Revisiting Mere Christianity
I recently re-read Mere Christianity, a work of C.S. Lewis that is a favorite of many and a tool that God used to redeem at least one of my dear friends. The book is actually an adaptation of radio broadcast talks, which Lewis gave in England during World War II. Though his words were spoken nearly 80 years ago, they bear weight on the current state of our culture and church.
Have a read of a few of my favorite highlights and then consider having a read of the book itself!
As for our efforts to find happiness/power/fulfillment outside of God, Lewis says:
God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.
That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
As for the purpose of our lives and the lie of autonomy:
Does it not make a great difference whether I am, so to speak, the landlord of my own mind and body, or only a tenant, responsible to the real landlord? If somebody else made me, for his own purposes, then I shall have a lot of duties which I should not have if I simply belonged to myself.
Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.
As for the ways we choose which parts of Christianity and the Bible we prefer to follow:
We have all departed from that total plan (Christianity) in different ways, and each of us wants to make out that his own modification of the original plan is the plan itself. You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: every one is attracted by bits and bits and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest.
And lastly, my favorite. As for finding true joy—it’s not within yourself—it’s in Christ:
If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into the thing that has them.
The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.
Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
The last quote above is my very favorite and seems especially prophetic for our day. We are a self-absorbed people and yet full of despair. Let’s take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on Jesus.