of my home nor sense of truly exercising what seem to be my gifts and talents in a tangible or satisfying way. So, when I buy into the serpent’s lie, I become anxious trying to figure out how to make my own opportunities for these activities. I begin to believe that I must force myself out there if I am not to waste what has been given me. I forget that the One who distributed the tools will call upon them at just the time He needs them, no sooner and also, no later. I forget that my strong personality was not given to run people off the road just because I can bully others and smile and wave while I’m doing it (I just might have come up with that example from real life this past weekend, but we don’t need to dwell on that) but probably has a far more rare use, like that emergency horn, which is only needed for serious battle not everyday self-promotion.
Its hard to stand back, to wait, to “hold”, especially when you’ve got the blue body paint on and you’re heart is pulsing and adrenaline rushing. Its frustrating not to know when my number is going to be called, when the moment is going to arrive and how to be patient or content in the waiting. But it is far more vexing, far more maddening, far more explosive when I buy into the notion that I am my own, if I want something I must grab for it and that the end goal is my own dominion rather than God’s. It would surely help if I began to truly see that my power, leadership or other particular gifts and talents exist not only to protect others but to help others to thrive rather than my more natural tendency to use them against others to ensure my own superiority at everyone else’s expense.
It is at this point that I hear Paul pleading, “OH who will save me from this body of death?!” It seems absolutely impossible for me to ever to get to a place where I truly care more about the interests of others than of myself. It seems totally unrealistic to expect I will ever genuinely delight in the praise and elevation of others around me more than my own domination, superiority and glory. And it seems this way because it is impossible for me. I cannot take a self-centered, naval gazing, egocentric heart and flip it outward. But that is just the very thing that He promised to do back in the Garden, has been committed to throughout biblical redemptive history, made possible through the person and work of Jesus and will complete in His perfect timing. Now all I must do is “Hold…HOLD…HOLD!…”
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27