Have you ever had one of 'those' friends? Sure you have. *wink*
Maybe you have had one of 'those' friends who fool around in school but always score really well in exams or a friend who never picks up the phone when you call even when you are right behind them. Annoying, right? Or maybe you have one of 'those' friends who cleverly covers up with Photoshop so well that they look fantastic. Then they post it on Instagram. Maybe you've dealt with the worst - that friend who everyone loves and you are the one who does so much for them without getting any credit. Guess what? You can even find 'those' types of friends in C.S. Lewis' characters from The Last Battle of The Chronicles of Narnia series.
It is very possible you know who I'm talking about in The Last Battle. In case you haven't, these friends you would read about are Puzzle and Shift. 'Shift' is clever and cunning. Shift is an ape. The author describes him as "the cleverest, ugliest, most wrinkled Ape you can imagine." Shift persuades 'Puzzle,' a well-meaning but simple-minded donkey that he is not exactly that smart. They are supposed to be friends, but they are more like master and servant.
Many people are in relationships like that — one 'friend' benefits from the other doing things for them. Being a part of that kind of friendship is naturally unhealthy for both people. Obviously, one is being used, and the other becomes used to people doing stuff for them. It is true that even Jesus tell us, "If you do what I command, you are my friend." (John 15:14) But we are not Jesus' slaves. His commands are what are best for us because Jesus knows what is best for us.
In Puzzle and Shift's relationship, Shift is the master. He tells Puzzle that he isn't "clever enough" to understand why Shift wants him to do all the things he makes him do. As a result, Shift has a beautiful life, while Puzzle leads the life of a pack animal. This also happened at the beginning of Genesis, didn't it? The snake in Eden convinced Eve that eating the forbidden fruit would be best for her. He said that she would have knowledge like God's (Genesis 3:22). Of course, it was nowhere near God's wisdom, and she and Adam got thrown out of their beautiful garden.
The wisdom that Eve truly needed was the fear of the Lord, which King Solomon said is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). In Narnia, Aslan is like the Lord. Puzzle did fear Aslan, but he was also scared of Shift. Because of this, Shift was able to talk Puzzle into wearing the Lions' skin which tricked so many into believing he was the mighty Aslan. Be careful what you 'fear.'
Regarding that fear, in Revelation 13, God says that at the end of the world, a man will pretend to be God and everyone will believe Him. Puzzle was Shift's puppet. All the Narnians thought that Puzzle was Aslan, and they were doing what he wanted. In the end, Puzzle was forgiven, but Narnia, the Narnia he knew, was gone.
So, how about you? Do YOU have one of 'those' friends as Puzzle had with Shift? Do you have a friend who can convince you of anything, entice you to cheat or lie or make unhealthy choices? It is sadly relatively simple to Instagram-your-life that way without even realizing you're doing it. Hmm. I do hope this is not the case with you, but in case you are thinking of a friend who influences you in that way right now, I want to encourage you to, well, find a better friend. And I can certainly introduce you to one although it is someone you probably already know. You have probably guessed that His name is Jesus. And He is NOT "one of those friends." To describe His particularly excellent quality as briefly as I can, I will use an everyday modern slang and tell you that Jesus is truly, undeniably, 'legit.'
But you've met Him. Right?
"There are a lot of smooth-talking charlatans loose in the world who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was truly human, a flesh-and-blood human being."
II John 1:7
The crafting of this piece came from a student of literature and studies Narnia with Impact Tutorials in Nashville, Tennessee.
Have YOU read the Narnia chronicles? If not you should check them out. They are very easy and quick to read. These are awesome books to get children into reading too! If reading the Narnia chronicles has inspired your relationship with the Almighty, please let us know how in the comment box on the bottom of this page. God bless!