Being a Superhero

June 25th, 2013

In Man of Steel, the latest take on the Superman story, director Zack Snyder reboots the franchise with a fresh take on Superman’s origin. The film tells the story of how a child named Kal El was sent to earth from his home planet of Krypton for his safety, was raised as Clark Kent, and became Superman (played by Henry Cavill).

Clark Kent’s adoptive parents (played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) decide to keep their alien son’s identity hidden until he and others begin to question his superhuman strength and speed. As a youth, Clark struggles with his identity as his father urges him to keep it a secret. Clark spends his young adulthood as a drifter, moving from place to place, job to job, all the while using his super strength and abilities (such as the power of flight) to rescue people wherever he goes. Eventually his secrets catch up with him, and he remembers something his father told him: “You’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, is going to change the world.”

Superman must use his powers to defeat General Zod, who also hails from Krypton, and save the earth, all while trying to demonstrate to the authorities that he isn’t the real threat. As he changes the world for good, the hero settles into life as both Clark Kent and Superman.

Identity Crisis

We have all had to make choices that define our identities and character. And as we mature, we discover that the consequences of our choices extend beyond ourselves.

This challenge of discovering our identity while struggling with questions of character and morality is nothing new. We see it throughout Scripture, including in the story of Moses. Moses’ story is, in many ways, similar to Superman’s. Moses was born to enslaved Israelites and destined for death by the Egyptian Pharaoh’s edict. But his mother found a way to save his life and, as a result, Moses grew up in an alien environment—the Egyptian palace. Eventually he had to come to terms with his identity. When God called to him from a burning bush, Moses then had to come to terms with God’s plan for his life. Moses’ choices to be humble before God, listen to God, and obey God changed the world in incredible ways.

Be Humble, Connect, and Obey

As we become older it’s normal to try different things as we figure out who we are and will be. But, as Christians, we know that God has a plan for each of us that is greater than any plan we have for ourselves. We just let go of our egos, open ourselves to what God is calling us to do, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.

Most youth are eager to put faith into action and, with many youth groups taking summer mission trips, this is a great time to see how Spirit-led actions, large or small, can change the world. But the first step is being humble and realizing that God’s will is better than our own. The next step is connecting with God in a way that opens our minds and hearts to hear and know what God wants us to do. The last step is obedience: doing what God wants us to do in the way God wants us to do it. Following these steps allows the power of the Holy Spirit to work through us to change the world.

This article is also published as part of LinC, a weekly digital resource for youth small groups and Sunday school classes. The complete study guide can be purchased and downloaded here.

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