I Am, the Hero

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Thankfully, God continues to work on me and lets me be a part of His plan. I am not the hero; I Am is the hero.

Maybe Paul’s military imagery in this section of 2 Corinthians inspires the heart of every young man, but as I was a new recruit to Wycliffe Bible Translators, this verse became sort of my “war cry.”

I had heard the stories of warrior missionaries who persisted through cultural stresses and hardship, devoting their entire lives to translating the Bible so others could understand it clearly. I had seen the videos of these godly legends celebrating the completion of a New Testament in a local language. The excitement was contagious. The war was on! I couldn’t wait! I was ready to take on the enemy and demolish his strongholds.

However, after missionary training, language learning and five years spent surveying the language group I would serve, when my team was finally ready to begin our actual translation work, we were told that it might be better to start training other coworkers instead.

“No way,” I thought. “That wasn’t the plan, God!” I resisted our leaders, who wanted us to move in this direction. I made excuses. I followed my own plans. I wanted the Bible translator to be me, not someone else. I didn’t want to train others. I wanted to be the hero!

And there it was — my huge ego staring back at me, my desire to be the hero. I started seeing it all over the place. When I looked back at previous newsletters I’d sent home, references to me, myself and I stood out like a white missionary in a village marketplace. “My work,” “my language program,” “my people.” I gave, I preached, I witnessed. In the village, I was a star. “You’re so tall,” people often told me. “You speak our language.” “You’re so smart.” Even when I returned home for a break on furlough, my ego had a feast. “Your commitment is astounding,” friends and family gushed. “I admire your sacrifice.” “You’re an example to all of us.”

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. – 2 Cor. 10:5

I hadn’t done a good job applying 2 Corinthians 10:5 to my own life. My ego was a proud obstacle — a high thing that rose up against God. I didn’t capture those arrogant thoughts and lead them into captivity. I had my own plan, but God is the only one who orchestrates the salvation of others. Thankfully he continues to work on me and lets me be a part of his plan. I am not the hero; I Am is the hero.

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