Lions or Dragons?

Then the (dragon) said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…”  Genesis 3:4-5 (NKJV)

In a street fight who would win: a lion or a dragon?  More on that in a minute.

I hate giving up autonomy.  The more insecure I am the more I am driven to control. Traditionally sin is thought to refer to the “bad things a person does” such as stealing, adultery, cussing, gossiping, judging, voting republican/democrat and such.

But as William Temple pointed out, these things are only symptoms of a deeper problem. He says there is only one Sin (capital S), and that is putting ourselves in the center of our lives and other people’s lives where only God should be. Sins with a small “s” are those specific things we do as a result of putting ourselves in the center of our world.

How do we play God? By denying our humanity and by trying to control everything for selfish reasons. I’ve noticed that when my world gets out of control I often try to control the myriad of little things over which I have power.

We care so much about what other people think about us.  We don’t want them to know what we are really like.  We play games; we wear masks; we pretend; we fake it.  We deny our weaknesses, and we deny our feelings.  Some people won’t get the help they need because they don’t want people to see them as weak.

We try our best to control people. Parents try to control kids; kids try to control parents.  Wives try to control husbands; husbands try to control wives.  Coworkers vie for office control.  People try to control other people.  Everyone has their preferred methods: some use guilt and shame, some use praise and affirmation.  Others use anger, fear, or an old favorite—the silent treatment.

We try to control our problems by thinking, “I can handle it.  It’s not really a problem.  I’m okay, really. I’m fine.”  When a T.V. repairman was asked about the worst kind of damage he’d ever seen to at television set, he said, “It’s when someone tries to fix the TV on their own.”

We have become experts at pain-management.  Have you ever thought about how much time and effort you spend running from pain?  Avoiding it, denying it, escaping it, reducing it, or postponing it?  We avoid it by: eating, not eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, abusing prescription drugs, exercise, traveling, serial relationships.  Others withdraw into a hole and build a protective wall of depression around themselves.

But the real pain comes when we realize, in our quieter moments, that no matter how hard we try, we’re not in control.  That realization can be very scary.

In our culture we have come to believe that any pain in our lives is a violation of our spiritual rights. We run from pain like it was a disease.

Freedom comes when the acid of your pain eats through the wall of your denial.“~~Keith Miller

Let it motivate you to get help.  How’s your pain level?

The Cure for Playing God is Admit You Are….Utterly Powerless*

I grew up thinking that the masculine way to deal with my unmanaged life was,  “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,”  “I got myself into this, I’ll get myself out.”  Listen:  You can’t do it on your own.  If you could you would, but you can’t so you won’t. You need God and other people.

I’ve learned that admitting that I’m not God means I know I am:

1.         Powerless to change my past.

2.         Powerless to control other people.  (I am responsible for my actions not theirs.)

3.         Powerless to cope with my problems.

I need a power beyond myself…I need God.  He made me to need Him.

Is it time for you to let Jesus, who is sometimes called The Lion of Judah, be the God of your life?

C.S. Lewis pictures the struggle we all got through in facing the reality of who we are in his children’s book Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  In this quote the lion, Aslan, the Christ-figure is confronting a very unkind, mean and stubborn little boy named Eustace Scrubb.

The transformation of Eustace Scrubb into a dragon is a picture of what happens when you seek to be your own god and live for your own power and glory. This “leads to the most bestial and cruel kind of behavior”. Likewise his restoration or renewal represents the transformation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Eustace clearly had a lust for power, but he expressed it in the mean petty ways that only a schoolboy could, in teasing, torturing animals, tattling, and ingratiating adult authorities.

When Eustace found the treasure he was elated and began to imagine the life of ease and power he would now have. When he woke, however, to his horror, he had turned into a hideous dragon. … Becoming a dragon was a “cosmic natural consequence”. Because he thought like a dragon, he had become a dragon. When we set our hearts on power, we become hardened predators. We become like what we worship.

The shock of his transformation humbled Eustace and he longed to be a normal boy again. As his pride faded, the idolatry in his heart began to be healed.

One night Eustace the dragon met a mysterious lion. The lion challenged him to “undress”, to try to take off his dragon skin. He managed to peel off a layer, but found he was still a dragon underneath. He tried repeatedly but made no further progress. The lion finally said:

  “You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt … Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been … I’d turned into a boy again

After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me —

“Dressed you? With his paws?”

Well, I don’t exactly remember that bit. But he did somehow or other: in new clothes – the same I’ve got on now, as a matter of fact. And then suddenly I was back here. Which is what makes me think it must have been a dream.

“No. It wasn’t a dream,” said Edmund.

Why not?

“Well, there are clothes, for one thing. And you have been – well, un-dragoned, for another.”

What do you think it was, then?” asked Eustace.

“I think you’ve seen Aslan,” said Edmund.

I’ve come to learn that peace comes in my life only when I realize that I’m not God; admit I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.

When I believe that truth down deep in my life, down where the knobs are, that I find peace and hope.

I became “un-dragoned.”  And so can you. 

In a street fight, bet on the Lion.

*Adapted from “Life’s Healing Choices,” by John Baker

About Joe Chambers

I am the beloved of the Most High God. I am an avid reader and writer and have been a continuous learner since my college studies in Ancient Literature and English. I live at the base of Mount Princeton in the Colorado Rockies with my wife of over three decades. I believe I have been put here to tell people that God is not mad at them and to show them the way Home. I am the father of three sons, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren. I love to read, tell stories, and spend time in the wilderness with my friends and sons.
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