Devotion #10: Devourer

I smelled his cool breath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. It was unlike anything else. Instinctively, unthinkingly, I leaned closer, inhaling.
And he was gone, his hand ripped from mine. In the time it took my eyes to focus, he was twenty feet away, standing at the edge of the small meadow, in the deep shade of a huge fir tree. He stared at me, his eyes dark in the shadows, his expression unreadable.
“I’m…sorry…Edward,” I whispered. I knew he could hear.
“Give me a moment,” he called, just loud enough for less sensitive ears. I sat very still.
After ten incredibly long seconds, he walked back, slowly for him.
“I am so very sorry.” He hesitated. “Would you understand what I meant if I said I was only human?”
I nodded once, not quite able to smile at his joke. Adrenaline pulsed through my veins as the realization of danger slowly sank in.
“I’m the world’s best predator, aren’t I? Everything about me invites you in—my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I need any of that!”
“As if you could outrun me,” he laughed bitterly.
“As if you could fight me off,” he said gently.
I sat without moving, more frightened of him than I had ever been. I’d never seen him so completely freed of that carefully cultivated facade. He’d never been less human…or more beautiful.
His lovely eyes seemed to glow with rash excitement. Then, as the seconds passed, they dimmed. His expression slowly folded into a mask of ancient sadness.
“Don’t be afraid,” he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive.
“I promise…” He hesitated. “I swear not to hurt you…” He seemed more concerned with convincing himself than me.
“Don’t be afraid.”
“Please forgive me.”
Twilight – Chapter 13

God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24, CEV).

Self-control is a fruit of the spirit. However, it is interesting to note it is listed last. I believe that this is because you actually need all of the other traits to produce self-control. I think this is one of the major reasons why teaching on the subject is often not as effective as it should be. Love is the biggest part of our ability to live as Christ. Then comes joy, which produces peace, and patience, and kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and finally, self-control. Similarly, without an object or goal, our self-control is unfounded.

Simply put, it is true love which keeps us from sin, and not our will-power (though, certainly, don’t stop trying).

The above passage from Twilight details a good vampire’s struggle for self-control over his darker desires, to keep from killing the one he loves for his own gratification. We all have a dark side, we all have the desire to feed on things which we shouldn’t, including each other.
Paul the Apostle addressed the same timeless issue to the Galatians in chapter 5, saying “13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

This is why the concept of vampirism is so horrific; it is offensive to our sense of humanity, it grieves us to our core to contemplate that kind of offense. The vampires in Twilight who abstain from human blood represent humanity, in our quest to “live peaceably with all men” and refrain from “biting and devouring”. As I’ve said before, the series can serve as one long parable in several ways, this is just one of many.

We all have the capacity to devour each other: to tear each other down, manipulate and abuse one another emotionally and mentally; to suck the very life from our brother’s veins. When we choose not to, that act is love.

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~ by sarahthebaker on December 1, 2009.

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