I'd not read The Magician's Nephew, by CS Lewis, until about a year ago.
I'd always thought Chronicles began with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
So, I was a wee bit surprised when I dug into the series to re-read.
The story records the adventures of Diggory and his friend, Polly, who are given magic rings by Diggory's wild-looking Uncle Andrew (who dabbles in magic...and, isn't as professionally skilled as he might like to think).
Diggory and Polly find themselves in several strange other-worlds, exploring lands they never knew existed.
All's well until they find themselves in Charn, where the curious Diggory awakens an evil queen, who tricks her way back to England with the children when they try to escape her realm with their magic rings.
Of course, this leads to an uproar in the grand city of London, until the kiddos use the rings, once again, to attempt to take the queen back to Charn, and instead find themselves in Narnia, just as it is being birthed....AND, they come face to face with Aslan, to whom Diggory has to explain the current circumstances.
All this background to say that Diggory, whose mom is very ill, and who is certain Aslan can do something to heal her, finds himself in a position to ask for help.
"Son of Adam," said Aslan, "Are you ready to undo the wrong that you have done to my sweet country of Narnia on the very day of its birth?'
Not knowing what he can really do to assist, Diggory says, "Yes...."
And for a split second he had some wild idea of saying, "I'll help you if you'll promise to help my Mother," but he realized just in time that "the Lion was not at all the sort of person one should try to make bargains with..."
Quite often, without even realizing it, we do this with the Lord.
We may not say it out loud, but we hold certain expectations of Him...
Spoken or unspoken rules we live by that if I do _________________(name the condition), then He, in turn, will do ______________ (name the blessing)...
Author, Larry Crabb, called this "presumptive sin."
Somehow we have this idea that if we do everything just right, the Lord, in turn, will have to bless us with what we want.
And yet, we are forgetting God is not a puppet easily manipulated.
We forget that He is a Sovereign King, and has a plan that can't be thwarted by evil, or controlled by us.
In doing so, we attempt to make Him our own personal "magician."
But!!!! He is not at all the sort of person you should try to make bargains with...
He is God!
I've had several conversations around this thought as of late...and, more...I've watched as dear ones, who "expected God to act a certain way based on their good work," walked away from Him, because in their minds, He didn't live up to His promises.
Another gal commented that in her experience there came a point where she said she entered into what she calls her "I did all the things right and it still didn't matter, so maybe following the rules isn't worth it" phase.
Like many, she questioned her faith.
Fortunately, God not only restored, but increased, her faith as she "reconstructed" it through the truth of His Word.
Our Life Group even discussed this same topic last Sunday as we carried on our study of Galatians.
The topic of God's Grace is such a huge part of this epistle from the Apostle Paul.
Sometimes, as believers, we start taking grace for granted; and, then, we make certain assumptions...
....this whole concept smacks of striking "bargains" with God...
In this we are just as bewitched as the Galatians.
Somehow I begin to think that if I do this Christian life JUST-right, God will bless me in return; and, it is such a lie from the enemy.
Oh, how he tricks us.
Paul says, "Pay attention! Let's think this through..."
Once saved by grace through faith in Christ, live the same way...by faith and not "counting on" what we do for the Lord!
In all things, we trust God with an assurance He does what is best for us (even if it seems HARD in the moment)...
In fact, Paul's saying - The God who supplied the Spirit for you...is "choreographing" your life (that's what the Greek word translated supplied means)... Galatians 3:5!
He is working your life-story in ways you don't even understand.
So, we allow Him room to do so - without manipulation....
Paul wants the Galatians (as well as you and I) to see just how GRAND GRACE is...
He wants us to recognize that we've done nothing to deserve salvation, BUT JESUS...
He, who so loved the world...
He, who willingly died for us...
...will also complete and perfect us as we journey through life (His way! His timing!).
We don't DO anything else.
It's been DONE ✅
And, what's more - we need remember: there is no entitlement in the Kingdom of God.
We simply trust and obey just as the old hymn says...
If along the course of our life, God pours out His blessings upon us, it's just icing on the cake.
I never deserved anything to begin with...
Paul says - in no way, never-ever pick up works again (for any reason), once we've picked up grace.
We can't hold both in the same hands.
Do I trust His grace with each and every step of each ordinary day of my life?
Do I attempt to manipulate Him to work to my advantage?
He is not the kind of person one should try make bargains with....