Friday, November 06, 2009

Never Again Merely Men

While I found plenty of memorable moments in the most recent Narnia film, Prince Caspian, there was one that was particularly so.

In the first Narnia film, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, bears were loyal to Aslan and talked and walked side by side with the just-introduced kings and queens of Narnia—Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy. But fifteen hundred years have passed between that story and this, and the royalty of Narnia were just discovering how different and ugly things were when Lucy comes upon a bear.

Naturally, she assumes a kinship with the beast. “Hello there, Mr. Bear!” However, the bear, intending to kill Lucy, charges her only to be stopped by the arrow of a Narnian dwarf. Shocked, Lucy asks, “What’s happened to the animals?” to which the dwarf replies, “Treat them like mere animals long enough and they’ll forget who they are.”

I think the same thing happens to us—the sons and daughters of God. Oftentimes our enemy, the world and our flesh, seek to hinder us not by rejecting us overtly and outright, but by slowly and persistently inducing us to abide by their vision, methods and goals, one day to believe we are little different than those of this world. To borrow on the dwarf’s response to Lucy, “Treat them like mere men long enough and they’ll forget who they are.”

In my little world of experience, here’s how Christians who have either forgotten who they are (or never knew it to begin with) sometimes sound: “I’m only human, aren’t I?” To be succinct, here’s my response: “Hell, no.” That’s where that thinking comes from.

The apostle Paul chided the Corinthians for just this thinking and behavior: “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (1 Cor 3:3, italics mine.)

Did you catch that? You and I will never again be merely men or merely women, never again only human. Anyone who has believed and received Jesus has not only had a change in standing with God, but a change in nature, literally a change in DNA! When the Bible says that we’ve become a “new creation,” God isn’t trumpeting a new way of behaving better, or that we’ve been granted a new kind of good manners for good relationships. He’s telling us that we are now actual Spirit born sons and daughters by nature! We have been born by and of the Spirit. Our humanity has forever been altered because “the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17; see also john 3:5,7,8; 2 Peter 1:3,4).

That takes some getting used to, I know.

If you’re familiar with the C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, then you know that virtually all of the books are about the growing awareness of the kings and queens of Narnia—that they are, in fact, kings and queens already. Everyone in Narnia recognizes them, some in awe and delight, some with fear and dread. The more the kings and queens believe it, the more their behavior is affected, to the delight of Aslan. They act like the nobility they are.

It’s the same with us.

Ask God to show you yourself, the self He sees because He remade you. Quit praying things like, “Oh Lord, you know what a lousy sinner I am!”—He disagrees with you! That’s not what He made you. Stop lamenting in prayer, “Oh God, I know I should be a better person than I am now!”—you ARE a better person because you’re a new person! You just don’t know how to live in Christ. And stop saying, “Father, change me.” Father HAS already changed you! Besides, you’ve never heard Him answer those prayers, so don’t you think it’s time to change them?

Give it, oh, two weeks—don’t say any of that stuff. Instead ask God during prayer, “Father, did you change me already?” “Jesus, how well related to you am I now?” “Holy Spirit, what do you like about me?” “God, have you secured me with you forever?” “Lord, am I really an authentic son of yours?”

In the same way that the kings and queens of Narnia struggled to believe they were the royalty of the realm, it’s likely that you will too. So get help! Get after it! Get and read my book (Better Off Than You Think -, get and read anything Steve McVey has written, or Lewis Gregory, Dan Stone and Greg Smith, or go to my Recommended Reading List and take the plunge.

This will help you grow up into who you already are. You’ve got to believe it before you’ll see it.

To borrow one more time on the dwarf’s response to Lucy, here’s what will help you: “Treat them like the sons and daughters of God they are for long enough and they’ll know who they are.” That’s what your Father is doing to you right now. Have a look.


  1. Dave Geisler4:23 PM

    Ralph...thanks for the note. I know who I am and that is a THIEF...I will be stealing the narnia illustration for a up and coming sermon!

    I couldn't agree with you more and one verse came to mind where Jesus was speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) and Jesus said...

    Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
    Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
    Joh 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;

    The Holy Spirit will convict the world of their lack of believing the good news, the Gospel but He will convict us of righteousness (which was once used to beat me over the head saying "you need to be more righteous").

    The Holy Spirit convicts us of WHO we are...we are righteous, we are in Christ, we are a son of God...I could go on but then I would be preaching...Great note Ralph

  2. Cindi Estep4:24 PM

    Thanks for the enlightenment Ralph! I needed that reminder of who I am in Him!! Sometimes we tend to forget.

  3. Pauline Karcher4:24 PM

    Amazing as always!

  4. Donna Claflin-Woodward11:17 AM

    Just finished with identity in christ last wednesday... this is such a wonderful, simple way to explain by example "who we really are" and not just "mere humans"! Thanks. I think I'll go back and re-read the Narnia series... it's been a while.

  5. David Borum2:23 PM

    Always blessed by your notes, Ralph. This was certainly no exception. Great truths! Thanks again for sharing.