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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Mark of the Lion


The four of us were gathered in the family room watching a movie.  Although I bought "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" for Blue Ray which included the digital copy, our small TV could only play the regular DVD.  Why do I spend the money?  I really need the additional features.  I'm sure there's a lesson in there, but I haven't discovered it, yet.  Hmmmmm. 

The movie adaptation of the book to movie was well done.  Actually, high definition would have been incredible.  I don't think C.S. Lewis intended for "Dawn Treader" to follow along any particular passage of the bible.  But like many of his stories, there were certain themes and biblical messages.  My favorite part was the portion where Eustace became a dragon.  Poor Eustace!  He let his greed get a hold of him.  It changed him.  That's what happens with sin.  You sin once and it becomes a root to larger ones.  But during the time he was a dragon, Eustace performed many feats of valor.  Pulling the ship when rations were down.  Fighting a sea serpent head on.  As he put it towards the end of the movie, "Truth be told, I think I was a better dragon than a human."

But Eustace didn't stay a dragon.  After being pierced with a sword, he flies to a lone island and collapses.  In an effort to peal the dragon skin off, Eustace begins to claw at himself.  In the book, he's partially successful, only to see another layer of dragon skin under the one that's torn.  Finally, he looks up and sees an enormous lion approaching him.  Aslan.  C.S. Lewis uses Aslan in his series to represent Jesus.  Aslan reaches out with one of his paws and drags it against the sandy beach.  Claw marks appear to scrape against Eustace's dragon skin.  Aslan does it again.  And again.  Eustace rises in the air, surrounded by golden light and is changed.  The dragon skin disappears and the boy returns.

The incident really is dramatic, and doesn't vary too much from the book.  But it's what Aslan says in the book that makes the point.  "Only I can remove the skin."

It happens to all of us.  When we're toddlers and learning to talk, one of the first ones out of our mouth is "no"!  Of course, we learned it from our parents, or siblings, or care providers.  Selfishness sets in early.  It's like that sin of greed that took hold of Eustace.  And it becomes second nature to us.  Spreading rumors in grade school.  Materialism in high school.  Greed and prestige out of college.  It stays with us.  The desire to see others hurt.  Hoarding for oneself when the family needs food and the love a parent. Yes, there is a nobility in the human race.  We seek to love, to stand by others, and to help.  But sin is natural to us.  And although we claw at it and read all the self-help books or attend therapy sessions, that sin does not come off entirely.  There is only one who can wrench that skin completely from us.

Jesus.

A rich man approached Jesus.  His purpose may have been pure, or it may have been to display his own righteousness before others.  "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  It's not an uncommon question.  At least he had the boldness to ask it.  "...You know the commandments. Do not commit adultery.  Do not kill.  Do not steal.  Do not bear false witness.  Honor your mother and father," Jesus replied.  The young man replied that he had done that since he was a child.  "But one thing you lack: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, then you will have riches in heaven."  The young man went away unhappy.  Jesus' followers asked who could possibly be saved if this man couldn't? Jesus' reply was for every person born,"With people it's impossible, but all things are possible with God."

Take a moment to look at your heart.  On a curve, we all seem pretty good.  We might feed the poor, or not kill, or not steal (at least not from businesses, though that extra dollar on top of our parent's dresser is open for the taking!).  But when it comes to who God is and what counts in His view, we all fall short.  Jesus words "with people it's impossible" includes us all.

But the purpose of drawing close to Jesus isn't about making oneself better.  It's not just overcoming drugs, anger, hatred, selfishness or lust.  It has everything to do with who he is and his presence in your life.  God, who created heaven and earth, who parted a Red Sea to bring freedom to Moses and the Israelites, who reached down into a stone grave and raised Jesus up from the death...that same One wants you to walk with Him and know Him.  Starting now and going on through forever.  It's not just a one-time removal of some old dragon skin; God wants you to know life that that flows from your heart and to walk in the joy.  And that comes with reaching out and taking Jesus' hand.

Take that moment now.  Open up the bible and read about God and His love for you in the book of Matthew.  And open your heart to Him.  Just simply say, "God, I want to know you.  Please forgive me for my selfishness and sins.  I'm sorry for what I've done against you and others.  I believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose again to give me life.  Come into my heart, Jesus, and make me new."

It's not impossible for that dragon skin to come off, but only Jesus can remove it.   His promise is true.  "Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.  Old things pass away, behold all things become new."  Open your heart to him and receive the life that he has for you.

4 comments:

  1. Wonderful connection to the movie! Thank you for sharing! :)

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    1. Thanks, Anny! It reminds me of your post, "Sick of Sin, but There's a Hope Within." (http://bibleevidences.blogspot.ca/2012/12/sick-of-sin.html). "See? All we need is faith in Him, the one who created us, breathed in us the breath of life."

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  2. My kids love that movie. Great application.

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  3. Thanks, Jason. I liked reading your post "The God of Hope (or wrath)". God is faithful to his word. "This means that those who trust in Christ can rest in the fact that Jesus has paid their price and they have redemption so that they will live eternally by the promise of God." Those who trust in Jesus can know that God's grace covers them and changes them. http://jrv773.blogspot.com/2012/01/god-of-hope-or-wrath-luke-146-56.html

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