You know, we can have a lot of fun taking personality tests on the Web. In recent weeks I’ve found out what great world leader I’m most like (John F. Kennedy), what classic movie I am (“Schindler’s List”) and who I’d be in 1400 (a Lord, see post below). These may not necessarily be things to be proud of, but they’re not as bad as being an expendable wine taster, Josef Stalin or “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
Actually, the movie I most identify with right now is “The Incredibles.” Here’s why: besides being hip, smart and fun for the whole family (like me), the movie has an interesting premise. In it, superheroes are forced by society to go underground and live anonymous lives, hiding their super powers. One family in particular struggles to keep a low profile as well as deal with the more mundane issues of daily family dynamics.
It wasn’t much of a stretch for me to see the allegory between the lives of the superheroes in the movie and the lives of committed Christians in our own world. The superheroes made the rest of the world uncomfortable with their powers and lifestyle and were forced to appear “normal.” In the same way there is a great deal of pressure from the world for Christians to keep their faith and spiritual gifts undercover so as not to make others uncomfortable – even though in both examples these gifts have the power to “save” the world.
What gifts or “supernatural” powers am I talking about?
I don’t want to hash doctrines and parse scripture here, but there are certain motivational or relationship gifts outlined in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4 that I think most Christians will recognize. Simply, God has gifted believers with certain special abilities to both bolster our local fellowship, influence the world around us for the better and to serve the causes of truth, justice and righteousness. Do you know what your secret identity is? Are you Exhorter Man or Giver Girl? Maybe Super Server? Actually I made up those names, but the attributes are among nine gifts identified in this Spiritual Gifts test.
It will take you about 20 minutes to complete and I assure you the results will have a more profound affect on the way you see yourself and those around you than finding out if you would have been a Knight or a Knave. (I may have one or two doctrinal quibbles with the test itself, but I think it’s basically sound and includes a useful analysis on how to make the most of your gift and what spiritual “kryptonite” you have to be on-guard for. Personally I came out with Exhorter, Giver, Teacher as my three strongest gifts).
A couple of other similarities between “The Incredibles” and real life: even the kid Incredibles had special abilities, and that’s true for us as well. We’ve seen specific gifts at work within our daughters from an early age. Finally, the greatest enemy of both the superheroes in the movie and for Christians today (indeed, of all time) is an imposter who offers counterfeits of the real thing in the hopes of leaving the world at his mercy. If you’re a believer and haven’t had the time or boldness to examine what “super powers” God has given to you, I strongly urge you to use this test as a starting point and then look for ways to develop these gifts in your family, congregation and community.
Remember, as Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”