“To the glistening eastern sea, I give you Queen Lucy the Valiant. To the great western woods, King Edmund the Just. To the radiant southern sun, Queen Susan the Gentle. And to the clear northern skies, I give you King Peter the Magnificent. Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Most of us know the tale of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter Pevensie find themselves in the magical (and cursed) land of Narnia after Lucy literally stumbles into it through a wardrobe. The White Witch’s reign has caused Narnia to be stuck in an eternal winter, and from the Pevensie’s first moments in Narnia it is clear that they are in danger. The ancient prophecy tells of how the White Witch’s reign will end when two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sit on the four thrones at Cair Paravel; not only do the Pevensie children match this prophecy, but they are constantly being hunted down by the White Witch who is terrified of losing her power. They hear of the mighty lion Aslan, the rightful king of Narnia, who has been absent for many years but is supposedly “on the move” in Narnia once more. A great series of events unfolds, including a betrayal by Edmund, and the Pevensie children begin to walk in their identities as the “kings” and “queens” of Narnia, defying the White Witch with boldness and courage and loyally serving and walking alongside the mighty Aslan, who has indeed returned. Although Edmund’s betrayal deserves death (which the White Witch enforces in an attempt to get rid of one of the sons of Adam), Aslan takes Edmund’s place. He is killed by the White Witch, but unbeknownst to her, rises again. A fierce battle between the White Witch and her forces and Aslan and his forces ensues, and the Pevensie children play a critical role, helping to lead Aslan’s troops and eventually defeat the White Witch. Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter are all officially crowned by Aslan at Cair Paravel and take their places as the kings and queens of Narnia.
I’ve heard this story since I was six years old, read the book as soon as I could understand words on a page, and saw the movie the week it first came out. The parallels between this book and Christian life are too many to explain in one blog post. But the more I think about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the more I find myself wondering how the story would’ve ended if Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter hadn’t believed that they were actually kings and queens of Narnia. What if upon hearing the prophecy of the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve, they turned right around and went back through the wardrobe? What if the Pevensie children hadn’t stepped up in their true identities and led Aslan’s troops with boldness? How would the story have ended?
While no one but C.S. Lewis can say for sure, I can make a pretty solid guess of how the story would’ve ended: the prophecy wouldn’t have come true. Without the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to fulfill the prophecy and boldly step into leadership, Narnia very well might have remained under the curse of the White Witch. Narnia’s inhabitants would’ve continued to live in constant fear of the White Witch, in bondage. While Aslan undoubtedly had the power to defeat the White Witch at anytime, he wasn’t able to remain in Narnia at all times and needed the kings and queens to rule justly and maintain freedom while he was away. Until his return, he needed the kings and queens of Narnia to walk in their identity; if the Pevensie children hadn’t done just that, the story probably would have ended much differently.
I might not need to explain the point I’m about to make to some of you; some of you probably already know where I’m going with this. But I’m going to explain it anyway. Read these next words slowly. Read them a few times over. Write them down and read them every day to remember if you have to. If you get anything from this post, please get this:
Confidently walking in your identity in Christ is critical to your victory over the enemy.
I’ll say it again: confidently walking in your identity in Christ is CRITICAL to your victory over the enemy. Friends, we live in a world at war. The forces of darkness are stronger than ever, and although they’ve already been DEFEATED by Christ, they aren’t about to go down quietly or without one heck of a fight. Just as the Pevensie children had to begin walking in who Aslan said they were to defeat the White Witch, so we must walk in who the Lord says we are to defeat the enemy. Until Christ returns, your day to day life is a battleground. You, your family, and everything you stand for is being brutally attacked by the enemy. The last thing he wants is for you to go and get “confident” in the Lord and start walking with the power that Christ freely gives you. That makes you a threat to his schemes. So he attacks. And you do not stand a chance against his lies and schemes and attacks if you don’t even know who you are in the first place.
