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Who will be the next James Bond?

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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Crime drama series starring Idris Elba as Luther, a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can't always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions (Credit: BBC via Facebook)

Spectre, the newest James Bond movie, has opened to huge success overseas and is set to premiere in American theaters on Friday. However, James Bond might look quite different when the next film rolls around. Daniel Craig, the star of the film, made headlines recently when he told a reporter that he would rather commit suicide than continue playing the iconic spy. While his stance has softened over the last few weeks, perhaps because Craig is still technically under contract for one more film, his comments have led many media outlets to begin speculating on who would be best suited to renew Bond’s license to kill once Craig does decide to step away from the role.

As one might expect, the list of potential 007’s is quite long and well-populated by some of Hollywood’s most popular actors. However, many such lists are surprisingly diverse as well. Idris Elba, best known for his Golden Globe nominated portrayal of Nelson Mandela and as the title character in the BBC’s Luther, is one of the leading candidates among fans and trails only Damian Lewis and Tom Hardy among odds-makers. Yes, you can actually bet on who the next James Bond will be (President Obama’s odds currently sit at a robust 1000/1 should he decide to pursue acting as his next career).

While many fans may find the notion of an African-American Bond difficult to fathom, there has been a groundswell of support in recent years for the next 007 to break the mold that started with Sean Connery (still the best Bond, though Daniel Craig has been quite good as well) and has varied little in the decades since. Daniel Craig’s selection caused a minor uproar because his reddish-blond hair differed from the dark black described in creator Ian Fleming’s books. However, the majority of fans have come to embrace Craig’s portrayal and the same would surely be the case with whoever filled the role next so long as they played it well. There is little doubt that Elba would warrant praise for his portrayal if offered the part as he has been excellent in most every film he has done to date.

Ultimately, time will tell who will be the next Bond and Craig may continue to fill the role for the foreseeable future, rendering the conversation and speculation moot. But either way, if the franchise continues to make new movies, chances are good that a black man will portray Bond one day. And when that happens, fans of the films will have to decide which is more important: the actor’s race or his ability to do the job well. Hopefully most will eventually make the right decision and judge him by the quality of his work rather than the color of his skin.

In a way, that’s similar to how God judges us as well. When God sent Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel, the prophet first tried to select David’s older brothers. However, God told him “Do not consider his appearance or his height…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God was more interested in the quality of David’s heart than whether or not it looked like he fit the part of Israel’s next king. He judges us in the same manner today.

We often find it easy to go through the motions when it comes to following God’s will, doing what we know we’re supposed to do but without making sure that our hearts are aligned with God’s in the process. But that’s not the kind of obedience he wants or the kind of investment to which we’re called. Scripture reminds us that God expects us will work at everything we do with all of our hearts, as though we were working for God rather than people (Colossians 3:23).

God judges success by our commitment and obedience to his will rather than by the outward measures often used by others. That should be good news for us because, while we cannot always control the results of a situation, we can always control how we will approach it. However, that’s also why we have no excuse for working in a manner that doesn’t honor the Lord.

So as you go through the rest of your day, ask God to help you see your life through his eyes and understand how you measure up to his expectations. While there will always be grace for the times when we fall short, God has also given us the promise and power of his presence in our lives to help ensure that we never have to. So how do you measure up today?

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