Not only did we celebrate America’s birth yesterday, but I also got to celebrate Kevin Durant deciding to join the Golden State Warriors.
Durant was the most sought after free agent in the NBA this year. He is one of the NBA’s five best players and he is leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors in his prime. I didn’t really think he would join the Warriors, but when the news broke I was ecstatic. I let out a little scream that scared my daughter and made her cry.
As this new reality set in, I realized that I’m now a fan of the most hated team in all of the NBA. People were already starting to turn on the Warriors, but adding another superstar to an already historically good team is too much to bear. So I’ll proudly wear my Golden State Warriors gear knowing full well that I may not find as much support as I once did. Because even in the NBA we need a villain.
The problem with everyday life, though, is that it’s hard to find the villain. All of our favorite stories are filled with notable and memorable villains.
When we look at our daily lives, though, we don’t really see a villain. We don’t see an embodiment of our struggles that inspires us to keep fighting and going forward. If anything we see a to-do list that is too long or a day with too many tasks and too few hours. Nothing would have inspired the armies of Middle-earth gathered at the Black Gates more than knowing they were fighting against a lengthy to-do list.
We don’t have a villain so our lives feel a little lackluster. Instead of feeling like the heroes on our own story, we feel like the other people who bought droids not named Artoo or Threepio. We feel like our choices and our actions don’t have any significance and we’re lost to anonymity.
Paul reminds us, though, that our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood. Our struggle isn’t against villainous megalomaniacs bent on world destruction. Our struggle is against the dark powers at work in this world. We may not be able to see them. They may not wear black capes. But they’re there, and God has called us to partner with him in beating back those villains.
We see those dark powers at work through injustice and oppression. We also see them in our own lives as we’re tempted by sin. When we stand up to them, both in our own lives and in the world around us, we are making a stand for all that is good and right. We stand hand-in-hand with God, joining him in his mission to rescue this world and bring it back to its original intention. We stare our villain in the face, knowing that the war has already been won and we stand victorious between a cross and an empty grave.