“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” So begins The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - and if you miss this voyage on the big screen, you’ll definitely regret it. Breathtaking visuals, fascinating plots, and an overwhelming sense of wonderment are just a few of the delights that await as you join Peter, Lucy, and…
Eustace Clarence Scrubb.
Wait a second - who is Eustace, and why did he almost deserve his snobbish smarty pants name?
Trust me, it will not take you long to figure this one out. Eustace is Peter and Lucy’s cousin, and within a few minutes of experiencing his on-screen character, you’ll be instantly transported to memories of “that kid.”
Remember “that kid”? The one who is so egotistical, so annoying, so absolutely infuriating that you would cross the street just to avoid being anywhere near him/her. Eustace is the definition of every self-seeking, self-centered person you can think of, and he’s stuck on a ship for a very long journey with a very bad attitude.
Until… he experiences a life changing moment while on the journey. On an island where he is supposed to be helping the others, he sneaks off and finds a dragon’s lair. Long story short - Eustace is transformed into a dragon, and in his loneliness and isolation he realizes that if he doesn’t change, he will die alone as a monster.
Be careful, because if you’re like me, you’ll see a little bit of yourself in Eustace. We are all fire breathing dragons on the inside, and sometimes it takes extreme circumstances to make us see our desperate need for a complete internal make-over.
And that’s just about the time that God does His amazing work of transforming the least likely people (like you and me) into something totally different. In Eustace’s case we have this incredible scene where Aslan comes to him in a dream and invites him to remove his ugly scales so he can immerse himself in a healing pool that will restore him.
At first Eustace thinks this will be a simple task as he easily and painlessly scrapes and sheds his dragon skin. But as soon as he heads towards the waters, he discovers that a new one has quickly taken its place. That’s when Aslan graciously offers to take the scales off for him, and even though it is a painful process, the end result is the healing, restoration, and transformation of Eustace into a completely different person.
Isn’t that also like us? We want to rid ourselves of our monster like qualities - and at first we may show some improvement…but soon comes the realization that our ugly sin covering has simply grows back. But then we hear the calling of Jesus to let Him remove our sin and make us into the person He intended us to be.
Here’s the way the Bible describes this incredible alteration:
Therefore if any person is trusts in Christ, he is a new creation- a new creature altogether; the previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!!! (2 Corinthians 5:17 Amplified).
So where are you in this process? Are you still wearing your dragon skin, feeling isolated and a bit like a monster? Give up your struggle to rid yourself of your sin and let Jesus’ forgiving power make you into something beautiful.
Maybe you’ve already been “undragoned,” and you know what it’s like to be restored and transformed. I know I have, which is why we have this enormous responsibility put before us:
He sent Christ to make peace with us and to bring us back to himself. Now he has given us the work of bringing other people back to God.
We are not looking at things that can be seen, but at things that cannot be seen. The things which can be seen last only a little while. But the things which cannot be seen last forever.
So we are messengers for Christ. God is using us to call people. So we are standing here for Christ and begging people, `Come back to God!' (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
As you already know, there are “Eustace” people all around you. They carry an attitude and mindset of selfishness and even cruelty. But as a follower of Christ, you do not have the option of simply avoiding those who push your buttons. Why? Well for one thing we are “messengers for Christ.” If we don’t deliver the message to those God has placed in our lives, we are more guilty of selfishness and cruelty than the worst Eustace you can think of.
Secondly, remember that you once wore dragon skin too. It took the death of God’s perfect Son Jesus to restore your true self and transform you into a new creation, so rather than look down on others with criticism, look back at your past with gratitude for whoever it was that shared the gospel with you.
At the end of the story Aslan sends the children back to their world and tells them that they cannot return to Narnia. Desperate to experience Aslan again, Lucy and Edmund ask if he exists in their world. He replies, "I am... but there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
Let’s continue to know Jesus and lead others to know Him as well. That’s the voyage that is meant for every follower of Christ.
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
It is indeed a rare event when a blockbuster movie comes out with so many ways to bring up the gospel with your friends. Go see the movie with as many unsaved people as you can, then ask them over afterwards to talk about it. Pray that God will give you an opportunity to call people back to Himself.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16).
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin (Romans 7:24-25).