He didn't leap across buildings or fly in with a cape trailing behind him; he just walked onto a playground. No speeding cars or bullets raced toward him; instead, it was a simple question. Facing an urgent need, would he choose to help? He didn't look like Superman, Spiderman, Batman, or any other cartoon character superhero. He was an ordinary man - a fellow church member who happened to be at the right place at the right time to respond to a call for action. But because he recognized Who was calling, and because he relied on that greater power working through him, he became a true superhero.

It was a cold, bleak day in January when I met Jody on our church's playground after talking with his wife Jen about my husband Russ' need for a kidney transplant. While our kids played, we discussed how Russ, who was suffering from end stage kidney disease, was unable to eat, sleep, or even walk normally anymore. Russ' doctors had said that if he was to live without dialysis (which involved serious health complications that many people didn't survive), he needed someone to give him a kidney. But everyone we already knew was either not willing to help us, or not medically qualified because of their age or incompatible blood types. Many people said they'd pray for us, and we were grateful for the prayers, but we needed more than that - we needed someone willing to be the answer to our prayers, to actually take action to help us. I'd asked Jen to pray for us, and she agreed. But then she did something more: She suggested that I ask Jody to help us.

So it was that when Jody walked over to us, he faced a superhero-sized challenge. Would he consider saving someone's life?

Thankfully, Jody did decide to consider it. And several months later, he gave Russ a kidney through a successful transplant - one that would never have been possible without an ordinary man on an extraordinary mission from God.

All Christians have a heroic spark inside, waiting to be set aflame. That spark can turn into a fire whenever they have the faith to invite God to work through their lives to do something great. So how can you follow 2 Timothy 1:6's advice to "fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you …"? Here's how you, too, can be a superhero:

Rely on strength from the ultimate Superhero.  Jesus is the greatest Superhero of all, the One who actually did save the world.  Connecting to Him will empower you to work with superhero strength, since Ephesians 3:20 declares that He is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us". You may not fly through the air or stop speeding bullets, but with Jesus, you can do even more to change people's lives for the better. Be confident in the fact that God will empower you to do whatever work He has planned for you to do. Humbly admit your weaknesses, failures, and mistakes to God, and ask Him to heal you so He can work through you to help others. Surrender your own desires and plans to God so you can pursue what He wants for your life. Make spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible reading, and getting together with other believers regular habits. Notice all the evidence that God has been faithful in your life so far, and count on Him to continue to be faithful in your future. Trust Jesus' promise in Mark 10:27 that: "… all things are possible with God." 

Decide that you want to serve God and others.  Believe that God wants to use your life for great redemptive purposes in the world.  Recognize that your life's story is an important part of the greater story of God's work in the world.  Join God in His work in the world, helping to make it a better place.  Philippians 2:4 urges: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."  Commit to pursue a lifestyle of service.

Accept the missions that God gives you.  God has created you to do great work in the world, and He has a plan to help you do it.  Ask God to help you recognize the abilities He has given you and notice the opportunities to help others that He brings to you.  Pray for the faith you need to overcome fearful feelings and say "yes" to God whenever He calls you to serve, and commit yourself to doing your best for Him.  Don't walk away from tough situations that God wants you to endure to complete a mission He has given you.  Pray for the passion you need to push through the challenges.  Remember that Jesus didn't quit - He carried out His work all the way through dying on the Cross - so as one of His followers, you shouldn't quit on the work He wants you to do.  Pray for the strength you need to remain committed to obeying God, no matter what.  Imagine meeting Jesus at the end of your life on Earth and hearing Him say to you what the master in His parable said in Matthew 25:23: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Original publication date: September 24, 2010