by Matt Schroeder
I’ll never forgot walking out of the movie theater after having seen Lone Survivor and truly not being able to express what I witnessed. The mix of emotions left me completely speechless, or that anything I would say would simply be pointless. I felt courage, passion, joy, fire, depression, and hope all at the same time. But I’ll tell you the one emotion I felt the strongest in that movie and that I have felt in every single epic movie I’ve ever seen: purpose.
Grand epic movies stir my affections for the Lord unlike many other things in this world. I love classic battles against good and evil. And I realize I’m about to go out on an island on this one, but I love movies where the main character dies fighting for what they believed. I probably won’t get many amens on that one; but if the main character dies in a movie, there’s a great chance I’ll like the film. No, I do not have a sick twisted desire to see everyone die. I do not need psychiatric help, at least for that issue!
I love movies where the main character finds the mission and objective so valuable and important he or she sacrifices the most valuable thing they have, their life. It stirs something inside of me when I see a man or woman give their very lives fighting for something bigger than themselves.
I watch these films, read these books and think, “I want to be apart of something like that. I want to give my life for something bigger than myself. I want my life to count!”
It’s really only been within the last year I’ve began to connect dots with how God has built this into my very fabric and DNA. And I don’t simply mean understanding that men are supposed to be the fighters, adventurers, and pursuers like John Eldridge books say. I’m not knocking Wild At Heart, it’s all great stuff. I'm just saying I’m starting to see it at other levels too.
What I think I’m begging to see is that right now, today, as I’m writing this and as you’re reading this WE ARE AT WAR! We are currently living in the greatest story of good and evil to ever be written. God has put it in our hearts that this war is going on, that’s why I feel it instinctively every time I watch these movies. But also, the Word of God is FILLED with language about how we are not in a time of peace, but in a time of war.
Ephesians 6:10-20 could not be more clear we are in a war against the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly realm.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
“Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” – 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
Paul tells us to stand firm and fight all over the New Testament.
Our Western Enlightened culture has unfortunately downplayed the war we are currently in with the kingdom of darkness. And Satan has used that to further hide himself in the West and get us to continually believe we are at peacetime. But we are not at peacetime. The devil, our sinful flesh, and the world are all raging against us to keep us from bringing glory to God.
So, many of the desires I have in my heart for purpose, mission, and fighting for something bigger than myself are all good and right. But what I have personally found is that I get frustrated that my fight doesn’t take place in the context of war, a jungle, the Matrix, robots destroying the Earth, or zombie apocalypse.
No, actually my war takes place in the context of an 8 to 5 desk job, not the Amazon.
My war takes place in loving family and friends more than myself, not taking bullets for my fellow soldier.
My war takes place in baby throw up splattering on my face, not poisonous alien acid burning my body.
And I think what begins to happen is we realize our lives are not as “epic” as the movies or books portray the fight to be, so we slip back into our day-to-day lives, losing the war mentality.
What God has been showing me is that He put inside of me the desire to fight for something bigger than myself, to give my life for a greater purpose and vision. To be able to say along with Paul, “But I do not account my life of any value, nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
While I love the movie characters who die fighting for the greater goal, the truth is most of us in the West will not physically die for the gospel of Christ. Most of us will not even face physical beatings for being a disciple of Jesus.
So, I think the call for us is to exert that same passion, energy, and fight towards dying to ourselves every single day. To fight for God's glory.
Fight for your spouse and their joy in Christ every single day.
Die to yourself as you seek to love your children more than yourself.
Fight to put sin to death with immense intensity.
Fight for the salvation of those around you.
Fight for justice in this day and age against sex-trafficking and abortion.
I continue to watch these types of movies and read these types of books. I feel they connect me with God’s heart in many ways. What I’ve started doing now is instead of watching these films and leaving with passion only to see it die in an hour because of the “normalcy” of my life, I’ve started praying,
“Dad, take this passion and purpose you have placed deep within my heart and make it all about advancing your kingdom. All this fight you’ve placed inside of me, help me channel it to fighting for things that truly matter. Help me not waste this passion on sports, video games, and image. Help me not fantasize about being in a war, but rather wake up to the reality that I’m in one right now. Give me the weapons of spiritual warfare to put my sin to death, to love other people well, and fight for your glory. Help me not think that physically dying is the only way I can have a life that mattered for your kingdom, but that a life spent dying to self every day is advancing your kingdom. And should you count me worthy to physically die for your gospel, thank you!”
You want a grand story to be apart of? You want an epic battle to be in on? Fight for what you were created for: God’s glory and making disciples of all nations.