The Making of a Spiritual Superhero

The Making of a Spiritual Superhero

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When King Saul had finally exhausted the Lord’s mercy because of his evil deeds, He sent the prophet Samuel to anoint a new king from the sons of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1-13). As each of the seven strong, good-looking men were brought before Samuel, the Lord said, “no, not him!” It was so strange, Samuel asked Jesse, Are you sure these are all your sons? And Jesse had to reply, Well, I guess, there is the boy, but he is out taking care of the sheep!

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An Unlikely Candidate

Person choosing a red peg from a line of white pegs

“And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.’ So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:11-13).

Young David appeared an unlikely choice to become a spiritual superhero in the Kingdom of God. He was relegated to do the lowest family chore — taking care of the sheep. His family was not noteworthy; they were an average, typical family of the day.

Additionally, some scholars believe that David was likely an illegitimate child, fathered by Jesse out of wedlock. This theory would explain why Jesse did not immediately call David to stand before Samuel alongside his seven brothers. It would also give context to Psalm 51:5, in which David wrote:

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).

All this made David an unlikely candidate to be selected as Israel’s greatest king, through whose lineage the Messiah would come. And yet David went from obscurity to popularity, from overlooked to prominence, and from rags to riches under the selection and anointing of God. And he was counted among the superheroes of the faith by his induction into the Hebrews “Hall of Faith”:

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to fight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:32-34).

We love David’s story because it reminds us “average” people that God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). And that even those individuals whom society keeps hidden in the shadow of shame or obscurity are never without hope. God can and does elevate the “unlikely” to the status of superhero of the faith.

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The Making of a Superhero

Woman thinking about being strong

God is committed to bringing out the best in each and every one of us average people, and making us into spiritual superheroes.

When all other people see is the “shepherd boy” in us, God is committed to making us more and more like Jesus. He’s committed to bringing out the gifts He put in us and using our story for His great glory. So how can we cooperate with God to become spiritual superheroes? 

Stay Faithful

David’s story started when God decided to “impeach” Israel’s King Saul. No congressional hearings, no investigation – just straight up impeachment! 

As we previously read in 1 Samuel 16, God directed His prophet Samuel to go and anoint His choice for the next king. Samuel looked over each man as a possible choice, but the anointing oil did not flow out until God’s choice showed up. 

When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who got there before you. It doesn’t matter whether someone interviewed for the job the day before you. It doesn’t matter if someone got an earlier start or inside information. When God has something for you, the oil will not flow until you arrive.

That’s why you don’t have to take shortcuts or try to get success the wrong way. God will make sure what He has for you will get to you.

Young David came into the room, and in front of his father and elder brothers, God says that’s him. Rise and anoint him; he is the one I have chosen.

And so David was anointed for his assignment in life.  

Whenever God creates a person for an assignment, a mission or a destiny to fulfill, there will also be the enablement to do it though just the right gifts and talents. So any time the devil tries to convince you that you can’t, just remind him that you are anointed, and that you can do all things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13)

We usually think of the word “Christ” as referring to the Anointed One, Jesus; but it also refers to His anointing. That means, His anointing on you makes you divinely equipped to fulfill the expectations that God has for you.

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Be Patient and Humble

Silhouette of a man kneeling in prayer in the fog

After the high of being anointed to be king by the most noteworthy prophet in the land, David returned to the fields and his flock of stinky sheep.

Now I believe this is why many believers never become true superheroes in the faith. When God reveals His assignment to them, and gives them His anointing, they refuse to stay faithful until God opens the proper doors for them to fulfill their assignment.

David could have said, I’m not going back to tending sheep! Didn’t you all see that God chose me to be king! Kings don’t sweat in the field, kings chill in the palace!

But in God’s way of working, it’s our faithfulness in the field that makes us fit to stand the pressures of the palace. It’s faithfulness in obscurity that makes a person ready to be used by God in a place of prominence. Indeed, I would argue it’s a spiritual principle: God elevates people to more responsibility after they have demonstrated faithfulness in smaller things (Matthew 25:21).

So David, freshly dripping with oil, returned to being faithful in the field and waited for God’s perfect timing. And God opened a door suddenly and supernaturally:

“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.’ So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.’ Then one of the servants answered and said, ‘Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.’ Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, ‘Send me your son David, who is with the sheep’” (1 Samuel 16:14-19).

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Work On Your Gifts

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David got summoned to the palace in God’s time because he had remained faithful to his calling in the field. And what was David faithfully doing while in the field? Preparing. He was honing important skills and talents, maturing in years and in godly character. Look again at how he was described to King Saul:

“…skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him” (1 Samuel 16:18).

David was being faithful in the field by perfecting the gifts God had given him. Faithfulness is not just being present, it’s about being prepared!

He honed his musical skill before sheep, so it was fit to play before royalty. He trained in weapons and the art of war, to be useful to the King’s army. David wasn’t sitting around waiting for opportunity to come to him; he focused on perfecting his God-given gifts, in faith, so that they would be ready when needed for his assignment.

Faithfulness not only means sticking with something, but it also means committing yourself to hours of preparation. If we are not faithful in honing our gifts, if we are not prepared, why would God elevate us into a place where we would certainly fail?

“A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:1).

Your gifts are an important part of becoming a superhero in the Kingdom of God. Commit to becoming the best you can be!

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Know Who You Are in Christ

man pointing up one God

Have you ever noticed that in almost all the superhero movies, these individuals (like Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker) don’t want anyone to know their true identity as a superhero? They hide their identity because they don’t need public praise. They know who they are.

And if you are going to be a superhero in God’s kingdom, you too have to know who you are! In fact, the enemy will often try to prevent you from seeing who you actually are in Christ in order to block your progress and defeat your destiny. He will send “identity assassins” to discourage us and cause us to quit.

As David was preparing to step into his role as Israel’s greatest king, the enemy sent several identity assassins to take him out by instilling a faulty identity:

Jesse, his father, did not call him to the meeting with Samuel. His message: you’re shameful, not king material. I am not proud of you, and I don’t see great success in you (1 Samuel 16).

His brother unjustly criticized his motives after David took bread and cheese to him while standing in opposition to Goliath and the Philistines (1 Samuel 17). His message: who do you think you are? You don’t belong here; you are insignificant. You are arrogant, but you are nothing more than a sheep herder.

However God publicly anointed David; because he knew who he was, David was equipped to defeat every identity assassin the enemy sent his way.

Gift Stacking and God’s Plan

Regardless of his brother’s criticism, David went before Saul to volunteer to fight Goliath (since no one else would step up). Presumably, Saul knew David as a gifted palace musician. But on this day, David was called on to display his battle skills, a gift that was much more important at that moment in time. 

It’s not just one gift, one opportunity, or one life experience. On your way to becoming a superhero in God’s Kingdom, He will draw on all these things and stack them to align with His plan, purpose and for His glory. Remember, the harp got David into the palace; skill with a weapon got David into the King’s inner circle; and ultimately, years later, his godly character and persistence got David onto the throne of Israel. 

And for all of us on our way to becoming God’s next superheroes, He will use the gifts we have and experiences we go through, to align us with our destiny. Our job is to simply remain faithful, become excellent in our gifts and talents, know who we are in Christ, and trust God to elevate us into position in His perfect time.

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Frank SantoraFrank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Good Good Father. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit Photo by Michele Roman.