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Spider-Man and my soul

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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The Amazing Spider-Man official Facebook cover (Credit: Columbia Pictures / Marvel )

I saw The Amazing Spider-Man last night.  While the plot was familiar and the special effects were special, one quote stood out for me.  Spider-Man’s high school literature teacher quoted a college professor who stated that all literature can be reduced to ten plots.  She disagreed, claiming that every story asks the same question: Who am I?

That statement was on my mind this morning as I read Scripture and my usual devotional literature.  In Deuteronomy 33 I heard Moses bless the Jewish nation as they prepared to take their Promised Land: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (v. 27).

In Jeremiah 23, I felt the Lord’s grief over the ungodliness of the prophets who claim to speak his word: “I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied” (v. 21).  Then he makes this remarkable statement: “But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds” (v. 22).

In Acts 10, I watched as the Spirit taught Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (v. 15).  When Gentile messengers appeared, asking him to speak to a Roman centurion, he was then willing to go wherever his Lord sent him and do whatever he was asked to do.

Finally, I found in Oswald Chambers’ reading for the day this claim: “The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ . . .  The aim of the spiritual saint is ‘that I may know Him.’  Do I know Him where I am today?  If not, I am failing Him.  I am here not to realize myself, but to know Jesus.  In Christian work the initiative is too often the realization that something has to be done and I must do it.  That is never the attitude of the spiritual saint, his aim is to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances he is in.”

What do these reflections have in common?  They all speak to our identity in Christ.  He is the refuge we can see and the everlasting arms we cannot.  He is ready to speak to anyone who will listen and use our words to advance his truth.  He will lead us into eternal significance, if we will only follow.  And he will reveal Christ in and through us in every circumstance, if we will seek to know him as our highest purpose and passion.

Spider-Man’s teacher claimed that all literature asks, Who am I?  Here’s an even better question: Whose am I?