‘Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”‘ (John 3v5-6)
In the realm of storytelling, ‘The Hero’s Journey’ offers a structure into which most films fit. It begins with the hero’s life in the ordinary world – then something happens which they must respond to (call to adventure) but may just as likely refuse the call. However, when the hero does embark on this journey and ventures out into the world, they meet opposition, fight and loses battles before being beaten and retreating into the inmost cave to face their deepest fears. In this dark, despairing place, the hero realises their need for change, seizes the sword, and with a ‘final push’ faces up to the challenge ahead of them to find the elixir so that others might be saved.
In the film Die Hard, terrorists take over a building and its guests, forcing police officer John McLean (who happens to be attending) to fight against impossible odds to save his wife and others. For McLean, the elixir he seeks is to save everyone as that is what he does – but also to mend the broken relationship with his wife so that he and the family can be restored and reunited.
As Christians, the Hero’s Journey for Christ is obvious to us in that we are well aware of the travails he faces as he presses towards Jerusalem and ultimately the cross. However, in this instance, the elixir Jesus brings back to the believers happens several weeks later as his return to heaven facilitates the Holy Spirit being released on believers so that they will be equipped to do God’s work. But here lies the problem because in the moment that Christ’s mission on earth ends so the believers’ mission begins – a ‘call to adventure’ if you like in which each is tasked daily to follow Christ by choosing to obey the call.
Now while most christians consider themselves obedient to Christ, it is often in the aspect of realising full spiritual potential that many stumble and fall. Often, this is because the person remains unaware about spiritual gifts and fails to operate in the primary one that is unique to them. Moreover, the gift that God has entrusted them with to build his Kingdom – be that as teacher, encourager, evangelist, server, pastor (etc). Now, while we are easily beaten down by attempting spiritual tasks in our own human strength, we (intentionally or unintentionally) ‘refuse Christ’s call’ and remain unaware of the primary spiritual gift God has given us to build God’s Kingdom. (See Parable of the Talents)
Today, commit yourself to finding out what your primary spiritual gift is and using it to embark on the Hero’s Journey that Christ is calling each of us to.
Find out more about primary gifts here.