June 27, 2011
The Jungle Book
By Ryan Duncan, TheFish.com Editor
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. - John 15:19
One of my favorite books is Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The story begins with Mowgli, a “Man Cub” as the animals call him, being found in the jungle by a family of wolves. The wolves decide to raise the baby boy as their own, and Mowgli grows up in the jungle alongside all the animals. It’s a great story, full of danger and adventure, but beneath all the excitement the story carries a rather interesting message.
You see, from the very beginning of The Jungle Book, Mowgli is aware that something is wrong. The jungle has been his home all his life, but more and more he feels that he does not belong there. He tries to bury his feelings by traveling deep into the jungle and living like one of the animals, but in the end, Mowgli finally comes to terms with the truth of his situation. He does not belong in the jungle. I don’t know where Kipling stood spiritually, but I think most Christians understand what Mowgli was going through.
You see, I’ve always thought of The Jungle Book as another way of looking at the Christian life. In one of his more confusing verses, the apostle Paul writes, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”(Romans 7:14-15). God created us to be in a relationship with him, but because of sin we find ourselves living in a world that exists apart from him. We know something is wrong, we can sense it, so we try to bury those feelings buy indulging in the world around us. Some people try to find fulfillment in their jobs, in fame and fortune, or maybe their spouses, while too many turn to darker lifestyles to fill the void.
However, it is only when we accept Christ that we finally understand the root of our emptiness. As Christians, we realize that Christ plan for our lives is so much bigger than what this world can offer us. Like Mowgli, we should live our lives in the jungle, but never forget where our true home lies. Like C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity,
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world."
Intersecting Faith and Life
In what ways are you conforming to the world? Take some time to reflect on this.