Think about it: what is the one thing that Satan seems to go after more than anything? Our identities. He understands who we truly are more than most of us do, which is why he is so darn good at making us believe otherwise. He knows that we are completely FREE from the law because of the gift of God’s grace, so before that truth even has a chance to sink into our hearts he ties us down with guilt and makes us believe we have to try to earn God’s grace and love by living under a list of do’s and don’ts (one of the biggest lies the modern church has bought into so far by the way). He knows that we were built to live in FULLNESS, so he instead tries to trick us into believing that we are empty, worthless, and without value to the kingdom. He knows that we are deeply loved children of God, kings and queens made in His image and chosen for greatness, so he attacks our hearts with the lie that we are unlovable and past the point of forgiveness. The enemy loves to target us at our source of life, and he tries to poison our self-image and our image of God so that he can keep us tied down. He tricks us into believing that we are the opposite of what we actually are. And oh how easily we fall for his lies.
The attacks come in several forms. Sometimes it takes the shape of a friend or loved one making a false judgment and calling you manipulative or “crazy” for trying to be someone different. Sometimes it takes the shape of a late night anxiety attack when you are by yourself, suddenly overwhelmed by life and quickly making agreements with the enemy that your God isn’t big enough to handle everything. Sometimes it looks like failing at something and making the agreement that you yourself are a failure (even though you aren’t defined by failure; you simply made a mistake and are a human). Sometimes it looks like trying so hard to do everything right, yet no matter how much you do, you don’t actually feel any closer to God, and you wonder why he isn’t taking notice of you and why you aren’t worthy (and what a common lie this is today). There’s also times when the attacks are much more brutal; a loved one gets cancer or the person you never thought would leave you left and your world suddenly spirals. Again I say: we live in a world at war.
So how do you fight back? How do you try to stay one step ahead of an enemy so cunning and sneaky and merciless? You learn the truth of your identity inside and out. And you write it on your heart and mind, so that when a lie tries to sneak in, your radar goes off and you recognize it as a lie before agreeing with it. Remind yourself of who you are. Surround yourselves with others who remind you of who you truly are. And most importantly, rest daily in the presence of the One who defines who you are.
- Remind YOURSELF of who you are. If you don’t decide who it is you want to be and who it is you truly are, you leave yourself in a very vulnerable position where you’re more apt to believe what everyone else says you are and what the enemy says you are. Dig into the word for your true identity, even for just a few minutes each day, and you’ll quickly learn the truth about who you were made to be. Then keep that truth in front of you however you need to. I used to have what I called an “identity wall” in my room. Basically, it was an entire wall filled with index cards on which I had written “I am” statements, each one backed by Scripture. That recently peeled off and faded (the markers on the cards faded from the sun and the tape peeled off), so I started an “identity journal”; a small notebook where each page has an “I am” statement backed by Scripture. Sometimes I’ll write a statement of truth that’s particularly hard for me to believe on my hand so it’s constantly in front of me throughout the day. Whatever you have to do, keep the truth in front of you and remind yourself of your identity.
- Surround yourself with others who remind you of who you truly are. There’s one thing I learned very quickly a few years ago: there are some people who you just shouldn’t spend an excessive amount of time with. Love everyone, yes. Accept everyone, yes. But spend all of your time with some of those people? No. There’s those people who will build you up and speak God’s truth over you, and then there’s those people who will point out every little flaw and criticize each step you take. Spend the majority of your time with the people who speak God’s truth over you, who affirm you and build you up instead of tear you down. Even Christ, who had the most powerful ministry in history, spent the majority of his time with only 12 disciples (and of those 12, was intimately close with 3). Not only should you try and be a truth speaker for others, but you should also be wise as to who you let speak into you and who you believe. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with; choose wisely.
- Rest daily in the presence of the One who defines who you are. The most important piece of the puzzle is getting the truth of your identity from the One who created you. He says you are his precious child (John 1:12), accepted exactly as you are (Romans 15:7), created for fullness and abundance (Colossians 2:9-10), free of sin (Romans 6:6), intimately known (Jeremiah 1:5), and chosen (1 Peter 2:9). And that’s just the start; it would be impossible for me to fit the entire truth of your redeemed identity into a single blog. Dig into His word and discover it for yourself. Rest, each and every day, in His love for you.
I need to hear this as much (if not more) than anyone reading this. I think half the reason I wrote this is to remind myself of how important it is to rest in my true identity in Christ. I believe but at the same time, I don’t. We may be in a world at war. We may be targeted and attacked. But we are not defeated and our identities will not be torn down; we are the kings and queens of the kingdom. And if nothing else, remember this: “once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”