I watch Lord of the Rings as often as I can. And that’s not very often, because the rest of my family doesn’t always agree, or the time doesn’t allow. Sometimes I watch just part of it, like I did just a few nights ago. The movie to me is like visiting with old friends. It has a hugely impacting story that I just love. For one thing, the entire premise is a journey of heroic selflessness to destroy evil. Along the way, there is so much growth of character and relationships. It’s just jam packed with goodness for me. Anyways, as I was watching for the billionth time, it hit me, as it has before a billion times about how relative the story is to us as Christians. Let me tell you about it.
There is this ring. The One Ring. It is the key to destroying or empowering the evil in the world of Middle Earth. In a scene early in the first movie, we see Isildur with the One Ring, following Elrond, a very much older and wiser Elf Lord to the place where the ring can be destroyed. Isildur hesitates, and Elrond tells him, “Cast it into the fire! Destroy it!” Isildur replies, “No.” and walks away, holding onto that source of evil and power. Temptation had it’s day and evil had it’s way. Isildur did not choose wisely. It had taken hold of him, and eventually leads him to his death
Jump ahead 3,000+ years. Now the Ring is in the possession of Frodo. He wears it around his neck, and it’s a tremendous burden. It’s heavy, causing him pain and injury. He cradles it and strokes it, as it speaks lies to his mind, taking hold of him. He even puts it on his finger, knowing that when he does, the enemy can see him, and it puts him in more danger.
We are so like these characters! We hold in our possession something we deem is bright, shiny, beautiful, powerful, irresistible, enchanting. But in truth it is the one thing that we need to let go of in our lives. To surrender it means freedom. Only we are blinded and we feel that surrendering it will make us weak and incomplete. That’s the deception! Listen to the voices of those around you who are begging you to cast it into the fire! Listen to the voice of God, asking you to let it go!
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13
I am still fighting the battle of food addiction. Like the One Ring, it wants to be found. The foods I am trying to avoid call out to me often. They remind me how delicious they taste. But I know their game. There is a bitter aftertaste in my soul awaiting me if I succumb to their seduction. And I will not allow that. I look forward to the day on my journey when I can say “It’s gone!”, as Frodo declared at the end of Return of the King. At the point where the One Ring was destroyed, it no longer had a hold on him, and he could see clearly. His mind was not consumed with the thoughts that the ring wanted him to have. He was free.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1
So what One Thing is your One Ring? What in your life weighs you down, burdens you, tempts you, and steals your will? Cast it in to the Fire! Destroy it!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phil 4:13