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This is another installment in a series that has been adapted from my 11-part MP3 teaching series on A. W. Tozer’s spiritual classic, The Pursuit of God.

In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of the books in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, the story begins with the words “There was a boy named Eustice Clarence Scrubb, and he deserved it.” He was a nasty little guy. Later in the story he wakes up to find that he’s become a dragon. The nasty nature inside of him soon manifests itself onto his external body. He now looks to be on the outside what he is on the inside. Eventually, the Lion in the story, who represents Christ, tells him, “Do you want to become a boy again?” Of course he does. And so the lad, now in dragon skin, tries to remove the dragon nature using his own talons to cut it off. As he cuts he finds that it is very painful. Eventually, he succeeds in tearing it off. But he soon finds that there is another dragon beneath. So, he cuts that skin off as well. Still he finds that there is another one, and another one under that. Finally, the Lion says, “You will not be able to do it yourself. I will have to do it for you.” So, Eustice Clarence Scrubb grudgingly gives permission for the Lion to cut away the dragon skin and return him to being a boy again. Using his claw, the Lion cuts so deeply that the dragon-boy feels he will surely die. It is so painful, so agonizing. When the Lion is finished, the boy looks down and sees a very thick dragon skin lying on the ground. The Lion tells him to go wash in a pool of water. When he comes out of the water he’s a boy once again.

The imagery is powerful. What we need done, we are unable to do ourselves. But God, being unwilling to violate our free will, will not do what only he can do without first receiving our permission. But when we agree to let him do his work, he immediately proceeds with the transformation process. Make no mistake; it is a bloody and painful process. Yet when it is over, he cleans up our lives and gives us our humanity back. We are transformed into precious children, beloved by their Father.

In similar fashion, Tozer reminds us that it is not our job to remove that which separates us from God. The doctrine of self-crucifixion, so widely practiced by most every religion in order to gain salvation, is never successful before God. But neither is it effective for Christians who hope to have intimate fellowship with their heavenly Father. Having removed the barrier of sin that separates us, he is also the one who is able to remove the barrier of self that separates us. The surgery required is something only God himself can be trusted to do right. Whenever we try to do it ourselves we only increase our pain and suffering, but never our spiritual health. Here is our problem. Our heart’s desire has been too closely enmeshed with the aspirations of this fallen world. Letting go of that is no easy task. The prospect of losing our false self, even though it has been nothing but trouble for us, is terrifying to us. Yet it must be cut away in order to make room for our truest self, the one God that has treasured in his heart from all eternity.

What surrender do you need to make to allow God to strip away your false self?

Wishing you God's grace and peace,

Ken Boa
Reflections Ministries

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