So did you hear why Cinderella got kicked off the soccer team?
Because she kept running away from the ball!
And do you know why she has such a lousy football team?
Because she has a pumpkin for a coach!
Of course, you get these (terrible) jokes because more than likely, you know the story of the girl with the glass slipper, right? The story of Cinderella and her—shall we say “visually challenging” sisters and “compassion deficient” stepmom has been told and retold for many decades, and now it has been redone for 2015.
Except this is a live action version that has a few twists and turns that add more depth to the classic story and it helps the Frozen fans, who are going through withdrawal, let it go.
What I have always found fascinating is the meaning behind the name “Cinderella.” Her given name is Ella, but because of the dirty chores her stepmother consigns her to, she wakes up one morning with cinders from the fireplace all over her face and the name sticks.
Hence: “Cinder-Ella”…get it?
And as you know, Cinderella finds redemption in the form of a fairy godmother who uses some sweet short-term magic to give her an extreme makeover and a blinged out pumpkin ride that gets her to the ball in style.
But then the best part, of course, is the rest of the story with the dance, the prince, the stroke of twelve, the sad return to her home and finally the discovery that even though Ella was covered with cinders again, her foot fit the glass slipper that changed her destiny.
Have you ever felt like Cinderella? Not in the sense that you have an extremely difficult family situation—although I’m sure many of you do. But what I mean is do you ever wake up feeling like you are covered with the cinders and ashes of your shame and regret? Is there a nagging sense of grime—not on your face—but on your soul that shackles you with the feeling that your life will forever be enslaved to a hopeless future?
I think we have all been there at some point, but the fantastic news is that there is a “rest of the story” available to us! Listen to these words from the God who created us in His own image:
“Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
We are all “cinderellas” in the sense that our sins stain our spirit and our guilt dresses us in rags, but God has promised that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He can wipe our faces clean and redeem our lives! Our faith and trust in the Savior gives us freedom from our wicked surroundings and takes us to a place where we can befriend the King of Kings!
And the best part is that our transformation doesn’t end at the stroke of twelve. The pure garments that we have been given by Christ do not turn back into filthy shreds, nor do we ever have to return “home” to the wicked voice of our Accuser who fills our hearts with lies and deceit.
But if you do decide to return to a place where you are once again living in the ashes of your mistakes and sin, remember that the Prince of Peace is knocking on your door— not with a glass slipper—but with something infinitely more valuable:
“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. To the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will feed you with hidden manna and give you a white stone. Upon this stone, a new name is engraved. No one knows this name except for its recipient” (Revelation 2:17, The Voice).
There was an ancient Roman custom of awarding white stones to the victors of athletic games that had his name inscribed on it. This stone allowed the victors entrance to a magnificent awards banquet. So very much like the slipper, our Redeemer has a custom-made jewel that contains our new “name” which is the new identity we have in Jesus Christ, and one day we will celebrate that in His very presence.
So my friends, let our Lord and Savior clean the ashes from your face and give you a new name. Live each day in the victory that was purchased for you on the Cross, and let everyone you know that they too are invited to the ball!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Let’s not keep the good news about living happily ever after with Jesus Christ to ourselves. The stage for the ball is set, let’s tell everyone that they can be redeemed and given a new name!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, thank You for rescuing me from the ashes of my past and giving me a new name. Keep me close to you in all that I do and say, and give me boldness in my efforts to reach people for the sake of THE Cause of Christ.
Read: 1 John 1:9. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to share this with your students? Copy and paste the following text message: “Let’s not keep the good news about living happily ever after with Jesus Christ to ourselves. Read more on this happily ever after in this week’s Soul Fuel: http://hubs.ly/y0B1Nk0“
Big Idea: Cinderella reminds us that we have been redeemed by the Prince of Peace.
Key Scripture: Isaiah 1:18
- What “ashes” cover your face?
- How has your life paralleled Cinderella’s?
- What is keeping you from committing your life fully to Jesus?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?