I just finished watching the film adaptations of C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, one of my favorites of all time. The movies are meant to tell spiritual messages and the Gospel itself is written all through them. With Aslan representing the Lion of Judah and Yeshua and the children who are the kings and queens of Narnia (the kingdom of heaven) representing us, the entire series is riddled with incredible spiritual symbolism, amazing subtleties, and hidden messages. I wanted to share a few from the third movie that really hit me good.
- "If one doesn't have belief, he doesn't have anything."
How true this is. Sometimes when life is just so difficult that you don't know how you're going to handle it, belief and trust in "Aslan" is the only thing you have. Without belief (in Aslan), one has nothing.
- "To defeat the darkness out there, you must first defeat the darkness inside yourself."
This is a powerful spiritual truth. All too often, well-meaning followers of Christ pledge their lives to fight spiritual battles and serve their King but have no idea that their efforts are virtually meaningless until they defeat the darkness that lurks inside themselves. It's easy to help fight someone else's battles. It's not so easy to face the giants in our own lives. But until we tear down the giants of fear, rejection, and the demons that plague us from within, we will never truly be useful in the army of Yahweh. If all of His children would focus more on their own faults and less on the faults of others, a true army would be birthed at which Satan would tremble.
- "You doubt your value. Don't run from who you are."
In the movie, Lucy gets caught up wishing that she was as beautiful as her older sister, Susan. This desire to become something other than what she was created to be overtakes her and, in effect, destroys her because she doesn't realize that she wishes herself away. Aslan shows up and speaks this truth to her and I believe Yeshua would say the same thing. All too often we do not see the value in ourselves that Yahweh sees in us. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and wishing we were like that person or this person, when the entire time the Lion of Judah had a purpose in creating us just the way we are. Yeshua says YOU have value and are perfect just the way you are. Don't slander the Creator for the way He made you. You are made in His image. Don't doubt your value. "Don't run from who you are."
- "There is enough (food) for all who are welcome at Aslan's table."
This scene is a powerful one that features a long table filled with food for each of those there. The blue star that was in the sky as their guide comes down in the form of an angel (angels are called stars in the Bible) and welcomes them to the table of the King of kings (Aslan). It seems that it is just in our very nature as humans to covet the food that the Father has given to another instead of realizing this most powerful truth...that there is enough for ALL who are welcome. But not everyone is welcome. In order to qualify for a seat, we must first be willing to embark on the journey to begin with, a journey whose sole purpose is to be a part of His great army to defeat the evil that is destroying His creation. When will we stop looking at the food (spiritual gifts, physical talents, blessings) that are on everyone else's plate and be thankful for what He put on OUR plate?
- "Violence is forbidden at the table of Aslan."
In the same scene, the children who are the kings and queens of Narnia and are in search of the seventh sword to lay at the table of Aslan come upon three missing lords. They appear at one end of the table and are covered with thorns. They are alive but in a suspended sleep state. When Edmund asks what happened to them, the angel replies, "They were threatening violence upon each other. Violence is forbidden at the table of Aslan. So they were put to sleep." This is a powerful allusion that teaches us a spiritual principle. Yahweh simply does not allow people who threaten violence upon another brother to eat from His table or experience His presence. It's incredibly similar to the scripture in the gospel that says, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24). When we choose to go to war with each other, whether we believe it's warranted or not, both parties are immediately rejected from eating at the table. The angel says that the lords will remain in suspended sleep until "all is put right." The next time you decide to attack your brother or sister for any reason, even if it's warranted, calculate the cost and remember that you will immediately be removed from the King's table as "violence is forbidden at the table of" Yeshua.
- In one of the best speeches given in all of the Narnia movies, Prince Caspian speaks to his crew right before they face the enemy in battle, encouraging them to remember why they're fighting. It's a speech appropriate for every single one of us today."
Now is not the time to fall to fierce temptations. Be strong! Never give in! Our world, our Narnian world (The Kingdom of Heaven) depends on it. Think of the lost souls that we are here to save! Think of Aslan (Yeshua)! Think of Narnia (the Kingdom)!"
Every decision we make affects both our world and the next. Chazak! Be strong! Think of the Kingdom! Think of Yeshua!
