Leadership Lessons from Superheroes
Rev. Tony Cooke

Leadership Lessons from Superheroes by Tony CookeSome of my earliest childhood memories are of the old black-and-white broadcasts of the Superman television show. My daily ritual was to put on my Superman outfit (complete with cape), stand in the hallway until the introductory music started, and eagerly wait as the announcer went through his gripping description of the Man of Steel.

Faster than a speeding bullet… more powerful than a locomotive… able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…

Then, just at the right moment, as the announcer proclaimed this strange visitor from another planet, I would run into the room full-speed and “fly” onto the couch. I then spent the next thirty minutes helping mild-mannered Clark Kent (I was privy to his secret identity) in defending truth, justice, and the American way!

Other superheroes captured my fascination as I grew… Batman, the Flash, and others. In recent years, there has been a great resurgence of interest in superheroes. Hollywood blockbusters about superheroes have abounded, and adults—not just kids—have paid untold millions of dollars to be entertained by Spiderman, the Hulk, and even animated heroes like the Incredibles.

Have you ever thought about the capacity people have to envision life with super powers and the fascination so many have with superheroes? Is there something within us that intuitively knows we were created to live a divinely empowered life? I realize that most of us don’t have any business putting on tights and a cape, but Scripture makes it clear that God’s power is supposed to be operative in our lives and through our ministries. Consider the following:

Philippians 2:13 (AMP)
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Colossians 1:29 (AMP)
For this I labor [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.

Ephesians 1:19-20 (AMP)
And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20 Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places]…

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (AMP)
And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it].

John 14:12 (NKJV)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

Daniel 11:32 (NKJV)
“…but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)
But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

If you’ve been dragging a bit, I pray that these verses will remind you to both expect and experience the power that comes from His Presence in your life!

Just for fun, and by looking back at some of the superheroes I enjoyed as a kid, I want to mention eight simple lessons I’ve realized by reflecting on the imaginary heroes I enjoyed reading about in comic books when I was young.

Superman—You’ve Got to Know Your Kryptonite

Everyone knows about Superman’s great powers… super strength, flight, x-ray vision, etc. But Superman had one weakness: Kryptonite. This was a type of rock from his former planet that sapped his powers when he came in contact with it. What is it from our “former life” that attempts to follow us into our new life and sap our vitality? Don’t let sin, compromise, or disobedience rob you of the power that belongs to you.

Batman and Robin—No One Said You Had to Do it All Alone

Batman couldn’t fly, he didn’t have x-ray vision, and bullets didn’t bounce off of him. As a matter of fact, he was pretty “ordinary” as far as superheroes go. He really didn’t have any superpowers. What he did have, though, was a partner! Together they did things that neither of them could have done alone, and they accomplished great things through partnership.

The Flash—You Need to Slow Down Sometimes

The Flash could run at supersonic speeds. We love speed in our society today—the faster the better! Unfortunately, many are afflicted with what has been termed “hurry sickness.” This results from a perpetual state of too much to do, never enough time to do it, but trying to do it all anyway. As a result, we push ourselves incessantly, and many never take time to breathe, rest, relax, or have fun. I’m all for great accomplishments, but we need to remember that God instituted the principle of the Sabbath for a reason!

The Atom—Sometimes it Pays to be Small

The Atom’s special power was the ability to shrink himself at will. As a result, he could get into places a normal-sized person could not go in order to catch bad guys, etc. When I think of being small, I think of humility. King Saul got into trouble because he stopped being “small in his own eyes.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A great man is always willing to be little.” The Bible teaches in various places that true humility leads to exaltation!

Plastic Man—Stretching Won’t Hurt You

One of the lesser known superheroes was Plastic Man (sometimes known as Elongated Man). Like rubber, he could stretch in amazing ways. His reach and flexibility enabled him to accomplish some great things. With the world as hectic and turbulent as it is, flexibility and adaptability are two of the greatest assets we can possess.

The Green Arrow—You’ve Got to Have a Target

Like Batman, the Green Arrow really didn’t have any super powers, per se. What he did have were amazing skills in archery, and a wide array of different types of specialized arrows. But the Green Arrow always had to have a target. Likewise, you and I need goals—specific objectives—if we are going to accomplish great things. We’ve got to know what we’re aiming for in life.

Hawkman—Stay Above Your Problems

With wings that attached to his back, Hawkman could fly above the city streets and get a birds-eye view of what was going on below. As believers, we’ve been seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Through the eye of faith, we are able to see things from God’s viewpoint and from an eternal perspective. As believers, we should never forget our exalted position in Christ or the fact that we are truly designed to reign with Him, even in this life!

The Green Lantern—Recharge Your Batteries Often

This superhero had a power ring that enabled him to do extraordinary things. The limitation of the ring, though, was that it had to be charged every 24 hours by holding it to a special “lantern” for a time. Isn’t that just like us? We need to recharge and be replenished regularly. The old adage is certainly true: “If our outgo exceeds your income, then our upkeep becomes our downfall.” What charges your batteries? Make sure you reconnect through prayer and time in the Word often.

I realize that there is a difference between the imaginary superheroes of comic books and reality, but none of us were created to live mundane, “ordinary” lives. We were created for greatness. David realized that God was his strength, and he recognized his source of greatness.

Psalms 18:31-35
For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.

May you enjoy loving and worshipping the One who makes you great!