Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Divine Change

I've been reading through C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia since Christmas. Something stuck with me from 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader', and I'd heard that section is a parallel to how spiritual change can occur in our lives, but it wasn't until I read it myself that I understood. If you haven't read the book, the passage I'm referring to is where a boy named Eustace is telling a story about how he had found a treasure trove, put on an arm ring he found particularly appealing, fell asleep and woke up as a dragon. The problem was that the arm ring that fit him as a boy didn't fit him as a dragon. He tells of how he meets Aslan the lion and that Aslan wants him to shed his skin, and become a boy again. (Lewis - as Eustace - puts it this way: "The water (from the well) was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe, it would ease the pain in my leg. But the lion told me I must undress first.") Eustace tries 3 times to shed his skin, without any success. At this point Aslan tells him that Eustace can't do it on his own but that he needs to let him (Aslan) do it. Eustace talks about how the pain he experienced when Aslan ripped the dragon skin off him was worse than anything he'd ever experienced, but how as soon as it was off and Aslan threw him into the water he felt great.

It made me think of how Jesus wants to change us all into the people we were created to be - it's painful (or sometimes just seems that way) to give up things that sometimes hold such appeal, but He gives us so much more when we let Him make the changes in us that He knows we need to make.

Tithing is an example in my own life... I was great at making excuses in the past as to why I couldn't. Eventually it came to the point where God made it clear that I could make excuses or I could make the change, but that each had a different set of consequences. I decided to trust Him, not knowing how it was going to be possible. Since that point I've never been without what I need, but I also learned that there's a difference between what I want and what I actually need. It's (in my opinion) a great and very important lesson that I needed. It's amazing how society is great at getting us to confuse needs and wants. At first it wasn't easy to do without the money I had committed to giving, but it's amazing how as I realized I was giving into wants (and wasting money as a result), all of a sudden what I thought were needs weren't stuff I had to have to survive. I've not really missed much. But if you'd have asked me to do this 5 years ago, I'd have said something like "That's impossible, I need all the money I have coming in." The change was painful at first, but I don't see it that way now. And was it instantaneous? No, it was a slow process, but a very worthwhile one.

Now don't get me wrong, I believe that God wants to bless His children in ALL ways (spiritually, emotionally, relationally *and* financially), but that He wants us to have the first 3 right so that we are able to honour Him with our finances. Money is a useful tool, but we have to understand that we must use it for His glory, not for our own. But that's the subject for another post...


Blogger Melanie Gagnon said...

Leaving a comment, as requested! :P

Seriously, very well put. Like Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24). Getting this part of your life in order really frees you up to grow closer to God. When I actually had money coming in, I saw firsthand how that worked. It was pretty cool, I must say. Now let's just hope and pray that I remember that lesson when I get a full-time job in the fall....

01 February, 2006 23:50  

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