This summer, I decided to put aside some books I was reading (yes, I read more than one at a time!) and re-read C.S. Lewis’ fantastic The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s my favourite work of literature but it had been too long since I last read it.
In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (the second book) a skirmish takes place between Peter—the oldest Pevensie sibling—and the evil Wolf who attacked his sister. Peter uses his sword to stab the Wolf in the heart and then turns to Aslan (the lion, king of Narnia), perhaps for his approval.
Instead of praising Peter for his courage and success, Aslan says: “You have forgotten to clean your sword.” Peter blushes and then scrubs his sword on the grass and dries it on his coat.
“Hand it to me and kneel, Son of Adam,” said Aslan. And when Peter had done so he struck him with the flat of the blade and said, “Rise up, Sir Peter Wolf’s-Bane. And whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword.”
I was taken aback by this passage and stopped to ponder why Aslan made such a big deal about Peter wiping his sword. As I reflected on my own spiritual battles, it occurred to me that, sometimes, when I’ve experienced victory over temptation and sin, I sit there and brood, or I may even gloat over my “success,” thus letting my guard down.
When Peter wiped down his sword, he removed all traces of the battle he had just been through, eliminating any evidence he had conquered his enemy. That took humility. It was only when he had cleaned his weapon and knelt before Aslan that the king knighted him. Even then, even after being raised up, he was instructed again to always wipe his sword.
That’s a good reminder to never get comfortable or overly confident when things seem to be going well in my spiritual life. God exalts those who humble themselves (Luke 14:11). The enemy tries to humiliate us, and even friends and loved ones may unknowingly keep us feeling down about ourselves. But true humility is simply acknowledging that any strength or success in our lives is from God and He deserves all the glory.
Cleaning the blood and fur off the blade also prepared it for the next battle. We must always keep our spiritual armour and weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18) sharp, polished, and ready for action.
Lewis also said:
“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”
Are you ready? Is your sword clean?