I was watching the movie, Saving Private Ryan, late last night as I was falling to sleep. I was stoked to watch it as this movie falls into a special movie category I have proclaimed as EPIC! The movie was everything I remembered it being until the closing moments of the film at which point in time I was jolted out of my half sleep. Tom Hanks, who was unbelieveable in this flick, makes the following climatic statment: “Earn this!”
As the movie returns to modern day and you see Matt Damon’s character hovering of this character’s tombstone, he is pondering his life and asking the question, “Have I earned this?” What a crappy way to live your life! I get the sacrifice that was made in order to save Private Ryan’s life, but how depressing would it be to live your life in the shadow of a question like that.
My thoughts immediately raced to the cross of Christ and how He has never said, “Earn this!” Rather He has said, “Here’s this!” While I want to live a life that honors Christ and is in obedient to His commands, the moment my motivation becomes earning His gift of salvation I foresake the free gift of grace that He has offered.
I still think Saving Private Ryan is an EPIC film and I certainly don’t rely on Hollywood to provide the foundation of my theology and worldview. However, it made me think and ponder how great our God is and how vast His love for us will always be!
So I’m not really big on the whole New Year’s resolution but this year I’ve decided to take the concept seriously. Some people are anti-resolution, some people set “goals,” others set resolution year after year and have never accomplished one…I’ll be honest, I don’t know that I care enough about the concept “resolution” to have a strong opinion. At the very least, it’s the start of a new calendar year and I’m hoping to start a new habit and spiritual discipline along with it.
I have decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. I know there are several different reading plans for tackling the Bible: chronilogically, New Testament first (Old Testament second), OT & NT simultaneously, alternate a book from each Testament, etc. I’m going the simple route and have been challenged and inspired to do so by an Elder in our church, Northern Hills. He simply told me that he likes to challenge people to read the Bible from start to finish, like a novel, in a translation that you have never read before. So I took him up on it.
I actually started on December 31st because I’m excited to dive into God’s Word this year like I have never have before. I have read the NT through a few times in the NIV and NLT. I honestly don’t believe I have read the OT in its entirety. So this is a first for me. As far as the translation I have chosen, the NKJV. This has surprised a few people that I have shared this with, so allow me to share a few thoughts behind why I chose it:
Other than checking out a few verses, I have never read the NKJV.
It is a very literal (word for word) translation, which is different than most translations I read (phrase for phrase).
Because it is a higher reading level than other translations, it will force me to slow down and pay attention to what I’m reading.
What I’m really excited about is not just doing it this year, but a few years running so I can read a variety of translations. But first things first. I’m 3 days in and loving it. I imagine I will blog about what I read from time to time, which will hopefully make for sosme good blogs.
It is definitely among the elite of comic book movies, but not quite my favorite (I’ll save that for another post, another day). One of my favorite aspects of most comic book movies is the depth of spiritual parallels that are so blatantly obvious. Here are a few brief summaries of some of those truths found in Ironman:
Let me go ahead and start with the obvious, the spiritual armor of God. Just as Tony Stark was able to suit up and get ready for battle, we are able to do the same. Just take a look at Ephesians 6:10-20. Our armor is spiritual in nature as the battle we are engaged in is of a spiritual nature as well. And the weapon we are to do battle with is greater than anything Ironman’s suit is equipped with, it’s the Word of God.
The villian is obsessed with achieving absolute domination. Okay – so this isn’t exclusive to the Ironman story line, however it stood out to me a little more in this movie because his drive was more than just greed of power…there were presonal motivations. He was jealous, driven by rage, and had a personal beef with Tony Stark. This situation much like the one that unfolded when Lucifer decided he was greater than the One and Only God.
And the monolague in the movie that encapsulated more spiritual truth than the rest of the movie: “There is the next mission, and nothing else…I shouldn’t be alive unless it was for a reason…I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it’s right.” – Tony Stark. Can you imagine if every believer was driven in their walk with Christ to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth with this type of attitude? Can you imagine with me what we might be capable of if we paraphrased this statement? “There is the next soul to win, and nothing else. For no other reasons than this do we live our lives. There is no question regarding the purpose for which we live our lives that needs to be asked when you understand the answers are this: to grow deep in our relationship with God and to go wide with the Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. I know these truths to be right as they are sealed in my heart.”
So what did you think of the movie? What other spiritual insights did you gain from? Feel free to share your thoughts on my blog or the movie itself.
(Check out how this movie closely parallels and feeds into this year’s Dare 2 Share conference tour: Invincible)