Years ago, my three oldest daughters loved watching the Dreamworks movie, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002). One afternoon, I finally sat, and with the eyes of a child of God, watched it with them. The adventuresome movie surprisingly lifted my spirit and inspired me in my faith as I identified keenly with the main character, Spirit. In fact, I still like to watch it once a year, especially if I need a boost.
Matt Damon narrates while Brian Adams sings the theme song and others. While some may argue semantics over plot details and specific lyrics, the big picture spiritual significance of the film for me is uncanny.
Horses and eagles symbolize strength and freedom (Is. 40:31, Jer. 4:13). They introduce and carry the themes of adventure, challenge, and freedom throughout the film. The wind, a symbol of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8), calls by name the main character, Spirit, a mustang stallion. Lyrics sound, “I hear the wind call my name. It calls me back home again…It sparks up the fire (2 Tim. 1:6), a flame that still burns… I will always return…. In the hour of darkness, your light gets me through… I can’t stand the distance (homesick)… I can’t wait to see you cause I’m on my way home.”
Spirit’s extended equine family lives together on a peaceful plain he calls home. This place to me is the Sabbath Rest, the Promised Land, of Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:11). Spirit, a strong and willful leader, sometimes must learn lessons the hard way. In curiosity, he initially ventures off from the herd to investigate a campsite full of humans, something he had never before seen. In his failure to mind his own business, to his surprise, the men capture him (Rom. 7:24, 1 Pet.5:8-9).
His choice to investigate places he was not invited is likened to trespassing (Matt. 6:14, 1 Thes. 4:11). The trespass brings him more than he bargained for, inviting strongholds which take hold of him, landing him in the fight of his life (Js. 4:7) to survive, escape and find home again. After escape attempts, they capture him twice more. Finding along his journey a lovely mare, Rain, and a Lakota companion, he spends the rest of the story fighting to escape the bondages which hold him and return to the peace and freedom of his blessed home (Gal. 5:13).
Throughout his adventures, he longs for the freedom he once knew and is absolutely determined to return (Joel 2:12). He knows that freedom (Gal. 5:13) is where he belongs (Heb. 4:11). His challenge grows in how to return, and ultimately, how to stay there (Ps. 84:10).
The turning point in the film occurs when they capture him the third time and finally, he experiences brokenness (Ps. 51:17, 34:18). But dawning in his spirit, truth raises him up from despair as he remembers who he is. The lyrics sound, “Remember who you are (2 Cor 5:17)” and “You’re a soldier (2 Tim. 2:4) now, fighting in a battle to be free once more (Gal. 5:13). That’s worth fighting for (1 Tim. 6:12).” He makes a final escape.
In the last escape with his Indian buddy riding on his back, Spirit gets cornered and finds himself hardpressed between facing recapture or probable death. He chooses the latter. With his whole heart, he charges and vaults across a vast, impassable canyon. Unbelievably, with faith and courage carrying him across, he lands safely (Matt. 19:26) on the other side. Spirit then stands in victory facing the enemy (Js. 4:7).
To me, this final scene represents faith (Luke 17:5) grown strong and stretched long to land in Psalm 27:4-6. In fact, it illustrates accurately the LORD’S strategic maneuver in my life which led me to jump, like Spirit did, across the impassable canyon of unbelief to rest in a new territory.
For some, Spirit is just another kids movie, but for me, it’s much more than that. It holds the story of my personal spiritual journey. Gidee-up!
SPIRIT SONG THEMES:
Brothers Under the Sun
Christ is our brother (Heb 2:14,15 ) under the sun (Eccl.1:9) who became a man “just the same” as we are (Heb 2:14,15) and is with us in every circumstance (Heb 13:5).
Fly Like an Eagle
Listening and following (John 10:27) the Holy Spirit down the long and difficult road of life leading to your home in heaven; wanting to grow closer to Christ (Ps. 42:2); seeing Him work things for good (Rom. 8:28); knowledge, hope and faith carrying you through the valleys (Ps. 23:4); learning to fly on eagles wings (Is. 40:31); always returning to Him.
Get Off My Back
Message to the enemy of your soul: Enough! (Js. 4:7) Stop harassing me, bullying me, tempting me, distracting me (Matt. 16:23). I’m divorcing myself from you in every way (Eph 6:14a). Deciding to release every idol (Is. 31:7), press in and go deep into Christ where the enemy loses access (Ps. 47:4-6).
Here I Am
Finding the Sabbath Rest and wanting to stay there forever (Heb 4:11). “Here I am. This is me. There’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather be…” Here I am, empty-handed. I offer myself to You. Do with me as You will. Cause me to agree with You to do Your will.
I Will Always Return
Holy Spirit drawing you closer stirring up the flame within (2 Tim. 1:6) and speaking to your spirit; “my every road leads to you” working all things for the good (Rom. 8:28) and leading you through the valleys (Ps.23:4); wanting to bathe in the Living Waters (John 7:38) and be warmed by the light of Christ (John 8:12). Whatever happens, I will always return to You.
Nothing I’ve Ever Known
Sabbath Rest is a place that few find and even fewer stay (Heb. 4:11). It’s nothing humans have ever known. The Holy Spirit calls us there and leads us there, in unpredictable and mysterious ways.
Sound the Bugle
Song of brokenness and despair leads to soul restoration in truth by remembering who you are in Christ. You are a soldier and you must fight for the freedom that God gives you. Lay down your idols. Fight, not with your own power, but with grace and truth (John 1:14).
This is Where I Belong
Returning to the peace and freedom of the Sabbath Rest when you’ve forgotten or been distracted and drifted away (Zech. 1:3).
You Can’t Take Me
Song to the enemy of your soul. He can’t have you because you’re in Christ. Christ gave you freedom and you will find it and live in it. Feeling bullied to leave the Rest of God; moving through troubles; fighting with grace and truth; Holy Spirit moving inside you leading you to recognize and release idols (enemy targets) which leads to freedom; paradoxically making every effort (Heb. 4:11) to stay there deep inside of Christ where you hide protected from the enemy (Ps. 47:4-6).
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Jeremiah 4:13 “Behold, he goes up like clouds, And his chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are swifter than eagles Woe to us, for we are ruined!”
John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
Hebrews 4:11 Let us, therefore, give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience.
Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
1 Peter 5:8-9 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Ephesians 6:14a Stand firm
Isaiah 31:7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
1 Thes 4:11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.
Psalm 84:10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].
Psalm 27:4-6 The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when troubles come. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies.
2 Timothy 2:4 and as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in worldly affairs, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Zechariah 1:3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty.
Luke 17:5 “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Hebrews 2:14-15 Therefore, since [these His] children share in flesh and blood [the physical nature of mankind], He Himself in a similar manner also shared in the same [physical nature, but without sin], so that through [experiencing] death He might make powerless (ineffective, impotent) him who had the power of death—that is, the devil— and [that He] might free all those who through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is that which will be [again], And that which has been done is that which will be done again. So there is nothing new under the sun.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “>I will never [under any circumstances] desert you[nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you[assuredly not]!”
John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.
Matthew 16:23 But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on things of God, but on things of man.”
2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.