Where is Your Identity?
Are you living life as a victim or a victor?
I love the Kendrick Brothers. Their movies are heartfelt, funny and well done. They tell compelling stories. We like and identify with their everyman characters. Yet, this is not what makes them special as Christian in the movie business. They are much more than just filmmakers. They have uncanny ability to ask pointed timely questions of our society. They do so in a way that the average movie goer can relate to. They also then provide answers that point to Jesus in a way that is approachable and genuine. Their movies are like modern parables – comfortable and enjoyable stories told with a lesson alongside to make learning easier.
Courageous asked and answered the question, “What sort of father do I want to be?” War Room tackled the question of how we look at prayer and its role in the family. Fireproof dealt with what love really looks like in a Jesus honoring household.
Now, with their newest film, Overcomer, the Kendricks take on the core question for every person who claims to follow Jesus:
“Where is your identity from?”
In a fast-paced, media-saturated world, this question is as “ripped from the headlines” as it comes. Are you defined by your job, political party, success, or failure? The answer for every Christian should always be Jesus – only Jesus bought us with a price. Yet, there are a million things that get in the way or challenge for the role of definer.
Who are You?
“Your identity will be whatever you tie your heart to”
John Harrison is a successful basketball coach, father, and teacher. We start the movie with his team narrowly losing a basketball championship. They are all set up to win the following year though and this excites John. His son is one of the stars of his team. John has everything going for him and is eagerly looking forward to next season. John thinks he is winning at life. Jesus is not really part of his scoreboard though.
Hannah Scott is a young girl with asthma. Her parents passed away leaving her to live with her strict overworked grandmother. Her desire for more leads her to try out for the cross country team and commit acts of petty larceny. Very little has gone her way. She is just scraping by day by day. Hannah thinks she is losing at life. Jesus is not part of life.
Thomas is hospitalized for diabetes that took his sight and is working on more. Despite his blindness, there is something different about Thomas. He is not defined by his disability, pain or past….just by Jesus. He is Lord. As a result, despite the circumstances, Thomas is able to rejoice continuously.
A series of events bring these three individuals together. The local plant closes and most of John’s players move away. John loses his team and his son loses his scholarship. John is appointed coach of the school’s cross country team featuring one student – Hannah Scott.
At the same time, John is visiting church members in the hospital when he “accidentally” meets Thomas. It is through Thomas, the bedbound believer in Christ, the central question is asked, “Who are you?” As each character in the movie answers, we see their lives transformed dramatically.
It is wonderful to watch. The Kendrick Brothers always do a great job of conveying Biblical truth in an accessible package. They don’t shy away from hard issues. They simply engage the audience in the problem and the solution. Overcomer is no exception. It is an enjoyable movie we can learn and grow from watching.
The Aroma of Christ
Overcomer uses the relationships between John, Hannah, and Thomas to expose a lie that lurks in many Christians. We believe we are defined by our jobs, success, failure, parents or our victimhood. We are all we can be because someone hurt us greatly or our politics are under attack.
John loses his hopes for next season. Thomas loses his sight. Hannah lost her parents. Hannah’s grandmother who she lives with lost her daughter and freedom. All these things are terribly painful. They are not the whole story. The Bible says we are not victims but victorious:
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37.
God always leads us in triumph despite the circumstances.
The picture Paul is evoking is of an ancient Roman triumphal procession. It was where a victorious Roman general marched into the city before crowds of thousands celebrating his great victory. His army marched behind him in celebration. The battle was over and the victory won.
Paul compares us as Christians to the soldiers and Jesus to the general. He is eternally victorious over sin, death, and this world. We are marching in celebration behind Him.
Does it seem that way? Are we living in His victory? Are we overcomers?
If not, this is likely due to an identity problem. For more read Who I am in Christ
Who are you? What defines you?
What is your answer? Overcomer helps us explore this issue through a great movie. It is touching, inspirational, and filled with great lessons for those with ears to hear.
I highly recommend it!