We Have A Hero Problem

Proverbs 20:6 “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”

I Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

We all have heroes. I prefer the term “role model” personally, but I understand why people call them heroes and have often called my role models “heroes”. The origin of the word “hero” is Greek. Its literal definition is “a demi-god, or half god and half man.” As a Christian, we understand that there is no such thing as a real demigod. The Greeks used this term to describe men who accomplished great feats, especially in battle. The qualities listed in Webster’s 1828 dictionary of a hero are “bravery, courage, intrepidity (fearlessness); particularly in war.”

Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to? Why do you look up to them? What qualities do they possess that will better you as a person? I submit to you that we have a hero problem in our world today. Look at who the “heroes” are: Athletes, Musicians, Movie Stars, and other various kinds of celebrities! These are the “heroes” of the world. What are they teaching you though? To be brave? Tell me, what’s so brave about shooting a basketball? To be courageous? What’s so courageous about going through several marriages because you don’t have character and can’t control your lust (I’m not into celebrity gossip, but you typically don’t hear about a celebrity couple staying married for 50+ years and being faithful to each other). Are they teaching you to be fearless? What’s so fearless about promoting immoral sexual behavior, violence, alcohol, drugs, and rebellious lifestyles? Occasionally I hear music playing in the car next to me or in the store. I’ve heard songs that degrade women. I’ve heard songs that promote illicit sexual behavior. I’ve heard songs that speak themes of violence to the police. Yet the people who write and record this nonsense are promoted as who you should be listening to and lifting up!

I heard this statement many times as a teenager: You cannot choose how someone influences you. You can only choose WHO influences you!” Young Person, who you let influence your life will determine the way that you go in life! Be very careful about who you let influence you! Be very cautious when choosing who your heroes are going to be! Your heroes should be who you want to be like. As a Christian, obviously the person we should strive to be like is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2). I do not believe it is wrong to have human heroes as well. Elisha looked up to and followed Elijah (II Kings 2:2). Jeremiah said he needed to get to the great men (Jeremiah 5:5). Timothy no doubt looked up to Paul. Paul admonished Timothy to commit to his faithful men what Timothy had learned from Paul (II Timothy 2:2).

These are some of my Heroes: My Dad, Pastor Jeff Fugate, Evangelist Dennis Corle, Brother Dave Smith, Brother William Davis, Pastor Jerry Ross, and both of my grandfathers. These are not in any particular order, with the exception of my Dad being number one on the list. All of these men are saved, baptized, walk with God, and are (or were) faithful to church (My Grandpa Eddy is in Heaven now). All of them are a man’s man. All of them love their wife and children. All of them have made a specific impact on my life. These men are my heroes. There are many other godly men and ladies who I did not mention that have also made an impact on my life. Who you choose to follow will determine the direction you go! Who you choose to listen to is who you will become. Let’s go through some guiding principles to ask yourself when choosing someone to be your HERO:

– Does This Person Bring Me Closer to Christ?

o I John 2:15-16 “Love not the world, neither the things that are on the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” It’s not hard to understand: If they do not promote Christ, then they should not be your hero. You should want to have examples that live a life pleasing to God!

– Is This Person Trying To Help Me, or Help Themselves?

o Romans 16:17-18 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

There are people out there that even now are trying to deceive you, and they are doing so for their own personal benefit. Young Person, beware the teenager who poses as your friend but tries to get you to doubt your faith. Beware a “Leader” if they try to push you away from listening to your Pastor or Godly Parents. People that try to push you away or make you question the truths of God’s Word are in it for their own benefit one way or the other.

– Is This Person A Good Example?

o I Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

It makes sense to me then that, if you are supposed to be a good example in these areas, your heroes should also be a good example in these areas!

– Is This Person Trying To Impress Me, Or Influence Me?

o This one is a little more difficult to explain, because I did not fully grasp this concept until I became older. The word “impress” means “to imprint; or to make a mark on any thing by pressure.” The word “influence” means “To lead or direct; To affect; To persuade.” People who want to impress you want you to be impressed with THEIR accomplishments and THEIR image. People who want to influence you want to help MAKE YOU into a better version of yourself and reach your potential;

Understand I am talking strictly from a spiritual standpoint right now. There is also such a thing as a bad influence, but if you choose your heroes from the first three principles then that should eliminate bad influences. If the person you are choosing abides by the other three things and they seem like a good person, ask yourself whether they are trying to IMPRESS you or INFLUENCE you.

Let me give you an example: I once heard a preacher give a good message and then follow it up by saying, “Now the only way that you are going to be successful in doing what I just preached is by buying my book on how to accomplish it.” He was trying to IMPRESS me and the others listening. I also have heard many preachers preach and conclude their message by saying “Won’t you get in your Bible and pray and make the decision to follow Christ. He is the only ONE who can really help you!” These preachers were trying to INFLUENCE me to follow the same Christ that made a difference in their life!

Choosing your heroes is a very serious thing. Remember this: Who you choose to follow will determine the direction you go! Who you choose to listen to is who you will become!!!

James Young

YP | Open Door Baptist Church

Lima, OH