The Heart of a Captain

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

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The Heart of a Captain

By Michelle Ochen

Relationships own great power to build up or tear down. Have you ever reconnected with someone after a long period of time and sensed a definite change in their demeanor? Often it is due to a new relationship in their life–their smile seems to beam from ear to ear; other times, it is a sadness of heart perhaps from a loss or great sorrow experienced. Relationships shape our life. The influence of one life upon another holds impact. A relationship can shape a person into greater confidence and health or it can bring insecurity and pain. Many types of relationships can be pursued in life: friendship, family, working, romantic, but of all the relationships available, only the spiritual relationship with God through Christ will leave the heart transformed in a unquenchable way.

In the Marvel film, Captain America, we meet Steve Rogers, a young awkward lad who does not look like much to those around him, but he is described as “a good man.” He seeks to do the honorable thing and refuses to give up despite continued rejection. His noble heart is noticed by one who was able to see beyond the physical and had the resources to build him into a strong man. The doctor knew that the true strength of a hero was found in the heart, not in his abilities.

Steve Rogers was not chosen to be Captain America because he was the most handsome or strong but because he had a brave heart. He was set on doing the right thing and that made him stand out in the eyes that mattered. From the least expected, he was chosen to become the admired Captain America.

There is a story in Scripture that parallels the same lesson. Samuel was directed by God to anoint the next King for the nation of Israel. He came to the home of Jessi to choose one of his sons, one by one they presented themselves and although some were quite the catch, the Lord did not choose any. The tallest was not chosen, nor the strongest, even the most handsome was not the one. After all the options the world would have said are a good match, Jessi called for his last son to come. David, a young boy with a good heart was the one that God chose. In the moment of Samuel looking at the sons of Jessi, the Lord discloses a wonderful truth about His perspective, “For I do not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7). Just as the doctor did not choose Steve Rogers because of his physical stature, God does not choose us for our physical but for the condition of our hearts. For when a heart is set upon good, the other things are secondary. A good heart grows into a great character when given the right environment to grow.

Once Steve Rogers was chosen for his good heart, the experiment was able to move forward because they could trust the good heart to remain when the physical changed. If Steve Rogers heart was full of the impurities of pride and self-conceit then becoming captain America would create a monster. The world needed a hero, not someone who was proud to be a captain. It was the heart of Steve that made him capable of becoming Captain America externally but remaining Steve internally. It was the pure pursuit of being a good man that made him a great hero. He put others before himself and kept a humble heart in the midst of physical gain and abilities.

 It is the same for us in our walks with God. You may feel like life has left you weak, tired, and downcast. Or perhaps you feel like you will never be of any real impact in this life. Instead of looking at you in the mirror, I want to challenge you to look beyond. Look for your heart in the mirror. What is the reflection and condition of your heart? God does not see the way that we see one another, when He looks at you, He is looking at your heart, and when He sees a heart set on the purity and simplicity of simply wanting to follow Him, He leads that heart to greatness and pours into it all it needs to be strong, healed, and healthy again. He prepares the heart for great tasks He has prepared. So today, ask yourself, what is the condition of my heart? The mark of a hero is not found in the outward, but in the heart. From a healthy heart will spring a healthy life.