I Am Batman - Do

This week I'm going to kick this blog off with the quote, but I want you to be ready....Relax for a second and bear with me,  because the super spiritual will be tempted to turn me off after reading this quote.  Ready?

"It's not who YOU are underneath -  it's what you do that defines you."

Ok ok,  if you are like me,  your mind probably went right to the verse "man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart."  You are so right,  and I am so glad that we serve a God who knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  I think this quote from Batman Begins has a different, deeper meaning that we might miss if we do not dig a little bit.

Matthew chapter 7 gives us some great insight into a true believer's life.  Start reading in about verse 15 and you will see that a tree can be identified by its fruit.  ASTOUNDING!  I know...   If you walk through an apple orchard,  the type of the tree is easily identified by the fruit that it bears.  There is absolutely no question as to whether the trees you walk by are apple trees, because they produce apples. As simple and common sense as this sounds,  our culture seems to take an opposite approach when labeling people.

People,  children on up through adults,  escape penalty of crime every single day because we try not to judge people by their actions.  In our attempt to be fair we allow the most uncoordinated kid on the basketball court because underneath they might believe they are the world's best basketball player.  If you watch American Idol for more than two minutes you will get to hear individuals attempt to display their "vocal talent"  truly believing they have a chance...because underneath they WANT to be a famous musician.  I'm sorry,  but if you can't make a goal, or dribble the ball down the court, YOU ARE NOT A BASKETBALL PLAYER.  Dear American public,  if your friend/relative cannot carry a tune,  TELL THEM SO before they publicly humiliate themselves on national television.  I'm sure that underneath you truly believe you possess that amazing ability,  but what you DO clearly displays that you are not who you think you are.

This passage seems to speak to Christians...pretty much, we are all trees.  (Weird analogy I know...dont tell me...tell Jesus.)  We expect that as the world walks through our church orchards that they could easily identify and taste what we so desperately long to produce.  Yes, you are a tree inside and out, but what defines you to the world is what you produce.  How will the world know how amazing Jesus is?  By tasting and seeing! (psalm 34:8)   You may be a strong Christian tree underneath,  but it is what you DO that defines you.    Challenge:  Go do something for God today, so that the world might taste and see that the Lord is good.

I Am Batman - "The Symbol"

You will be hard-pressed to watch a superhero movie, or read a superhero comic book and not be presented with the question, "why do you wear that mask?" It seems that when any individual steps forward into a hero role, an aura of some sort is inevitable.  People...Individuals are corruptible.  Because of sin, we cannot "be" without fault.  As a result,  heros turn the general public's attention to an object or idea greater than themselves.

I am not just talking supernatural heroes here!  Let's think Biblical. Paul knew this. In Philippians 1:21 he points out that to live is CHRIST.  John 3:30   Martin Luther became a hero by establishing a philosophy that is survived by his 95 thesis.  Patrick Henry's legacy was formed in the statement "give me liberty or give me death."  Nathan Hale said " I regret that I have but one life to live for my country."  Our military heroes turn people's eye to the flag of our country.  Batman's character is  forged from the persona of a bat.

Where any of these men could have easily built a following on their name,  they each knew that people fail.  People die.  People's preferences change.  In order for a hero to build a legacy and affect change,  he must portray a symbol,  compelling the public not by fear, but by an internal calling.

"As a man, I can be ignored or destroyed; but as a symbol I can be incorruptible."

Every kid uses a blanket as a cape and underwear as a mask after after watching a superhero on TV.  Every kid believes in their heart that THEY will someday conquer the world.  We have a natural, internal drive to do great things.  No one sets out in life to be a bum and never do anything worth while.  Our unique signature, our "John Hancock" firms up the idea that we want to "leave our mark."  Deep down,  you WANT to be a hero that is remembered.

But...time goes on. We get bogged down in the mundane.  We try just to fit in.  We in essence render ourselves ineffective and "normal."   Is this ok?  Are you reading this going "But I don't want to be normal?"  If not -  pause for a moment,  do a V8 slap to your face,  and return for further instruction.  You have realized that as an individual,  the legacy you were attempting to leave on your own has been destroyed and corrupted by your mistakes.  Is it too late to change?

NO.  Say it with me:  "I Am Batman."  1 Corinthians 6 reminds us that you are not your own!  You are crucified with Christ yet you live....actually it's not YOU!  It's CHRIST that lives IN you.  As a man,  you can be ignored.  You can be destroyed.   YOU WILL FAIL.  But as a symbol,  you can be incorruptible.   We are here on this earth to make a difference and leave a mark...but not our own.  We live to reflect Jesus.  As you examine your motives and conversation,  where do they point?  When people look at you what do they see?  Is it you, or do you exist to symbolize someone bigger?

I Am Batman

Times change,  but people never do; and since the beginning of time, we have always craved a hero.  The American people are no different in their endless pursuit to create characters that inspire and instill justice and character in the hearts of the viewer.

Since 1939,  one superhero has been remade over and over again, until his recent rebirth in 2005 five.  That man is Batman.  This particular character holds a special place in the hearts of youth, because he does not possess any fictional supernatural ability thrown upon him by happenstance.  Rather,  his powers are that of intellect and strength forged through life experience.  Because he is no different than the people he protects and fights against,  he is able to speak to the common person a most attainable wisdom.  Thank you Bob Kane and Christopher Nolan for the material that will fuel this series.

The quotes from this episode and those to follow are credited to the writers of Batman,  as performed by Christian Bale.

"Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society."
Have you ever stopped to think about what makes a criminal a criminal?  For the sake of conversation,  let us define "criminal"  as someone who breaks the rules.  So this word criminal could apply to that brat kid you see in store who is throwing a fit for the toy he didn't get.  Criminal could be that kid in elementary school who was the class clown.  Criminal could be that older student who gossips or creates drama to bring attention to themselves.  Criminal could be that adult who robs his employer of time to the one who abuses a child.  At the root of each of these problems is a sin nature that instigates a "breaking of the law of God."  God looks at all sin the same.  James 2:10   YOU, my friend,  are a criminal.  

With the consequences for our actions being death, according to Romans 6:23,  what allows us to easily sin in the small ways without giving it a second thought?  I think Bruce Wayne might have been on to something when he said, "criminals thrive on the indulgence of society."  Criminals commit crimes...because they can.  

We personally allow for this when we excuse our "insignificant mistakes."  We expect others to do the same.  Our children are allowed to continue in disobedience without repercussion because to punish them may draw unwanted attention, cause unwanted pain,  and consume much needed energy.  Our churches allow people to continue living flesh-driven lives because to call them on their sin might result in one less taken seat on Sunday.  We allow legal loopholes, and rights movements to dictate the moral perception of an entire nation.  What I'm getting at is,  it is no wonder that our crime rates continue to sky-rocket!  We not only allow criminal activity, we create it when we excuse the wrong-doings of people.

Would you like to change your life, your family,  your school, and your church?  Refuse to accept anything below the line.  As you examine empires from the past,  as they began to accept worldly philosophy as acceptable,  their government crumbled and was rendered helpless.  Can America be different?  Yes...when society,  when the CHURCH no longer indulges the whims of the world.  As a superhero soldier, championing the principles of The Word,  you can change the world.  It all begins with you. Say it with me:  "I AM BATMAN."