“I am Optimus Prime:” The lie of self-sufficiency

So how many of us have watched the Transformers movies, or the cartoons, and the Autobots are in trouble, teteering on the edge of defeat and nigh annihilation when Optimus Prime steps onto the scene, wielding some gambit that makes the Autobots transition from the edge of defeat and onto victory? And we all know and see that the victory is because of Optimus; the strongest, wisest, most courageous and cunning of the Autobots?

I am sure we have, and many of us in that moment, we are Optimus Prime. We see ourselves as the hero, the best thing since sliced bread, and we bask in the imaginary glory that we see Optimus has, because to be fair, he has earned it all in the battlefield with blood, sweat and tears. (Technically, oil, diesel and lubricant lol). Now if the movie were all this view of ourselves remained, the inimitable hero, then all would be fine, there would be little need for me to draw this example other than my love for transformers.

However, too often in life as believers, we see ourselves this way, we are the heroes-the saviours of the world around us and nothing really happens well without us. We see the people around us as needing us, and not really us needing them. We are the superman of the world, indestructible, nigh infallible and our word is always the most wise. Why therefore submit to the authority of another we ask? Why would we need accountability, authenticity and vulnerability we think, or rather act out in our lives? It seems to make no sense to us, but the honest truth is reality could not be any more different.

The first thing to be described as not good in the Bible, is man when he was alone. Everything else was right, there was no sin in the world, and He had perfect fellowship with God. But God said it is not good for man to be alone; and I would like to submit to us today that when we are the heroes always, when we are supermen, we create the perfect cocktail of conditions for the spirit of loneliness to grow; and for us to be severed from an authentic connection with a community that truly loves and cares for us. Because we “know it all,” there will be noone able to stand by us or with us when we need a hand to stand with us; and rest assured that moment will come.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ, the perfect man, asked for His disciples to stand with Him and watch with him in prayer for the need of that moment was great. In the life of Paul, a great man of God responsible for the writings of most of the new testament, time and time again he sends for a man to help; with provision, with news, with a coat to keep him warm and a lot more. And if these men needed community, and connection, and submission (Acts 12:2-3; 1 Peter 2: 13-25) to authority, what makes us think we are the ultimate “spiritual ninjas” of the galaxy?

We have been called to walk as community, a united force in this life that is knit one to another. There is no body that consists of arms alone, or feet alone, or eyes alone, but altogether it is knit together as one. The arms need the heart, the heart needs the brain, the skin needs the blood and so on. Only together, can it be a body that is whole and complete and I believe for many of us, we need to embrace this reality over and above whatever hurts and offenses have been done unto us by others.

Because when it comes down to it, “it is not good for a man to be alone,” but “in a multitude of counsel there is safety” and “behold how pleasant and good it is when brethren dwell together in unity.” (Gen 1: Proverbs 24.5; Psalms 133) This is our call-to be a body and not for any of us alone to be Optimus Prime. There is a head already in this body-Jesus, and He will not be stepping down from His rightful role for anyone.


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