Surrounded by Titans
We all have giants in our lives. Those big, hulking, hideous creatures of emotional, physical, relational, and psychological pain that grip us, that crush us, that hold us captive against our will.
Attack on Titan captures this idea perfectly with their portrayal of the human-eating giants. Humanity has been crushed with just a fraction of their original population still surviving. Those who do survive are forced to live inside massive walls, cut off from much of the joy and splendor this life has to offer, living in constant fear of the worst.
And, much like in real life, the worst eventually does break through. The Titans come, and we have no defense.
I found I connected with the tragic conflicts of the Attack on Titan crew because it is so human. We are so angry with our failures, with our frailty.
We want so badly to overcome the evil in this world by:
- combined informed decisions
- our best efforts
- well-intentioned promises
- robust defenses
- sheer power of will
Eventually every attempt fails for one reason or another and we implode worse than we did before.
Our Titan Condition
Paul describes this Attack on Titan condition we humans have in Romans 7: 21-23
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
Left at this point we would all do well to act like every sane soldier in Attack on Titan: Freak out and run away!
Like the soldiers in Titan, we’ve seen first hand what titans do to those who stay:
- crush their bones
- eat their flesh
- turn resistance into meaty pulp.
The Gospel meets Attack on Titan
Many of us have seen this world treat people like titans treat humans. We look at those struggling with sin, with sickness, with peace, with hope, and we simply don’t believe there is a good way out.
We ask questions like “If there is a good God, how come…”
Many times we turn to other outlets for escape, because we don’t believe any help is coming.
This is where God’s story and Attack on Titan diverge.
Jesus: Titan Killer
In our most desperate moment, God provided:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
WAY before we asked for help. Just like Eren Yeager, God did the unthinkable: He BECAME one of us!
“[Jesus] made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Not only that, he became the very thing that was KILLING US, that he might kill it once and for all.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
The titans are defeated: Now what?
The titans can now be killed, not just held outside a wall! We can be free!!
To be sure, there are still titans. There’s a whole history as to the why, but it basically goes back to the choices that started the titans in the first place. The beauty is, those titans don’t have control anymore.
The gospel promises that in Jesus we are given everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and that anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved (John 3:15-16), and that we have been set free for freedom. (Galatians 5:1) In Christ we have the power to defeat titans!
God’s Scout Regiment
God not only promises to save us, specifically commissions us to be use while we’re still here!
Think about this: If God’s goal was simply to give people a golden ticket so they can join an eternal party, why not punch that card as soon as you get it?
But God is clear:
We each have a purpose we were designed to live out. THIS DOESN’T MEAN LIFE WILL BE EASY. It means we are put into God’s scout regiment. We go beyond the walls, risk the titans that remain, and bring love and freedom to those still living in oppression from titans. That’s what we have been saved for.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
We cannot win on our own. We either fall by our own strength, or trust the one who has already done the work.
The choice is not to win on our own or trust God. It’s to lose violently or to trust the titan killer.