Emptied & Humbled: Spider-man 2 – Glory

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

No pain, no gain the old saying goes. This certainly rings true for our spiritual lives. Sacrifice and death are the”birth pains” of the glory. No pain, no glory.

Think “beauty from the ashes” or the glorious phoenix rising from the ashes.

Knives, Plants, and Babies

Have you ever seen someone sharpen a knife? It is kind of brutal, to the knife. Depending on the way you sharpen a knife you can even see the sparks caused by the grinding and friction.

But you don’t get the sharp blade without the pain of sharpening.

As iron sharpens ironso a person sharpens his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)

Have you ever pruned plants? Again, it is kind of brutal, to the plant. My wife and I have a vegetable garden and grape vines. Not only do we have to prune the dead vines and branches, often we have to prune living vines and branches. We literally cut off part of the plant.

But you don’t get the fruit without the pain of pruning.

Jesus even used this metaphor about our own spiritual lives.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardenerHe takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2)

Speaking of birth pains, we see the same in the beautiful birth of a child. Yes, childbirth is amazingly beautiful, but (so my wife says) it is also quite painful!

But you don’t get the beautiful baby without the birth pains.

Spider-man and Jesus

Spiderman-Wedding-Dress

We see this same idea play out in Spider-man 2.

Because he is the hero, Peter Parker chooses to sacrifice his own desires. He empties himself and he humbles himself to the point of death (yea, I know he didn’t die, but he did what he needed to with no regard for his own being). It is only after this sacrifice that the world sees his true identity, that he is both Spider-man and Peter Parker. And it is after this sacrifice that Peter Parker gets the girl. It is after this sacrifice that Peter Parker gets his glory.

Peter Parker’s glory only comes after the pain of sacrifice.

We know this is true, right? We want life to be easy, we want it to be painless. But we know – we truly know – that life is hard and that good things don’t come easy.

We see this in artists, musicians, dancers, and athletes. The best of these work HARD. Harder than most of us are willing to work. Their glory comes from the pain of practice and discipline.

We even see this in Philippians 2 in regards to Jesus.

But (Jesus) emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human natureHe humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every nameso that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:7-11)

“As a result,” did you catch that? As a result of Jesus emptying and humbling himself – as a result of his ultimate sacrifice and eventual death and resurrection – God the Father exalted him and gave him the name above every name so that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, all to the glory of the Father!

Glory comes from the pain of sacrifice.

Resurrection comes from the pain of death.

This idea applies to both your relationship with God and with others.

Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:27-39)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

What is standing between you and God? What glory is waiting for you “as a result” of your sacrifice? What does God want to do in you and through you?

Lent is the perfect time to get right with God.

Lent is the perfect time to choose the sacrifice.

Lent is the perfect time to empty yourself of your own ambition.

Lent is the perfect time to humble yourself before your God. (After all, someday we will all bow down and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…)

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

What is standing between you and your neighbor, your spouse, your family, your friends, your boss/employees?

What glory is waiting for you “as a result” of your sacrifice? What does God want to do in you and through you in light of these relationships?

Lent is the perfect time to get right with your neighbors.

Lent is the perfect time to choose the sacrifice.

Lent is the perfect time to empty yourself of your own ambition.

Lent is the perfect time to humble yourself before your neighbor.

Spider-Man_2_Poster

Emptied and Humbled

Spider-man 2 is an amazing Reel Parable. It entertainingly teaches us about Philippians 2.

Choice requires sacrifice.

Sacrifice often leads to death.

Sacrifice and death reveal identity.

The pain of sacrifice is required for the glory.

As you observe Lent, examine your own life in light of Philippians 2 and Spider-man 2.

What choices are you being asked to make?

What sacrifices do you need to make? What wants, desires, ambitions do you need to kill?

What glory awaits you at the end of this process?

But (Jesus) emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human natureHe humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every nameso that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:7-11)

Emptied and Humbled. A movie-based Lenten devotional

This is part of Emptied & Humbled, a movie based Lenten devotional. The whole devotional can be found here.

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Until next time, God bless.

Simon L Smith