The Making of Darth Vader
I don't consider myself to be a Star Wars buff by any means, but I do understand and enjoy the basic storyline. My wife and I have been watching the six episodes in order recently, and we completed the third installment Tuesday night before going to sleep. In that episode, Anakin Skywalker tragically falls to the dark side of the force and becomes Darth Vader.

How does it happen? In the final days of the Clone Wars, Chancellor Palpatine reveals himself to Anakin as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious (he is quite the devilish figure). Sidious tempts Anakin to join the dark side by promising him that it will enable him to save his pregnant wife, Padme, from dying in childbirth. There is a lot of action on screen and a lot of turmoil within Anakin as he struggles to decide what to do. He seems to know what he should do, but this will lead to painful loss. He admits to feeling lost and confused, not knowing who to trust. Ultimately, due to selfishness and deception, he makes several wrong decisions and quickly finds the path of his life dramatically altered away from good and toward evil. Thus, his identity as Anakin is cast aside and he fully embraces his life as Darth Vader.

So what, Stephen? What does this have to do with the Bible or Christian living? Although the movie is fictional, it reminded me of a truth that is very real. We can make right choices and do the right things for months, years, and even decades, and then, due to weakness, doubt, or foolishness destroy so much good in an instant! This is a sobering truth and one we all need to be reminded of regularly. Life can change so fast for the worse if we are not always on guard. It matters not how much ability or potential one has, it can be destroyed in short order through one or more poor choices! For Anakin, it was his improper attachment to his wife that was the source of his undoing. For David, it was his unbridled lust toward Bathsheba that brought so much misery into his life (cf. II Sam. 11ff). For Judas, it was his desire for money that destroyed him (cf. Matt. 26:15,16). For Demas, it was his love for the world that caused him to fall away (cf. II Tim. 4:10). How many others could we describe in similar terms--perhaps some we have known personally?

One thousand right choices can sometimes be marred irreparably by one wrong choice. Trust takes years to build and a moment to destroy. That's the way life is. Thankfully, as I Corinthians 10:13 teaches, God will not let us be overpowered by temptation. He always makes a way of escape if we will look for it and then embrace it! Such was true for Anakin, David, Judas, Demas, and even you and me. Sadly, they didn't want the way of escape. They took the path of selfishness and consequently destroyed or damaged themselves in whole or in part. What about us? If we are wise we will heed the wisdom of these Scriptures:

Anakin never became a Jedi Master; he never achieved his full potential for good. What about you friends? God has blessed you with abilities, resources, and opportunities. Will you do good today, tomorrow, and always? Or, will you start down the right path only to later forsake it? Every choice matters, so live accordingly.