On wearing “the suit”

A week or two ago I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming. The last few times that a Spider-Man movie was released in was a retelling of the same old story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. I wasn’t expecting much.

So I was pleasantly surprised and more than a little relieved when it started with Peter Parker already being Spider-Man. They did a great job tying the movie in with the rest of the Marvel Universe. It takes place right after Peter Parker helped Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War (I still think that should have been an Avengers movie but nobody asked me).

Let me try to get to the point I want to make. Peter Parker is all pumped up after his adventure and being asked to continue being a member of the team so to speak. (He was even given a cool suit with all sorts of gadgets.) The only problem being that there isn’t anyone or anything to fight against. So he obviously gets restless and bored. He’s a teenager. What do you expect.

He then starts fighting small neighborhood crime but every time he ends up making a mess. After one mess where Tony Stark/Iron Man has to save his a…, life Tony tells him.

“Listen, I know school sucks. I know you want to save the world. But… you’re not ready yet.”

Peter really wasn’t ready. He needed time to mature and grow in his skills. Peter wasn’t able to see this. He was impatient which blinded him to everything except his desire to be someone, to get to the destination or the next level.

I think this is human nature to some degree. But our society feeds this thinking. Advertising is especially guilty of this. We are inundated with messages that tell us we will be happy if we have the latest gadget or the nicest care. We become consumed with what we don’t have or where we want to be.

I do this sometimes with my walk with God. I get focused on what I can’t do or where I want to be in my faith or my ministry. I start to compare what I’ve done with what someone else has done. What I need to realize is that I’m on a different journey than whoever I’m comparing myself to.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” ~Hebrews 12:1

I need to realize that my life and my faith is a journey. I can’t expect to grow in my faith and knowledge of God over night. It requires discipline and doing the right thing for the right reason, repeatedly. I have to read the bible. I have to learn to hear the Spirit and have the discernment to know how to act in situations.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. ~Hebrews 12:2

So, of course, Peter tries even harder to prove himself. He wants to prove he is ready. He wants to be somebody. He wants to prove that he matters, that he is good enough.

Peter goes after some really big bad guys, but in the process he nearly gets a hundred people killed. Once again Iron Man has to save the day. We find Peter on top of a building feeling sorry for himself and angry too, He blames himself. He blames Tony for not giving him more help and for not believing in him. Here is part of the conversation between Peter and Tony.

Tony Stark: What if somebody had died?

Peter Parker: I was just trying to be like you.

Tony Stark: I wanted you to be better. I’m gonna need the suit back.

Peter Parker: But I’m nothing without this suit!

Tony Stark: If you’re nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it.

Peter thought he was nothing. He believed that his power and importance came from the spider suit. He was looking for acceptance from other people, especially Tony Stark. (The kid really needs to raise his standards.)

Until Peter saw himself as someone, as someone of value and worth, no tool that Tony gave him would enable him to be a hero. No amount of success as Spider-Man could change his mind on that. He had to choose to believe it. Praise and success can help but worth can’t be given by other human beings.

There does come a point in the movie where Spider-Man is seemingly defeated. There is no way out, he’s trapped. Then Peter remembers the words of Tony Stark, “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”

It was at this point that he finds the strength to get out of the situation. The movie doesn’t say what was going through his mind. But I would imagine that he decided in that moment that he was tired of feeling worthless and trying to be someone else. He finally decided to be who he was created to be.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. ~ Ephesians 6:10-18

As Christians we don’t have to rely solely on willpower to act out of a place of worth and strength. We are created in the image of God and have the Holy Spirit living inside us. Our identity is found in Christ. We just have to allow ourselves to act like it.

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