I’ve had some people ask where to find the C.S. Lewis quote I shared this past weekend. I would like to share another from the same book. I think you will notice that Lewis was a tremendous help in preparation for that message. Here it is from The Problem of Pain:
” By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right. And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness- the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘what does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves’, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all’. Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms; but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception: I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines. But since it is abundantly clear that I don’t, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.”
With all the quoting of C.S. Lewis Jim and I have been doing lately I thought it might be helpful to recommend where to start if you want to start reading some of his stuff.
1) Mere Christianity
2) Surprised by Joy
3) The Four Loves
4) The weight of Glory
5) The Screwtape letters
Of course the narnia novels would also be included if you like reading fiction.
Tags: c.s. lewis
I was at a wedding a couple weeks ago and the guy who officiated did a good job. By that I mean I didn’t disengage after the first sentence out of his mouth like I normally do when I attend weddings. Not only did he keep it interesting but he spoke a profound truth to the couple getting married that day and to all of us witnessing. Often the jargon of weddings is so cliche’ and the verses quoted from scripture are so removed from their context it just frustrates me, but this wedding was different. This wedding was different because the pastor focussed on a cliche’ that has a track record of destroying lives and the cliche’ is “follow your heart”. It sounds good doesn’t it? It sounds like something that should be said at a wedding. Isn’t the principle of following your heart precisely what brought that couple to the place they were standing in on their wedding day? That is far too often exactly what draws people to marriage and probably why over half of them fail in this country. We live in a culture that has put the principle of following your heart as the trump card principle above all others, and we use it to justify the choices we make. It comes back to what Jim talked about this weekend, desires. When we assume that what we desire is a good thing, or a wise thing, or the right thing, simply because we desire it we run the risk of making a devastating decision. Why? Jeremiah 17:9 explains it well. Our hearts and the desires we find within them can be very deceitful. So if you trust your heart above all else you will get hurt. If you have lived longer than a few minutes you know that to be true from experience. Some would still argue that they followed their heart and it turned out well. I would argue that it was more than your heart that was involved in the decision. Somewhere a higher principle than “follow your heart” got involved in the decision making process. At some point you engaged your mind in the process, or the wise counsel of others, or you prayed about it. With all that said, I think its very important to understand that there is a desire that we can trust. There is a yearning, a longing from deep within our hearts that you should follow every time. Its the desire for God. If you are a follower of Jesus then your deepest desire is to follow Him. By that I mean that when you give into desires for other things that Jesus talked about in Mark 4:18-19 you are grieved. Followers of Jesus wrestle and struggle with sinful desires, but their deepest desire is for God. So if we can make all of our desires serve our greatest desire then our choices will be wise. Too many Christians have tried to get through their lives crushing, suffocating and despising every desire they have. I would contend that when desire gets out of control and becomes sinful desire it is not because our desires are too strong, but too weak.
C.S. Lewis said it this way in The Weight of Glory “If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is not part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Desiring God by John Piper
The weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Tags: c.s. lewis
, green thumb
, thorny soil