Readers of C.S. Lewis possess differing opinions on the film adaptations of the Chronicles of Narnia. One element from the latest film that is presented quite faithfully, is Eustace’s transformation into a dragon.
“He had turned into a dragon while he was asleep. Sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.” (Voyage of the Dawn Treader).
With his brilliant insight and typical mirth, Lewis reveals for us a powerful dynamic of human existence. Two, in fact.
First, what we are inside—our genuine essence or spirit—will ultimately be revealed. This is true for most of us during this life. And, it will be experienced by all humanity as we stand before our Creator.
Second, what we desire—the longings upon which we focus our hearts and energies—shape that very essence. In a sense, Lewis is saying, “we become what we covet!”
What a wonderful lesson for us. It resounds with echoes of the Scriptures.
The title of this column suggests that we beware of the dragons to which we are particularly vulnerable. They vary from person to person, of course. And, they frequently shift, dependent on our biological age circumstances.
Martin Luther alludes to this in his broader comments about temptation and spiritual maturity:
To feel temptation is therefore a far different thing from consenting or yielding to it. We must all feel it, although not all in the same manner, but some in a greater degree and more severely than others; as, the young suffer especially from the flesh, afterwards, they that attain to middle life and old age, from the world, but others who are occupied with spiritual matters, that is, strong Christians, from the devil. But such feeling, as long as it is against our will and we would rather be rid of it, can harm no one. For if we did not feel it, it could not be called a temptation. But to consent thereto is when we give it the reins and do not resist or pray against it. (Luther’s Large Catechism).
Lewis reveals vividly what becomes of us when we surrender to our dragons. It’s not a pretty sight. And, sometimes it’s terminal. It would have been so, in Eustace’s own case, had not Aslan come to him with his healing grace
And so it is with us. No matter how dragonish you and I have grown, we can be healed of the affliction by the same Aslan, who is known in our world by a different name . . . Yeshua (Jesus).