One of the books that I have picked up and begun reading over the break is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I love all seven books in C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I've read them through several times and have read them to my brothers a few times. The stories are captivating, the analogies astounding, and, perhaps this will sound weird, but I love the British spelling of words throughout the books.
While reading through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader there have been several great chapters that have amazing analogies, but I think one of my favourites is the one about Eustace being changed from a dragon back to a human. Now, if you haven't read the book this may be confusing, but I hope it'll make some sense. (Also, if you haven't read the book you really should, they're great and an easy read.)
So, Eustace who isn't the nicest fellow around got himself turned into a dragon (long story). While being a dragon he realizes what a pain he has been to everyone and is truly sorry about the way he behaved. One night Eustace wakes up and sees a lion. He follows the lion up a mountain to a pond, only it looked more like a nice bath. The lion tells him to undress. Eustace is confused because of course dragons don't wear clothes. But then he remembers that dragons, like snakes, can shed their skin. So he tears with his fingernails and pulls his skin off. His skin is sitting next to him looking, well, like skin, and he is smooth and ready to jump into the refreshing water.
Yet, as soon as he is about to get into the water he is covered in scales again. He goes through the descaling process about three more times with the same result each time. Finally the lion (Aslan) says that he will need to undress Eustace. Eustace lies down on the ground and the lion's claws go deep within Eustace, it hurts, but Eustace knows that it is making him clean. When the lion is done Eustace looks at his skin on the ground. It was, as described in the book, "ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been."
I just love that analogy. We may try (and try hard and several times) to rid ourselves of our sinful flesh, but even though it may feel good to us we can't truly take it away. If we try to rid ourselves of sin it lays on the ground looking nasty, but not too nasty because we see ourselves as not that bad. And it's never truly gone. It will always come back, just like Eustace's dragon scales.
The only one who can truly save us from our sin is Jesus. He peels it off and sometimes it is painful. And our sin isn't pretty. It is thicker, darker, and nastier than we may think. But He saves us from it. He makes us clean by His blood and power over death! Only He can save us!