At the end of C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, after all the adventures, battles, brave acts, and sacrifice, Aslan leaves the four siblings with this exhortation:
“Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughters of Eve!” said Aslan.
The calling Aslan has given the siblings doesn’t change when they leave Narnia (although at the time, they don’t realize they will), just like our calling as Christians doesn’t change with our life circumstances.
Kind of a relief right? What a gift this truth is. For those of us who have surrendered our lives to Christ, our whole identity changes. We are no longer lost, searching for purpose. We have encountered peace, hope, joy, and most important, Love.
The Pevensie children each had titles bestowed to them, along with their King and Queen status. Peter the Magnificent, Susan the Gentle, Edmund the Just, and Lucy the Valiant. While we may not go around using such titles, what if we started living by their truth more?
What does it mean to be The Magnificent?
Philippians 2:1-4 reads, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (ESV)
Humility. I think that’s one of the biggest parts of being magnificent. It’s not about who only cared for themselves, it’s about caring deeply for others. When we take a quick glance at historical kings and queens, the ones who inspire us the most? They are the ones who did the most for their people. But the moving stories don’t stop with kings and queens of old, but the people who lead by example and who show us a life well lived, one full of generosity and caring for others more than themselves.
And what of our gifts? 1 Peter 4:10 draws us again to that of a servant: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)
What does it mean to live a life as one who can be called The Gentle?
How do we live up to such a calling and one of gentleness? It would be easy to pass it off as being a “pushover,” but that’s not it. It always comes back to love. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians brings to the forefront what that means: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV)
What does it mean to be The Just?
I can speak on justice, and our calling to lead this charge as Christians, for hours, but I’ll start with this quote from Timothy Keller in Generous Justice. I highly recommend the book and I love one of his early quotes: “God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to “do justice.”
Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (NIV)
Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV)
What does it mean to be The Valiant?
And finally we come to courage. There is so much pain, so much hurt, and the world needs the Church. May we find the courage to keep on fighting for what’s right, even when the hits keep coming. And the good news? We don’t have to do this on our own. We can trust in the promise that Christ is with us and on the side of Truth.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 (ESV)
What a holy calling we have! The world needs it now more than ever before. And if 2020 has taught us anything (I mean it has, I have a whole list), it has reminded us that life is so very short. Don’t waste these titles, don’t waste this calling.
This life isn’t meant to be boring, no matter what path your life follows, for we are Kings and Queens. When we follow Christ, when we live to make His Name famous, it’s a wild ride.
“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”