My favorite superhero from the world of DC Comics is Green Lantern. Now, if you are a fan of superheroes, the previous statement may puzzle you. After all, what sort of crazy person would pick Green Lantern to be his/her favorite DC Superhero when he resides in the same universe as other incredible beings like Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman and (insert your favorite DC superhero here)? When you look at Green Lantern next to these amazing heroes, he really doesn’t seem very special at all. So why on Earth is he my favorite superhero? The answer to that question is simple: Green Lantern is my favorite DC superhero because I can relate to him very well.
Yes, I know that sounds insane. How can an average college student who struggles just to pay rent relate to a green superhero? That’s another great question, but before I can answer it I need to explain who Green Lantern is for those who are unfamiliar with him. Green Lantern was once a normal human being with no special powers, but one day he was given a green alien ring that allowed him to harness the power of his will. As long as he was wearing this ring, he could create temporary constructs of anything he wanted. For instance, if he focused on using his ring to construct a hammer, a green hammer would appear out of thin air and stay there until he stopped focusing on it. He could then make that hammer do whatever he wanted it to do. When he stopped focusing on it, the hammer would disappear and no trace of it would be left behind. Thus, using his ring, Green Lantern could create and use anything he wanted. The only limit to what he could create was his willpower. If he was strong enough to will a construct into being, then it came into being.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I can explain just what it is about Green Lantern that I find to be so relatable. In order to understand my thinking here, you must understand something about me: I like to work alone. Now, that doesn’t mean that I like to sit in a confined cubicle and have no human interaction while I work for hours on end. In fact, I love being around other people at any time, including when I’m working. What that statement does mean is that a lot of times, I don’t want any help from others while I work. As I work on a project, I sometimes find myself thinking “I can do this, I don’t need help.” If I come across a difficulty, I think; “I will do this all out of my own strength and power; I just have to work hard enough to push through my difficulties and then I can achieve anything.” This tendency to reject help is so bad that, every once in a while, it leaks into my walk with God. When this happens, I start trying to overcome all of my sin and be a good person on my own. I fight and fight and push through using my own power, and, occasionally, I manage to fight my way past a little sin. However, no matter how hard I try, I always end up facing a temptation that is far too strong for me and I fail.
That evil habit of trying to do everything through my own willpower is exactly how I relate to Green Lantern. See, a lot of times he believes that he can use the green power of his will to overcome any obstacle without help. This belief leads him to try to fight off all of the bad guys on his own. Sometimes, he does manage to take down some of the smaller, weaker villains without help, but eventually he gets tired and worn out as he fights on his own. And just when he is getting more and more tired, a powerful villain begins to attack and he finds that he can no longer fight alone.
So, what happens when Green Lantern is getting beat up and can no longer fight on his own? He calls in the Justice League, of course! That way, the group that is more powerful than he is can come alongside him and help defeat the evil he is fighting against. In the same way, the only way that I can fight against my sin is to call on a power greater than myself: God! Learning to call on God and trust his mighty power and grace is a crucial lesson for Christians. We cannot fight temptation all on our own, but we do not have to! God has offered His grace and power and, like the Justice League swoops in to save Green Lantern, He wants to swoop in and save His children. Paul shows how wrong it is for us to try to overcome our evils on our own in Ephesians 2: 8-9 when he says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” We must stop trying to do everything on our own. God has offered his grace, and all we have to do is accept it.
Our willpower will never be enough to overcome sin, but that is okay because we have help! We are forgiven and no longer have to try to fight against our sin alone. All we have to do is accept what God has offered to us. He is so much more powerful than the Justice League, and he loves those whom He has created even more than the Justice League loves Green Lantern. It is only by His awesome power that anyone will ever be able to take on one of the most devious and evil villains of all time: sin itself.
Written by Nathan