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Dead Heroes

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

I think all humans are born with the desire to have a hero. I always wanted to be a pilot, so from the time I first heard of him, Charles Lindbergh, who flew the first non-stop transatlantic flight in his plane The Spirit of St. Louis was my hero. My parents let me watch an old movie about his trip, and I was hooked “for life.” My oldest son loved Roy Rogers and wanted to be like him in every way. When he was allowed to watch the Roy Rogers Show, he payed attention to every detail so as not to miss something that he should be doing. My middle son is a little younger, so I’m sure if you were to ask him then, he would most likely have wanted to be Thomas the Tank Engine. The point is that we all want to be like someone. We all have someone that we admire and want to emulate. As we get older, those heroes often change from fictional characters to real-life people. For those in the world, it becomes Hollywood actors, worldly musicians, and internet stars. For Christians, it may even be a particular preacher or singer.

I must give you a word of caution, however. It is a good idea to have heroes who are dead because there is no chance they can make a mistake. Don’t misunderstand; there is certainly nothing wrong with admiring qualities and trying to mimic the lives of those who are alive today, but when we put them on a pedestal, not only are we setting them up for possible failure, we are setting ourselves up for extreme disappointment if they fall. It can be a huge blow to our spiritual confidence when the devil gets the best of someone who turns out to be merely a man instead of the larger-than-life character we set him up to be. There are countless men who are already in Heaven that we could exalt for what God has done through their lives. We can read the stories of those in the Bible like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Peter, and Paul. We can read books about the faith and spiritual lives of men like George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Murray, David Livingstone, George Muller, and others. That is safe because their lives are no longer at risk of failure. They are the “great cloud of witnesses” from which we can gather the encouragement needed to finish our course on earth in a way that is pleasing to God.

Read also: Hebrews 11:30-12:1

Quote of the day: “People think that being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” - Unknown

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