A place of writing and reflection…
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Our girls love movies. Their current one of which is Disney’s Moana, (Spoiler alert) about a young girl answering the call she has been given by the ocean to make the demi god Maui redeem himself for cursing the world.
It’s a cute movie really. And very, very catchy.
Our two and three year old have started singing along with it.
I can sing along pretty well I think. Haha.
Along the story arch I noticed something.
Maui, though and demi god, is concerned about how people view him. Their opinion about him matters, and he does what he thinks will make everyone happy with him.
He does everything from pulling up the sky, stealing fire from down below, to lassoing the sun and harnessing the breeze. He goes so far as the claim that he is the reason for much of the things men have including their coconuts.
He seems a bit prideful maybe?
But later in the movie we find the truth behind Maui’s arrogance when he is faced with the bitter truth:
Abandoned as an infant, Maui was rescued, renamed and repurposed, though his purpose is not explicitly mentioned. Though abandoned by people, Maui returned to mankind to give them everything he thought they could ever ask for.
But in the end he messes up, curses the world, and disappoints everyone.
The self proclaimed hero, as Moana points out has become no hero at all.
Maui is just a failure demi god in need of a reality check on his dependency for human approval and the crutch of his false sense of strength he gets from that giant fish hook.
Maui has done everything in his life up to this point out of his own “strength” which really wasn’t much strength at all.
Fortunately for us, we don’t have to really on our own strength or self image to keep us afloat.
On the contrary, the Bible tells us, as Christians, quite the opposite.
In the book of John, chapter 12 we see a story of the religious leaders of the day—the Pharisees—who found their self image in what people looked up to them to be, rather than what they were called to be.
For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Jesus on many occasions called out the religious leaders of the day because they had gotten so use to their high positions, that they had forgotten what they were suppose to do. Or in the theme of Disney’s Moana, they had forgotten WHO they were.
The Pharisees were suppose to teach the people God’s law and show everyone the right and wrong way to things according to the Law established by God through Moses. However, just like Maui, they let all the attention go to their heads. Not only that, but they also lived life afraid of other’s opinions.
Thus their judgement in all things was skewed and based off what others would think or say.
In John 12 the Pharisees didn’t want to call Jesus a liar because of all the people. But they didn’t want to say he told the truth either for fear of contradicting themselves.
How many times have we done that to ourselves?
We live in a world that promotes our lives be lived around and concerning the opinions of everyone else—everyone else other than the One whose opinion really matters—God’s.
We try to offend or not to offend based on what another might think. We parent our children based on what someone else might say.
I put that weight on myself.
Sometimes at church I’m paraniod about what other parents might think if our girls dance in the aisles during worship or when our youngest cries for a bottle. What parent can’t help but get stares when you have to cart your crying child out for a diaper change or teething gel?
But it happens.
And we all get pretty self-conscious about it.
Sometimes we get like Maui and put the whole of our God-given identity in the people around us. What we are really doing is saying, “God Your opinion doesn’t count. So-n-so’s does.”
I’m guilty of it.
We all are.
Adam and Eve took the identity God had given them and exchanged it for the words of a snake.
And from that moment, our world became cursed.
But thankfully we don’t have to rely on hunting down banished demi gods who put us in this mess and fish us back out of it.
Christ already did that.
And in doing so He gave us back the identity Adam and Eve lost for us so very long ago: that we are children of God. Created and molded by Him, for Him.
Not for people.
Not for our neighbors.
Not for our pets.
Not for our property or possessions—or fish hooks.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection a group of the Apostles where taken before the Sanhedrin, or Jewish Synagogue leadership, and questioned about their Gospel telling and demanded to stop to which they answered:
Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
The apostles took their identity from Christ. Not the words or judgement of men, no matter their position could convince them otherwise.
Now they, too, weren’t perfect as Peter was later finding himself way too concerned of Jewish opinion should he be seen “hanging out with the wrong crowd“. Thanks to Paul reminding him, Peter was able to continue living and preaching with his identity planted in Jesus and the purpose he had been given.
Not a purpose given by men, or driven by men.
But a purpose planted in sharing God’s Word as He had always intended.
Let’s not be Mauis with our lives focused on pleasing someone else. It will never be enough.
What’s more, we’ll eventually end up disappointing whoever it is we’re attempting to please in the first place.
Put your identity in the One who made you. You’ll be glad you did.