Superman was my boyhood hero. After all, he was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. We all know, however, that he had a weakness. The Planet Krypton, where he was born, imploded, and the resulting kryptonite fragments transformed the man of steel into Clark Kent.
It’s striking that the first two Supermen were felled as if by kryptonite.
George Reeves was the Superman of my boyhood. He filmed 104 TV episodes, and then died of suicide at age 45. Christopher Reeve was the Superman of the 70s and 80s, making four appearances at the man from Krypton. Reeve was paralyzed in 1995 and died in 2004 at age 52.
I’ve always thought of the Apostle Paul as a spiritual Superman. He was indefatigable and a “tramp for the Lord” many years before Corrie ten Boom claimed the title. He was unafraid when drug before councils of inquisition and joyful as he faced death. But Paul sounds more like Clark Kent in Romans 7: “For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do” (v. 19, KJV).
Paul understood that his sin nature, or “old man,” continued to dog his steps when he tried to serve the Lord. We all have this sin nature because we’ve chosen to sin (Romans 5:12). And every Christian knows the struggle Paul articulated.
I was taught that the sin nature died when we become Christians, but I now see this as error. Perhaps the best way to understand the matter is to realize the sin nature is under the condemnation of death, but the sentence won’t be carried out until we meet the Lord in heaven. Until then we wrestle, as did Paul, with bad choices in our lives. In other words, we want to be Superman, but we find more often we’re Clark Kent.
The same writer explained we must seek a fresh filling of God’s Holy Spirit each day (Ephesians 5:18). And at the same time, we step down from the throne, or control center, of our lives and ask the rightful sovereign to be enthroned there.
Edward VIII became king of England in January 1936. He fell in love with an American divorcee and wished to marry her. However, political and church leaders said this would be improper. Accordingly, Edward abdicated the throne in December and was named Duke of Windsor. He declared, “I must marry the woman I love.” He and Wallis Simpson lived happily for 35 years.
Christians must abdicate the throne of our lives daily, allowing Christ his rightful place as sovereign Lord of all.