In Christ, we are part of a spiritual body and family. But when things get rough, or when we stray away from the Word, it can be hard to feel close to this fact of Christian living. We can end up giving ourselves the choice of adopting ourselves into a worldly state of living, a community that feels immediately closer but draws us further and further away from God.
Myriad Colours Phantom World may be a difficult show for the growing Christian, considering how much fan-service and other immoral perspective sof women they’d have to wade through. But like any show, it’s something a christian can take inspiration and wisdom from by paralleling it to scripture; in this case, Reina’s struggle with family ties in episode 4. Reina has a rough relationship with her real family, and this gives room for a Phantom to offer her an illusory but far more satisfying alternative, just like how we can open windows for Satan to tempt us with similar fantasies that titillate our desire to return old, unchristian ways.
But Reina chose to leave her imaginary family; we too must leave worldly communities for the sake of God’s kingdom. Our ties to God are more important than anything else, no matter how much it may feel they’re weighing us down or giving us hardship.
1) We have a spiritual family
With Reina’s fantasy family symbolised as rabbits, it strikes us that she has a desire for that family to be vast. As an only child, her embrace of the cast as family members speaks of the ‘family’ she sees in them in reality and how she wishes those thoughts about them were literal. However, she learns that she can feel a great sense of belonging with them, especially through how they reach out to pull her out of her fantasy, despite them not being literally her siblings.
We too will sometimes feel far from the body of Christ at times, not feeling how we fit into it or how it’s supposed to fill our lives. Thinking of God as our Father can seem strange when most of us have an earthly father who we can see, touch and directly talk to. But our bonds to God the Father are stronger that those sensory ties. When Christ was asked who his mother and brothers were, he pointed to his followers. (Matthew: 12:47-49)
Our bonds to God are more than genealogy; our relationship with him, and our fellowship with our brethren, is spiritual; the Spirit we received brought about our adoption to sonship (Romans 8:15). Reina’s ties with her friends may not share the same spirituality, but they remain to stand out similarly against literal family ties as our part in the body of Christ stands with greater importance than earthly institutions of family. Christ once left his parents in order to come before the Lord; though we must honour our mother and father, we too are called to put our relationship with God before our bond with our family.
2) It’s the best we can get
The restrictions God places on us may seem like a burden, but escaping into total liberation becomes, ironically, a form of slavery. In holding onto a worldly community that goes against God’s teaching, we can imprison ourselves with the walls of a sinful mind, just as Reina was imprisoned by her desire for a superficially satisfying family.
Even though Reina seemed happy, she had no will or control; no freedom of choice. Some people view religions as a parallel to this; monastic life, for instance, might immediately come to mind. But Reina’s world was in her head, and our realm of freedom also exists within us, not around us. In the end, Reina accepted her restrictive parenting as a better option than being psychologically restricted by the rabbit-parents and their pretence of satisfaction.
If we choose worldly ‘freedom’ instead of following the will of God, we might as well be growing bunny-ears too. We’ll feel satisfied in the moment as long as we’re doing what we want to, but the freedom will be a deception, and we’ll in fact become captives to sin. Christ was sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18). Keeping your faith in Christ is an escape from oppression, not an embrace of it. Grumbling about any discomfort from Christian living is not a voice of love for God; his burden is light, if we stop lusting for the ways of the old self.
Reina had to be snapped out of her trance through an uncomfortable appeal to her instincts; God too will have to interrupt our happiness if we’re finding it in sin, and it won’t be comfortable. We won’t be throwing him into a toilet in response, however. We’ll have to face up to our sins and confess them, or painfully try to ignore the conviction and return to our struggle without God. But God only gives us this uncomfortable choice, again and again as we slip away from him, because he loves us and knows how to get us back.
The world of sin may appear colourful when you approach it, but living in it and becoming its slave takes away the colour from life. It’s better to take the time to get to know God better, so his Word feels like less difficult to carry with you in practice everywhere, than give into a vice that instantly satisfies but drags us into darkness. To stop ourselves from straying, it’s vital to put God’s family above all other ties. Friends, governments, and even families, can lead you astray if you put your faith in them first. The last one is the hardest to put in its place, but could you put your obedience to an unbelieving father above your obedience to the father you believe in?
Reina’s struggle is a prime example of how we sometimes have to choose what feels harder in the moment because it allows us to get somewhere in the future; a palace prepared for us in heaven, not a cruelly crayon-coloured house that only exists in our heads.
Current theme music: Lemaitre – Not Too Late