A striking scene from the C.S. Lewis story “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, describes the conversion of the spoiled brat Eustice. If you remember, Eustice is turned into a dragon; he eventually meets Aslan, who returns him to human form by peeling off his dragon skin and sending him into a refreshing bath. Just when Eustice thinks the painful process is complete, there is another layer to remove. (If you haven’t read this exciting story, this may sound pretty strange, but …)
The reason I mention the above is it reminds me of how “growing in the Lord” is often like the peeling of an onion (or dragon skin); you think you’re finished and then you realize there’s another layer to peel off. Rats !!! I was recently convicted anew about how I need to grow in love. After the most recent “layer of onion skin” (pride, selfishness…) was removed from my soul, I thought I had really gotten to the core and that I just needed to do a final wash and shine up the onion…”I’m good”. NO… there was and is more. Yikes.
I recently read the famous passage on love from Chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. I’ve read it many times and thought I had pretty much absorbed it. Hmmmmmm, I should have known better. Listen up.
- Without love, nothing really matters. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
- Take the test to see how you’re loving. “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1Cor. 13:1-7)
So, there are still too many times when I haven’t been “patient and kind… where I was jealous or boastful…. where I insisted on my own way… where I was irritable or even resentful….where I was not hopeful, etc.” I have to admit it. It’s not that I haven’t made some good progress by God’s grace, but things happen where it’s clear that more is needed.
When we’re convicted, we don’t need to panic or be discouraged, but we do need to ask the Lord to help us thru the next phase as he peels away another layer of “dragon skin or onion skin”. This is really good news. God does not reveal things that need changing without giving us the grace to change.
Love is the core of our walk with the Lord. It’s clear that if we don’t love or love half heartedly, much of the other things we do are compromised. This is important stuff. So, let’s keep our head up and trust that the Lord will help us to love more completely. Remember, this is all good news.