Everyone loves a superhero. Superman. Wonder Woman. Iron man. They swoop in and fight the bad guys, save the day, and somehow make their spandex suit look cool all at the same time. But chances are, if we ran into one of them on street, we wouldn’t recognize them. Because almost all superheroes have another side—their mild, unassuming, simply-not-as-awesome alter ego. Their real, every-day life identity is rarely as impressive. In that way, we all have something in common with superheroes. There’s a public side of us. A super-identity that most of the world gets to see. We’re funny. We have friends. We’re confident. But deep in our hearts, we know there’s an alter ego—a less than super side we’d rather hide away. As we take a closer look at three habits that often bury themselves in our alter egos, we find that God has something to say about each one that can free us from living a double-life.
Session One: No Worries
Bottom Line: When God’s worrying about your worries, you don’t have to.
What do you worry about? Your looks? Reputation? Whether your parents will get you a Chihuahua for your birthday? Everybody worries. We stress about our family, school, future, friends, and about a million other things. Unfortunately, our worries don’t seem to accomplish much. Think about it. Have you ever stressed out about something so much it fixed itself? Probably not. But what’s the alternative? The Apostle Paul had plenty to worry about .He had been threatened, beaten, shipwrecked, and arrested, but he still found the courage to say, “Do not be anxious about anything.” As we take a closer look at Paul’s words, we find that God has given us an alternative. He has provided a way for us to give away our worries and replace them with peace.
Session Two: Bad To The Bone
Bottom Line: Shame holds you back. Jesus pulls you close.
Have you ever been so embarrassed you wanted to run and hide? Probably so. Those moments sneak up on all of us. Maybe you dropped your lunch in front of everyone at school or maybe you tripped on the bleachers at a game. For a moment, it felt awful, but it was temporary. The problem is many of us live with that feeling all the time. It isn’t just because of a moment. It’s because of who we are. We feel like we’re not as smart, not as cool, or just not as good as those around us. That feeling is called shame, and just like embarrassment, shame makes us want to run away from everyone, including God. The question we have to ask is, What are going to do with our shame? Are we going to trust it? Hide behind it? ignore it? The writer of Hebrews tells us there is a better way. Because of what Jesus did, we aren’t required to give in to shame’s demands. And even when shame tells us to run and hide, Jesus tells us to run toward Him.
Session Three: All About Me
Bottom Line: Others first, me second.
Lots of things come naturally to us. Breathing. Eating. Sleeping til noon. And for most of us, selfishness is on that list. As little kids we learn to yell, me first and that’s mine. Even though it’s natural, living selfishly doesn’t improve the quality of life. In fact, it’s exhausting and lonely. Most of us would agree that focusing on ourselves is a miserable way to live, but we still act selfishly anyway. So how do we fight it? In a letter to some of the earliest Christians, the Apostle Paul addresses that very question, and what he says may surprise you. Spoiler alert—it’s not twenty-seven steps to being less selfish. No, Paul gives one challenge. One idea that can change the way you see everyone around you and help you escape the trap of selfishness once and for all.