Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared – 1 Tim 4
In CS Lewis’ book, The Last Battle, a rather shrewd ape (called Shift) sews a lion skin around a rather dumb donkey (Puzzle) and uses him to control Narnia. Shift the ape, parades the look-alike lion before the Narnians only during twilight, and the innocent Narnians are left speechless at what they perceive the remarkable and legendary Aslan has become. How could one so majestic and powerful, have become so revolting and pernicious.
The ape then joins forces with the arch enemy of Narnia, the Calormenes, who have a god called Tash. Tash is an evil spirit, a vulture with 2 feet and 4 arms, and eats children who are given to him in child sacrifice. In a masterstroke of brilliance, the ape and Calormenes declare that Tash and Aslan are one and the same, and Aslan becomes Taslan. Everyone is utterly confused.
In the saddest twist that eventually destroys Narnia forever, even when the truth is finally revealed, when Tash is banished and the donkey exposed, Narnians are too dismayed to put their faith in anything other than themselves. A once beautiful country has now become worthless and fit only for destruction.
The Last Battle mirrors our own society so closely, that it would seem Lewis was writing while reading today’s news. Our society is so confused about the truth and who is really in charge, that the only person they feel safe putting their faith in, is themselves. The West it seems, has finally caught up with the world inhabited by Paul.
Paul’s final letters are replete with warnings on false teachings, spirits and deception within the fledgling church. While he specifically addresses what was happening in the church, it seems that if his society was anything like ours, that confusion was just absorbed from the world. Both the world and the church appear very mystified about Jesus Christ.
I met with a disciple maker this week, and we had a wonderful time sharing times of prayer, elation and trials. Our conclusions were remarkably similar, and that is, it is extremely difficult to engage Western culture in anything that resembles the demands of Jesus Christ. Jesus, Mohammed or even faith in yourself, is it really such a big deal? Sometimes sadly, the church appears just as jumbled.
Those with eyes to see will see this though – this is only the beginning, soon it is going to get much worse.
A happy Christmas message you might ask?
Well, I think so. To me and those who are committed to growing in Jesus Christ, this time reminds us of the sheer extraordinariness of God. We have a lofty, majestic King, God’s own Son, who is far above all else, and yet, and yet, this Christ still will condescend himself to accept us, heal us, forgive us, grant us total amnesty if only we would accept him. His lightness is more brilliant than the darkest of our dark, and he alone has the power to rescue humanity. He works in the lives of individuals dealing with each of us so perfectly and exactly where we are. Above all though, my Jesus is alive. Two thousand years after we nailed him to a cross, he continues to reign in heaven.
The world and the church will continue to grow cold in their devotion to Jesus Christ, and one day in this country we will be forbidden from celebrating him publicly. I am certain that will be the case. But it is worth reminding ourselves at this time of year, that such a fact does not alter one iota who the person of Jesus Christ is. World systems, politicians and those who are so full of hatred towards him, can no more make him go away than they can blot out the sun.
In The Last Battle, Aslan comes back when he is least expected. When all have dismissed his presence as no more than a mythical legend, Aslan returns. But by then it is all too late, for he has come for but one purpose, to wind Narnia up and only those who have remained faithful will be saved. So it is with our King, this Jesus that the world has largely dismissed. He is coming back.
My question to you, as it has been to those who I have met out on the streets all year is this though, why would you not embrace him with everything you have? A God who by rights should be at war with us, instead offers himself so willingly, so humbly, to each of us through his Son. Come to me he says, all who are weary and I will give you rest, freedom and life, both here and ever after.
Embrace it, embrace him with your all. He will never disappoint.
Merry Christmas, thanks for reading. May he be your rest and your peace this season.