One of the most frustrating characters of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was Edmund, the younger brother who suffered the stereotypical middle-child syndrome. Lured into Narnia to play with his younger sister, he denied its existence to avoid being associated with her immaturity when confronted by their older siblings.
Eager to obtain special treatment, he quickly abandons his siblings in a new, mystical world to seek the favor of the witch, who had previously fed him Turkish Delight. By the time Edmund reaches the following scene, a full-on war has erupted in his heart.
Edmund realizes that, at the witch’s side, he is on the wrong side of the coming battle, but his desire for self-preservation and the hope for possible future favors prevents him from undertaking his own escape. Ultimately, he has to be rescued.
Most characters who frustrate us onscreen do so because we see a little of ourselves in them. Edmund frustrates us because we see his struggle as our struggle. Trying to fulfill our own desires, we find ourselves trapped on the wrong side of the spiritual battle front. Our desire to be on Aslan’s side while simultaneously receiving Turkish Delight from the witch has rendered us captive, needing the Lord to rescue us by His divine grace.
This battle inflicts needless pain and anxiety upon us, as the struggle could easily be avoided simply by following the words of Christ in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Just as Edmund could have avoided the whole struggle by choosing loyalty to his siblings, the creatures helping them along, and pursuing the presence of the obviously good Aslan, Edmund tried to have it both ways. Such is the same mistake we make.
Most Christians want to serve God, but to a degree, we also want to enjoy the pleasures of this world. We envision a world where we can somehow live for ourselves while at the same time living for God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 that this is impossible. We will either serve God, or we will serve our own self-interests, seeking only to enrich ourselves with the pleasures of this world (serving mammon).
Any choice to try to accomplish both is actually a choice to serve the latter, with the added consequence of self-deception.
Therefore it is important to heed the words of Joshua as he closed out his service to the nation of Israel, “Choose this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This decision will lead to a powerful commitment, one Moses made which was chronicled in Hebrews 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
What sinks most Christians is the desire to enjoy the things of the world while having God in their corner. The way of the narrow road that Jesus described is the commitment to serve God first in all things, and trust Him to bless you as a result. To commit to serve God first, and to live for Him and not self, we must constantly ask ourselves two questions. (1) To what have I committed myself today? and (2) Why?
As we continually ask ourselves those questions, while continuously committing ourselves to serving God, we will notice a shift in our priorities, and a shift in our motivations, to the point where we become the people God intended on us being, and we will see the blessings thereof.
So, whom will you serve today. God? Or Mammon?