In Star Wars the Jedi are empowered by the Force. It allows them to do incredible things. It is the source of their power but they do not control it. This is made clear from the very beginning of Star Wars. In A New Hope there is a scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi is training Luke Skywalker. In this scene from the original Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi explains it as such. While Luke is training with his lightsaber Obi-Wan instructs him “Remember a Jedi can feel the force flowing through him.”
In response to this Luke asks, somewhat confused, “It means it controls your actions.” To which the wise old Jedi replies “Partially.”
The idea presented about the Jedi in the Star Wars movies, and then reinforced in other forms of media, is that the Jedi do not control the Force. Instead, they yield to it and the Force flows through them. In Empire Strikes Back there is a scene where Yoda insists to Luke Skywaker, “Control, you must learn control.” However, what Luke has to learn is not how to control the Force, but he needs to learn how to control his own impulses so that he can better let go, trust the Force, and let it flow through him.
The Force might be a fictional mystical energy, but I think there is a strong connection between the fictional universe and a real spiritual force at the heart of our universe. In Paul’s letter the church in Rome he wrote: “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy to offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper act of worship” (Romans 12:1- NIV)
In Star Wars, Obi Wan tells Luke that the Force partially controls his actions. The scene connects with this scripture, because to be a living sacrifice is to allow God through the Holy Spirit to partially control our actions. To be a living sacrifice means we offer ourselves, our will, and our very lives to God. In doing so we are not puppets on a string. To be a living sacrifice is to offer up our lives to God’s service but we do so by choice. In Star Wars the Jedi are essentially living sacrifices to the Force. In that clip, Obi-Wan was telling Luke to have faith and trust in the Force. In doing so the Force guided his actions. In the exact same way, we offer up our bodies as living sacrifices to God and we do this by faith. This is why this is a spiritual act of worship, we are our offering ourselves in faith.
The Force guides the Jedi’s actions and when we are a living sacrifice God guides our actions. Paul continued to make this clear in Romans when he wrote, “then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)
This is truly an incredible statement which is full of power. When we submit our will, our wishes, and our desires before God then we make room for God’s will. This is a promise that all of us can grow in faith to a point where we can in confidence act knowing that we are acting within the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Being a living sacrifice means that we choose to put God first above all else.
Even though the scriptures make this incredible promise, we tend to struggle being transformed by the renewing of our mind and submitting to be a living sacrifice. Like Luke Skywalker we need to learn control, and like Luke what we have to control is our desire to be in control of everything. In general, we like to be in control, or at least we like to think we are in control. We like to think we are the masters of our own destiny and nothing has providence over us. However, where does that get us? When we take the wheel are we truly at peace? Do we experience true joy? Are we filled with a sense of purpose? I cannot speak for you but in my experience that is not how it works. We only find a sense of peace, contentment, and joy when we know in the depths of hearts and souls that we are rooted in and following God’s will. . In order to do this we have to overcome our selfish desire to be in control. We have to let go and allow the Holy Spirit of God to readjust our hearts, renew our minds, and guide our actions to be an agents of God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.
Like Luke Skywalker had to give up control and trust the Force, we need to let go of our desire for control. We need to have faith and trust in God by submitting our desire for control, our hearts, and our very lives as a living sacrifice. Doing so is our first step into a larger world. Doing so moves us to a faith that believes in what we cannot see. We move from trusting in only what we can control to taking steps in faith which confirm that God, Jesus, forgiveness . . . it’s true. All of it.