When I was very young, there was a popular song recorded by Bonnie Tyler and featured in the movie Footloose which proclaimed her desire for a a more-than-ordinary beau [affiliate link]. I have no idea how I learned the words to the song since it was released before I was really aware of pop music, but they went like this:
I need a hero
I’m holding on for a hero until the end of the night.
He’s got to be fast, and he’s got to be strong, and he’s got to be fresh from the fight.
I need a hero.
I’m holding out for a hero until the morning light.
He’s gotta be sure. And it’s gotta be soon. And he’s got to be larger than life.
What the writer of this song captures is the persistent and prolonged longing of a girl’s heart; just like in the fairy tales, we’re waiting for the prince to sweep in and save the day.
However, what the song incorrectly articulates is the characteristics that we should be looking for in our hero. After all, leaping buildings in a single bound and the ability to conquer foes isn’t what we really need in our spouse. What we need is someone who meets the qualifications of a hero as characterized in the Bible, and when you think of the people who are considered “heroes of the faith” they are called so because of who they are in their relationship with God.
So, what should a spiritual hero look like? Here are just three things:
1) Strong in the Lord – It’s not uncommon for a superhero to have uncharacteristic strength, however, for the spiritual superhero, this strength is not found in himself. The hero you’re holding out for should be someone who is strong in the Lord, who relies on Him to conquer the problems, and who is “building his muscles” through a regular and disciplined regimen of learning from God’s Word and devoting himself to prayer.
2) Protects and defends – Superheros are known for protecting the innocent and taking up their cause against the evil forces in the world. In the same way, the spiritual hero you’re waiting for should be intent on protecting and defending you – not only from the physical harm that may befall you – but from the spiritual treachery of evil forces as well. Find a spouse who cares about how you are growing in Christ; who is diligent about making sure that you are shielded from temptation and who lifts you up in prayer to defend you against Satan’s attacks. This is someone who is appropriately worthy of admiration.
3) Puts others needs first – Superman had Metropolis, Batman had Gotham, and other comic book superheros have their community that they’re responsible for. And while being a superhero assuredly comes with lots of glory, it also is a very sacrificial gig. You have to be available at a moment’s notice to go to the people who need you, and you give up the rights to “your life” in order to perform your duties. In a similar way, look for a spiritual superhero spouse who is so committed to doing what God has called him that he no longer considers his life, his own. Find someone who puts others needs before his own; who cares more about giving then he does about getting. In doing so, he is rightfully following both the first, and the second, greatest commands of his Savior
I’m very grateful that God brought me my own spiritual hero in the form of my wonderful hubby and that He gave me a dad who showed me what a spiritual hero looks like. If He hasn’t brought yours to you yet, I hope you’re holding out for a hero too!
Author’s Note: The whole time I was writing this, I was thinking of the lovely ladies at my church’s young adult ministry, especially of the fantastic young women in my small group who graciously let me hang out with them each week. To all you, thanks for letting me learn from you and for the privilege it is to explore God’s Word with you. I’m praying that God brings to each of you a very special hero indeed.