The Problem with Heroes

When we were children, our heartbeats quickened and our adrenalin rushed as we read the epic stories of our heroes. Today adults need to have the imagination of a child. If adults need to master the mystical and spiritual exercises in meditation and contemplation in their drive to spiritual maturity, their ability to imagine must become like the child. Such a world needs to become real to them.


The lives and journeys of heroes motivate us to emulate such levels of bravery and daring. Heroes face challenges no matter if they experience fears as they face overwhelming situations. Heroes never quit. They strike out against the odds. Where others may hesitate, heroes make the quantum leap. They go the extra mile. They are monuments of faith and self confidence. They adjust as flexibility is needed; but they do not yield to circumstances. They are not victims of circumstances but masters of the facets of life before them.

Now all this sounds to me very much like the minor and major prophets of the Holy Bible. They are all heroes. We can add the list of kings who were lovers of God and called on Him in their times of need and prayed and even ordered their citizens to honour God as the king of Nineveh.

But in spite of their daring, all our heroes are fallible human beings--finite, mortal, limited, and imperfect. While it is true they motivate us and many of us aspire to be like them--in a manner of speaking, heroes most times demonstrate reliance on self rather than reliance on the Holy Spirit. The exceptions, would in the main, be those heroes who were prophets or men and women of God.

Truth be told, we ought to strive to emulate, or imitate perfection. After all, we do not want to repeat the mistakes of the heroes--who we know are imperfect human beings. As Christians we are taught and are encouraged to follow Biblical instructions and the apostle Paul says, "imitate me as I imitate Christ," (1 Corinthians 11:1). So the apostle has been guided by the Holy Spirit to encourage us to do as he did: 'imitate Jesus Christ;' but not him."

In the end, the true hero to copy and really imitate is Jesus Christ. He was and is perfect. So his virtues, standards, actions, thoughts, and how he relates to God the Father, and humanity we need to copy. The world would have us emulate the human heroes and even argue that we may better be able to relate to them as we too are limited and fallible as they all were and are--with the exception of Jesus. But God's Word--the Bible--tells us plainly to imitate Jesus as we have quoted but also to "imitate God," (Ephesians 5:1, NIV).