Eustice’s Dragon Heart

C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader contains a bunch of stories you can learn important lessons from, and a huge one is Eustace Scrubb turning into a dragon because of the greed and arrogance in his heart. He never was a nice boy, but somehow he always justified his know-it-all smugness and materialism. So let’s pick up the story on Dragon Island.

Dragon-Eustace at the pool

[Just as Eustace] reached the edge of the pool two things happened. First of all, it came over him like a thunder-clap that he had been running on all fours—and why on earth had he been doing that? And secondly, as he bent toward the water, he thought for a second that yet another dragon was staring up at him out of the pool. But in an instant he realized the truth. The dragon face in the pool was his own reflection. There was no doubt of it. It moved as he moved: it opened and shut its mouth as he opened and shut his. He had turned into a dragon while he was asleep. Sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.

So far, Eustace had been a thorn in the Pevensie children’s sides, proclaiming his opinion—which was always the only right one, of course—because the others were too stupid to know the right thing to do, say, or think. At the pool, though, he saw himself as he really was. When Jesus shows you the sin in your life it’s sort of like Eustace looking into that pool; suddenly you can see yourself as Jesus sees you, as you really are.

Eustace wasn’t a bad boy, just disagreeable. In a way, it wasn’t even his fault. He’d been raised progressively, by liberal parents, so he was just the product of his environment. Why, then, did Aslan blame him for his pride and greed?

Dragon-Eustace to the rescue

The thing about sin is, it gloms onto anything of self in your life, even if it seems good, and turns it into evil. Eustace was bright and assertive, but sin turned it into arrogance. Since his intelligence and assertiveness were part of his personality, it all seemed perfectly natural and right to him, so he felt no conscience pangs about it. Each of us has things in our personality that sin can turn into ugliness. That’s why Jesus has to take us to his “reflective pool” of conviction to set us straight about ourselves.

Only when we are willing to admit that ugliness to ourselves, and to Jesus, can he begin to transform us from dragon to the person he meant us to be. When dragon-Eustice finally hit bottom and became as sad as sad could be, Aslan came to him and told him how he could change back into a boy. But it wouldn’t be easy! Eustice had to scrape all that old dragon flesh away until he came to himself. Do you think it hurt? Yes indeed it hurt! But not as much as being a dragon when he was supposed to be a boy. When Jesus saves us, he helps us scrape our own sinful, “dragon flesh” away, so we can live with him forever.


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