I was watching Finding Nemo with my family the other night.  And we were at the end of the movie where the depression of failure sets in.  Nemo’s dad had just arrived on the brink of success, only to realize he would never find his son.  And Nemo’s dad tells Dory that he’s done and he is going home.  And Dory responds to him.

“You can’t.  Stop.  Please don’t go away.  Please, no one’s ever stuck with me for so long before.  And if you leave . . . if you leave, I just remember things better when I’m with you. I do . . . I remember it. I do, it’s there, I know it is because when I look at you I can feel it.  And I look at you, and, and I’m home.  Please, I don’t want that to go away.  I don’t want to forget.”

As I listened to her lines, it struck me that Dory’s internal driving force was selfishness.  Yes, it was good that she was helping to find Nemo, but her motivation for continuing the journey was not Nemo, but herself!  She liked who she was when she was with Nemo’s Dad and didn’t want to give that up.

I can’t help but wonder, how many Christians are like Dory.  How many Christians like Christianity because of the way it makes them feel?  If and when persecution comes to the shores of the USA, what is going to happen to the Christians?  What will happen when Christianity no longer gives people good feelings?

I have talked to many people who have tried Christianity and it “just didn’t work for them.”  This is because in their hearts they are like Dory, they are focused on themselves.  They “choose Christ” because of all the benefits they think they are going to get because of their decision.  If you tell people that they are going to hell unless they choose Christ, of course that is what they are going to do.  If you tell people they get to go to heaven in they choose Christ, of course that is what they are going to do.

But what about some of the hard things that come with Christ, like repentance?  And, what about the whole dying to self as Paul says in Romans 6:11-12?

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.   Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.”

There is nothing harder for a sinner, than to give up his wants and desires and submit himself to the lordship of someone else(In fact, it’s impossible without God’s grace), especially if the other person wants something directly contrary to the sinner’s own selfish desires. 

Thus, here is a fatal flaw in how the gospel is often presented in America.  We are told to choose Christ because we get to go to heaven and not go to hell.  The problem here is that choosing Christ is done on the basis of “what I get out of it,” and the motivation is nothing less than my own self-interest.  This directly contrary to how Jesus (Matthew 4:17), Peter (Acts 2:38), Paul (Acts 17:11) and others call people to faith.  We are called to repent of pursuing our own self-interest and not pursuing God’s interest which is His own glory.

The truth is that true Christians are not Dory Christian’s, but Nemo Christians. 

Nemo eventually follows after his father, but only because his father pursued him to the ends of the earth!  This is what the Apostle John writes in 1 John 4:9-10.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

You see, we choose God, ONLY (and after) because He first chose us.  And when did He choose us?  Ephesians 1:4-6 says, “even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

If you call yourself a Christian, why are you following Christ?  Is it because of what you get, or because of what He has done?  Is it because you chose Him, or because He chose you?  Is it because you sought out God, or because He predestined you before the foundation of the world?

If your answer is the former, if you are following Christ for the blessings, then you are like Dory and may very well not be a Christian at all.   Here I must issue a great warning.  At the end of the Movie, Dory is seen playing and having fun with all of the little fish just as if she were a part of the family, but she isn’t a family member.

Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 8:34-36.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Notice 3 things.

1) First, whoever commits a sin is a slave to sin.  That means we are all by nature slaves to sin.

2) Second, the slave may be in the house for a little while, but eventually he will be kicked out.

3) Third, it is the Son who decides who gets set free, not the slave.

The difference between Nemo and Dory is the glory of God.

Nemo Christians have the same attitude in them that was in Christ Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.   If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.   “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.   Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:24-28)

The Nemo Christian says, “Father, do whatever you will with me, just use me to glorify your name.”  Is this your faith?  Is this your purpose in following Christ?

1 Comment

  1. Great insight into this movie we have watched several times. I like the way you applied it to what motivates us in our walk with Christ.