One of the most impacting images from the Disney version of The Chronicles of Narnia series comes near the end of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Peter, the soon-to-be High King of Narnia, and his followers are facing the much larger forces of the White Witch in a battle for Narnia and its future. As they watch the advancing forces and prepare to charge, Peter asks the centaur next to him, “Are you with me?” The centaur answers without reservation, “To the death.” The centaur does “die” in the battle protecting Peter, but is restored to life by Aslan after the victory.
“Are you with me?” “To the death!”
Is our commitment to Jesus so deep that we will follow him without question? Wherever he may lead? However dark the way? No matter what the personal cost?
Pledging allegiance to a king is foreign to us in the United States. We often see ourselves as the masters of our own fate. We have rights. We have equality (ideally).
But the kingdom of God is not a democracy. It is a monarchy, and we subjects of that kingdom own nothing. Everything we have is a gift from the king who owns all things, even our very lives. We serve at the whim of our master, for his honor and glory. Even Jesus, God in the flesh, made himself subject to his father’s will, for his glory and for our sakes.
In the sacrifice of Jesus we have become heirs, along with him, to the kingdom of God. But heirs, though beloved, are not exempt from sacrifice for the king or their kingdom. We can visualize this from another movie, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” from the Lord of the Rings series. At the counsel of Elrond where the fellowship of the ring is formed, Frodo has just offered to be the ring bearer and Aragorn, the rightful king and heir of Gondor, responds by pledging himself to Frodo. He says, “If by my life or my death I can protect you, I will.”
Most of us will never face the opportunity to lay down our lives for the kingdom, but we should, day by day, grow in our willingness to lay those things we hold onto as our own on the altar as a living sacrifice to our king… the same one who laid himself down on the altar for us. This is not easy. This will take a lifetime of effort. But it is a worthy quest, and one that will make us more like our king each day.
Make a commitment to listen for what the Spirit living in you would prompt each day and, to the best of who you are, respond in obedience.
“After all, he’s not a tame lion.” “No… but he is good.”