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The Dark Side

      A couple weeks ago probably one of the biggest announcements of our lifetime occurred. (No, it wasn’t the reelection of President Barak Obama.) It was announced that The Walt Disney Company would purchase Lucas Films and thus own the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. That is epic news! I grew up on the Indiana Jones films and I always wanted to be an archeologist, even after I found out it wasn’t as glamorous as Indy’s adventures. Heck, I met my wife while looking into Southern Adventist University to enroll their archeology program. Those films had a very profound impact on my life. Star Wars did not.

      My best childhood memories of Star Wars involved the wonderful naps I took while attempting to make it through just one of the films. I didn’t care to be a Jedi, I didn’t care that the evil Sith had taken over the galaxy, and I didn’t care that Darth Vader was the father of Luke Skywalker (sorry for the spoiler). The films bored me to sleep, literally. I would have rather watched James Bond chase down villains or, as stated above, Dr. Jones find a mysterious artifact. I didn’t care for Science Fiction as a genre and especially the struggle between good and evil that was represented in every single one of the Star Wars films.

      Then something happened that change all of that. Star Wars was announced to be rereleased in theaters across the country and they were planning an entirely new trilogy of films. Oh man, I was so… caring less. Until I watched Star Wars: A New Hope, Episode Four, on the big screen for the first time. Not only did it awaken a sleeping Star Wars nerd but also opened the door to other science fiction shows. Stargate, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, the list goes on and on. I love science fiction now. But you know what? I always go back to Star Wars. 

     In the greatest science fiction stories ever (sorry Star Trek fans), the peace loving Jedi fight the murderous Sith who have taken over the Republic and enslaved all its intelligence species. Both sides draw from a mysterious power known as The Force that is said to be the result of all life in the galaxy. The two sides of The Force are The Light Side and The Dark Side. I will let you guess who uses what. When you dig deeper into the world and the mythology that George Lucas created you see so many parallels between the Jedi and Christians with only one difference, the Jedi are far more discipline then we are.

      The Jedi live by a code that could have been stripped from the Holy Bible. It is all about putting away the things of their world and living a pure life through The Light Side of The Force. A matter of fact Paul writes to us about something very similar in Ephesians 4:22-32. It goes as follows: 

      “You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger. Do not give the devil an opportunity. The one who steals must steal no longer; rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the one who has need. You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. You must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk. Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” (NET Bible)

      In ten verses Paul gives us an outline for exactly the type of people we should be as Christians. First and foremost we are to “lay aside the old man”. What is the old man that Paul is writing about here? Obviously it isn’t a literal elderly person but it is our sinful personas. You see, when we are without Christ, outside of grace if you will, our soul is rotting from all the filth and destruction that is occurring in our lives. Our “bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk” is eating away at our inner being. The lust for the flesh and our desire for fame and power are causing us to be empty husks that will be tossed into a burning fire. That is the old man and that is The Dark Side of our spirit. But Paul tells us, as Christians, we have a different path set before us. 

     The Light Side is the exact opposite of all those things but in order to reach the Light we must put away all sin from our lives and become Saints. Saints love peace, have a longing for knowledge, enjoy serenity, and flourish in harmony. We are to live in love, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:2.

      If you have watched Star Wars, and I am sure you have, you will know that the Jedi also have power through The Light Side of The Force. Did you know that we have powers to battle our dark side as well? Here is the proof in Ephesians 6:10-18.
      “Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, and in all of this, by taking up the shied of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.” (NET Bible)

      True and living light side power right at you finger tips. We are at the place where we have lives of peace, knowledge, serenity, and harmony. Now what do we do? We defend it because evil wants to take it from us and reinstall the old man. Let’s look at what Paul is talking about here. 

      Whenever you read those verses I bet you get a mental image of the stuff that was mentioned. You got your sword, your shield, the breastplate, on and on, but that isn’t the right focus. What do those things represent? I’ll tell you what TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, FAITH, SALVATION, THE WORD OF GOD, & PRAYER. These are the tools that God has given us to defend our new man and to secure peace, knowledge, serenity, and harmony in our lives.
      Remember back in paragraph four, sentence five, when I said the Jedi are more discipline then we are as Christians? Well, generally speaking, I still stand by that. The one thing that the Jedi do, that we could really learn from, is that they stay away from anything that could lead down “the path to The Dark Side”. We just went over everything we need to do to achieve our new man and to defend it but are we really serious about it? I have to be honest; if we were I think our lives would look a whole lot different. I’m not saying that we would all be wielding glowing swords but we would be stronger in our faith and in The Spirit. 

      We would be slow to anger, brush aside temptations, not just talk about our faith but show it, we would be knowledgeable in The Word, and be a beckon for all to see the love of Christ. We would set aside time to pray, help others around us, and spread the good news of The Gospel. We would not be misjudging others, we would not be spreading rumors or talking in slanderous tones, and we would not being worried about what others think of us. We would be active members of our church which is a member of the body of Christ. Are we doing all those things? 

 I will not set here and judge you specifically for what you may or may not be doing. My God knows that I need a lot of help in some, if not most, of these areas. But I will ask you to take a very deep and concerned evaluation of your life and compare it to what the Holy Bible says. Ask yourself, “Am I the person God wants me to be?” Ask, “Can I do more to bring godly discipline to my life?” If you are serious about getting right with God then you will develop multiple courses of action that need to occur to change your life for the better. You will discover what it really means to be a new man in Christ and to discard the things of this world. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything, it is the hardest struggle of your life and you may truly never reach perfection, but the fact that you build a deep desire to obtain it and integrate the teachings you discover into your life will change you forever.

 May the real force be with you.

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