Thought for June 22, 2018

“If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin. On the other hand, no possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded of the greatest saints is beyond what He is determined to produce in every one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life: but He means to get us as far as possible before death” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

That’s enough to keep us both humbled and honored.

Before you start to boast, remember that you have the capacity in you apart from grace to be as bad as any Hitler or Stalin.

Before you start to despair, remember that God is working in you such holiness (or even greater) than was ever found in any Mother Teresa or Florence Nightingale.

I have to remind myself every single day that apart from Jesus, I can do nothing. That anything good in me is God. Yet with God I can do all things.

 

 

Under Construction

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way the hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself” (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity).

There’s a building under construction in the square in downtown Franklin. I pass by it periodically and it still looks half finished. Lately, it looks as if little to no progress has been made on it.

Yet I know that sometimes the most important parts of construction are the parts that you really can’t see, like wiring and other stuff that probably only other people in building and construction would appreciate.

God is always at work in us, recreating and remolding us into His image. Sometimes, it feels like we look and act the same and there’s little to no difference in us. Maybe in those times God is working on those small but vital parts that will lead to bigger and more noticeable changes down the road.

Take heart. Don’t give up. God has promised to finish the good work He started in you and me. And God is never slow in keeping His promises.

 

Being in Love

I decided to take the night off and let someone else do the heavy lifting. Here are some profound thoughts on being in love from one Mr. C. S. Lewis:

“What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it subordinates (especially at first) our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust.

No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centredness.

But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’. Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing.

There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all.

Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

While being in love may not last forever, choosing to love can. You may not always feel love but you can always choose to act in love. Love in the truest sense is a verb– it is an action, an act of the will, something intentional that you do.

Sorry if I ruined your romantic rom-com fantasies about the happily ever after. I truly believe that the real thing, though not as pretty and picturesque, is far far better.

This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10, The Voice).

More Borrowed Wisdom From One Mr. Lewis

I have the crud, so I invited a guest blogger to share his thoughts. Well, I copied and pasted from something C. S. Lewis wrote. It blew my fuzzy, hay-fevered mind. I hope it blows your mind as well.

“An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God.

But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him.

But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him.

You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal.

So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I called Zoe or spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

You’re welcome.

Praying starts and ends with God. Sure, I bring my needs and wants to God, but sometimes there are no words. Sometimes, I need to know that God inside of me is praying to the God above me through the God in Christ who is beside me.

That’s prayer.