If you’re anything like me, you probably grew up watching super-hero movies, particularly movies about Superman. In case you didn’t know, the “Man of Steel” is said to have had a relatively normal life growing up. Occasionally, he got partial glimpses of his powers, but he didn’t become fully aware of who he is or what his mission was to be until he became a young man, left his hometown of Kansas, and took with him a single crystal that was found in the craft that brought him to Earth. The movies portray that Clark Kent (Superman’s alter ego) felt compelled to throw this crystal into a desolate, icy area and from it grew an incredibly tall stronghold commonly known as his Fortress of Solitude. As the Superman movies unfold, we come to see that Superman uses this place as a refuge when he is hurt, a place to talk to his real father (Jor-El), a place to defend against his enemies, and a place to seek forgiveness when he has done wrong. This image of a stronghold used for good reminds me of Psalms 18:2, which says “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in who I take my refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
As Pastor Bryon pointed out, though, there can also be negative strongholds in our lives, if we allow sin and temptation to overcome us. A great example of this type of imagery can be found in the person of Ludwig II, otherwise known as Mad King Ludwig. You may not know his name, but you’re definitely familiar with his work. The Cinderella castle so frequently featured in Disney films is modeled after a real castle in Germany called Neuschwanstein. Although his people were suffering financially, Ludwig was absolutely obsessed with building a stronghold that had incredible beauty and every imaginable comfort. As the project continued, Ludwig became more and more consumed with greed, isolated from his people, and was eventually declared insane.
Bricks, in and of themselves, are neither good or bad. They are simply raw materials. The real question for us is, “Whose example do we want to follow?” Do we want a stronghold where we can retreat to our Father to seek forgiveness, strength, and shelter from harm? This is what Christ offers us when we freely accept the gift of salvation He has given us. All too often, though, we act like King Ludwig, building our own stronghold brick by brick, based on lies from the enemy such as desires for fame, power, or wealth. In the process, we become isolated from others, consumed with our own sin. I challenge you today to heed the wisdom of Solomon, found in Proverbs 10:29 where he says, “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.” Build your stronghold with the truth of Jesus rather than the lies of the enemy. The fortress of solitude He offers is better than any Cinderella-style castle.
by Paul McCullough
Paul and his family came to Kingsway four years ago, after moving back to the United States from an overseas military tour in Japan. He has been with his bride, Heather, for 21 years and they have been blessed with two great kids, Paul IV and Sarah. Paul is passionate about ministry, working full time at the American Bible Society and engaging at Kingsway in KLS, Growth Track, Next Steps, and LifeGroups. He enjoys spending his spare time reading, building nanoblocks, and watching great movies.