Okay, titling this piece after a quote from “Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor” may seem totally frivolous, but there’s a method in my obvious madness.
Popeye is perpetually involved in the war between good and evil, but the only way he can win is to keep a can of spinach handy. Of course, you can see the spiritual parallel; we’re helpless against our enemy Satan without God’s Holy Spirit, but he doesn’t come in a can.
Another Popeye parallel is his motto: “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.” That applies to us directly, as our pretenses never determine who or what we are. You can act religious all day every day, get to church first and leave last, and keep a sanctimonious frown tattooed on your face, but if you haven’t submitted to Jesus out of love and gratitude for what he did for you, it’s all a pretense.
The last parallel I have is a bit of a stretch; In the Sindbad cartoon, Popeye said, “Open says me,” when he wanted entry to Sindbad’s treasure-cave.” God’s Holy Spirit says to us, “Open your heart and mind to me.” It’s possible to sincerely profess faith in Christ without ever opening your heart to him. Are you not sure if that describes you? Ask yourself if you open your heart to your pastor, your brethren, your family and friends, and even your enemies. Do you open your mind to God’s Word? True Christ-followers practice God’s love, giving themselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us.
Clever—or not-so clever—cartoon parallels aside, Christ will hold each of us accountable for our response to his total sacrifice for us. Are you a child of God through Christ Jesus, or just a pretender?