The movie 300 is one of my very favorite movies. Honestly, the movie still gives me chills with all its awesome one liners. Besides the great effects, there’s also deep themes. As I have spent more time with Eric, I have become more and more aware of the messages that come at us through movies, some being noble and others not so much. 300 has it’s downsides but overall, there is a lot of good stuff.

For example:

–men/women complementarity (equality in value/worth, difference in roles)
–wife is the most important person/most influential person
–train children well, not just physically but mentally too
–loyalty to those who are following your leadership
–encouragement and take care of those you lead (where their lives supercede your own)
fight darkness until your last breath.

It’s the last one that I am going to focus on right now.

The last couple of weeks have been a little rough for me. The semester is winding down, meaning I am about to graduate and finally have some time to devote to things other than school. Wednesday at 9am is my last final…a moment I’ve been looking forward to for the past 3.5 years. That fact isn’t really a good thing because I have sacrificed a lot of the things Jesus commanded in order to maintain my priority of school/grades. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have had this semester to spend most of my time somewhere else and get some perspective on the purpose of school and enjoy it’s deprioritization in my life (I promise, mom, I am still passing!) How does this relate to 300? Well, the past couple of weeks I have gone into survival mode and at some point decided that I no longer had to persevere. My complaining, selfishness, and pride have all significantly increased in this time. And the sad thing is that I’m finally recognizing a pattern. I do this all the time. I make it almost all the way through whatever difficult season of life I’m in and when the end is in sight I give up. It’s like I see that I’m about to be free so I decide to stop expelling any more energy. Needless to say, this is a problem. Jesus calls us to persevere. Paul states over and over the importance of pressing on toward the goal and standing firm in the Lord.

Jesus knows I dig analogies. Particularly those relating to movies or science because I can visualize them well so they stick. He gave me one today that works well for me. I’ve been like Rocky a little before he knocks out Apollo. If you’ve seen the movie, maybe you admire this part but I can’t stand it. Rocky is getting punched in the face over and over and he is not doing anything to defend himself! Eventually, he musters enough energy and gets a few good punches in and Apollo is out (sorry if I just ruined it for you), but here’s how I see this: Rocky was lucky he had the stamina he did because he never would have made it if he didn’t have Apollo beat for endurance. Seriously, it is an accomplishment to be able to take that many punches to the face. But I don’t want to be like that! I don’t want to let the devil hit me over and over again and the only reason I win in the end is because I outlasted him. I don’t want to give up just because I know that in the end Team Jesus wins. I want to put up a fight. As Hope says it, I want to do as much damage to the kingdom of darkness as I can. I can’t do that when I go into survival mode.

Here’s what survival mode is: a lack of trust in God. It’s a thought pattern that says ‘I need to save my energy or retreat within myself to keep the necessities for life because if I don’t do that, I will not make it.’ Instead what we need to recognize is that we can fight until we have nothing left because Jesus is the one sustaining us. He has given us the Spirit in all his power to work within and through us. It’s not us fighting, and it’s not us doing the surviving. However it is us telling God we aren’t sure he knows how to take care of us.

I want to be like King Leonidas. He and his 300 men finish very well. They see their purpose and the fate that accompanies that and they fight until the end either way. Leonidas never bows to the evil he is fighting, he battles it head on, standing firm. And it took a swarm of arrow to take him out. Now obviously, the film lacked Jesus but it did not lack Gospel application.

James 1 talks about how temptation is never from God and the giving in to temptation is what leads to sin and ultimately to spiritual death. Temptation comes in the form a promise of fulfillment of a desire. Satan knows I value comfort and tells me a lot of lies in an effort to convince me that what God wants is not in my best interest. I’m learning right now that it is in these last moments that my fight matters the most because if I can’t make it through to the end, I will not be where I want to be on the day I meet Jesus.

How do we do this? Cling to the cross…because your life depends on it. Cling to nothing else, no matter how “good” it might be.

Then, in the words of the Spartans: Never retreat. Never surrender.

To weaken the devil’s grip, we must kill sin and give it no place in our lives. Even if that looks like deprivation of our “desires” because who we are and what we desire in our natural state is bent toward evil and rebellion. I’m thankful for the reminder that my King is worth my life and so much more and I choose to surrender it to him that he may use me how HE desires, no matter how long or hard that may be.

Here’s the clip that came to mind as I meditated on this today, and in the effort of full disclosure, I most definitely cry through this part.