This is part of my series on stories. You can read an introduction here.
December 17 was the culmination of literally years of anticipation: my husband and I got to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In preparation, we re-watched the series with friends (trying out the machete order), and had a Star Wars party for Return of the Jedi, complete with epic food puns and an amazing Sarlacc cake by a friend. Once the day finally came, I was not disappointed; I thought the newest episode in the saga lived up to the massive hype and my high expectations.
That night, as I tried to fall asleep with X-wings, droids, and light sabers swirling through my head, I had this incredible sense of exhilaration. My mind kept racing through the host of characters I’d just met and the epic narrative woven by their intersecting lives. I wanted to watch it again. I wanted my own BB-8 Droid. I wanted all the t-shirts and memorabilia I could get my hands on. I wanted desperately to keep the story going however I could in order to prolong my joy and excitement.
The Star Wars movies have endured through decades, continuing to captivate new generations of fans. I think one of the most compelling themes of the movies is that something small or unimportant can defeat tremendous evil. A poor farm boy can become a noble warrior and savior. A dishonest smuggler can become a brave leader and hero. A worthless scavenger can become the revitalizing hope of a new generation. It is thrilling to see good conquer evil; it plays off of our innate understanding that the world is not how it is supposed to be and will only be set right by light vanquishing darkness.
This kind of story is appealing not only because we want to have heroes rescue us, but because we ourselves want to be triumphant in battle like these heroes. Those made new in Christ know the constant fight against the sin that remains in us, all the while longing for the battle to end. For this reason, we thrill to see our on-screen heroes achieve victory over evil after wearying, costly battles.
But we aren’t heroes. As we fight against this remnant of sin in our hearts, we see more and more our weakness and inability. We ache for this battle to be over, for our fighting to pay off. We yearn for the day when we will celebrate lasting peace with our brothers-in-arms, victorious at last. As this battle stretches on through the years of our lives, some days it feels hopeless. But it is not – God has given us help, and we experience victory even today.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Romans 8:26
Though our final victory will not be until we reach glory, we taste that triumph now. We are able to fight sin in the power of the Holy Spirit. This power is the same that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11) – the same awesome, incomprehensible power that destroyed death and conquered Hell is continually changing and renewing our hearts. Though we may grow weary in our struggle, we must continue to fight, knowing that ultimately the war is already won. We can pursue the life of righteousness God calls us to, and work to kill sin because we are already “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).