- "I've spent too long wanting what was taken from me and not what was given. I was given a kingdom....a people. I promise to be a better king."
How many of us have spent time looking back to things that others have stolen from us or things that have been lost from our lives, things we've forgotten or taken for granted. The Bible says that we are kings and priests. If you believe that, then you'll be given a territory to rule and a people to go with it. Those words by our Lord are not metaphorical. They’re literal. You may be just "children" of God in this world, but in the next world, you will be kings and queens. If we all understood that truth, maybe we would start acting like the kings and the queens we're called to be and stop arguing and complaining like the children we don't want to be.
- There are three main tests the children each have to pass in the movie: to overcome the desire for earthly wealth, to overcome fear, and to overcome the desire to receive for oneself. These three tests are the same tests that the Holy Spirit brings to each of us in order to elevate us to our kingly and queenly roles. The first is obvious but can creep up and consume you without you even knowing it. The second is more powerful than the first and can overcome you in a single thumping heartbeat. Let's look at it for a moment.
When we face fear, most of us submit to it without knowing it because of its powerful, mesmerizing emotion. We do what it says to do just to get out of its powerful grip. Its deception will always end in the destruction of all those who yield to its power. The only way to defeat fear is by the word of God: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7). Fear doesn't operate by love and it does not follow the protocols in scripture. Fear screams "Emergency! We don't have time to follow the Bible! We have to act now!" The best thing you can do when you face a moment of fear is to do the very opposite of what it is telling you to do, as fear is NOT from Yahweh. Fear requires immediate action. The Bible says that those who make decisions in haste are fools and are walking the path to destruction (Prov. 21:5). So by default, if you're faced with fear, SLOW DOWN, pray, and search the Scriptures for wisdom. Fear cowers to all those who refuse to act in haste.
The third finds Edmund on the top of the mast on the ship in the middle of a tempest as his greatest fear, the sea serpent, is staring him down and ready to strike. The evil ice queen shows up in the fog and tempts him to be the man he desires to be by allowing her to help him. This temptation strikes at the base of his pride as he is tired of playing second fiddle to his older brother Peter and now King Caspian. It is only when he refuses the temptation and denies himself that the sword in his hand turns royal blue (Yahweh’s divine color) and he is able to defeat the serpent with one blow to the head. It is also interesting that the serpent is crushed between the rock (truth) and the sword (of the Spirit). But the sword never yields its full power until the one holding it completely denies – "crucifies" – his flesh so it is "no longer [he] who live[s], but Christ...in [him]" (Gal 2:20). At that point, the serpent that's been beating you is slain in one stroke.
- Aslan gives seven special swords to seven lords and it is only when all seven are laid on the table that his true power is unleashed to destroy the evil that threatens their world. This struck me deeply as the Spirit revealed to me that unless the authority He's given to each of us is laid down before Him, evil will continue to prevail. Men are notorious for yielding the sword they were given in a self-absorbed way. These swords are connected to the seven spirits of God (angels) that are given to the seven continents and the seven churches of Revelation. It is only when we lay down our lives before His throne and yield our swords before Him that we will see His power unleashed through His people. Real authority starts when we relinquish ours.
- Lastly, Aslan is on the beach with the children and King Caspian when he reveals the entire reason for the children's journeys into Narnia (the spiritual realm). He says, "In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the whole reason why you were brought to Narnia; that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
The message could not be clearer. In our world, his name is Yeshua and we must learn to know Him by it. The entire reason He allows us to experience the spiritual realm is so we learn a little of who He is and what He's like so we can know Him better in our real world.
Narnia is the spiritual world of the bible and the kingdom of heaven within us with every kind of adventure we could ever ask for. By reading His word and engaging in every adventurous story in that world, we will be better able to engage with Him in our own real life adventures.
Life here on earth is definitely an adventure, one filled with joy, fear, pain, trials, and rewards. We are forced to learn to navigate this "dark island," to slay serpents, face giants of every kind, and defeat our own fears. If we only understood that every adventure we find ourselves in down here is what determines which adventures we get to go on up there, I believe we would pay far more attention to how we fair through those adventures.
So who's ready for an adventure?!