“I’m not afraid of failure; I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” —William Carey
“To walk out of His will is to walk into nowhere.” —C.S. Lewis, Perelandra
“Only one life, ’till soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” —C.T. Studd
Success can be had. What lasts forever is what matters.
Have a meaning-full day.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.” —C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
People need God’s love and He chose us to lavish it on them. But it isn’t safe—it breaks hearts and leaves scars—such love got Jesus killed. It’s not bottled up among safe friends and it can’t coexist with self-protection. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that’s risky.
Go make someone’s day—perhaps even that of your enemy.
“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked…is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself—the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also (except in rare moments of grace) beyond our desiring…” —C.S. Lewis on the Sermon on the Mount
Revel in this, for there is nothing greater—then go love others the same way He loved you.
(It’s okay—He will help.)
Illustration by Justin Sweet © 2006
It’s not the end of the world—yet. But with all that’s gone wrong on earth, how is it we’re still here? C.S. Lewis wondered that too…
“Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it because He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force—we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right—but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else-something it never entered your head to conceive-comes crashing in—something so beautiful to some of us—and so terrible to others—that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise—something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing—it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”
The side we choose is everything, forever. Choose wisely. Choose today.
Little things aren’t so small in a war…
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the Enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.” —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Small things go further than we know. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Small act, huge effect.
Plant the seeds of victory. Ruin the Enemy’s day.
Had supper yet? Feast on this…
“I have learned…to let God be the mystery that He is and, with eyes wide open, to pursue Him, not with the precision of a crossword puzzle fanatic but with the reckless passion of a pilot flying into the Bermuda Triangle. Following Christ is a wild adventure full of risk, frustration, excitement and setbacks. It is not an evening stroll in a planned community along a well-manicured path…” —Larry Crabb
Let the adventure begin.
Have a great weekend…!
This week I buried my father-in-law; earlier this year I buried my mother. In-between I helped others bury loved-ones. There but for the grace of God we go? No, there we go. But a great certainty awaits. [Here comes a SPOILER] In the last book of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, the four children are killed. Tragic and bad, until Aslan the Lion reveals the children’s true fate—and ours—especially if you love the Lion…
Aslan: “…The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” And as He spoke He no longer looked like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us, this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures… had only been the cover and the title page [of the book]; now at last they are beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” —C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
This is you. Revel in His love—revel forever.
Sometimes I skip to the end of a book to see how things turn out, and occasionally, instead of a spoiler, I find a game changer. Here’s one.
“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making… The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. 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.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Sometimes the end of the book is the beginning of the story. May it be your story, too—look for Him. He’s waiting…
Oruel, a fictional pagan in C.S. Lewis’ book, Till We Have Faces, lashed out at the gods for their fickleness…
“I say the gods deal very un-rightly with us. For they will neither…go away and leave us to live our own short days to ourselves, nor will they show themselves openly and tell us what they would have us do. For that too would be endurable. But to hint and hover, to draw near us in dreams and oracles, or in a waking vision that vanishes as soon as seen, to be dead silent when we question them and then glide back and whisper words we cannot understand in our ears when we most wish to be free of them, and to show to one what they hide from another; what is all this but cat-and-mouse play, blindman’s buff, and mere jugglery? Why must holy places be dark places?”
I have sometimes felt the same way about God. I’m glad He’s not that way. Alistair Maclean knew it, too…
“As the rain hides the stars, as the autumn mist hides the hills, happenings of my lot hide the shining of Thy face from me. Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough; since I know that, though I may stumble in my going, Thou dost not fall.”
He is good and He is strong. Stronger than coffee. Stronger than anything.
Where did everything come from? Such a big question requires a bigger answer (though not always a popular one). Of course I’m speaking of God.
Why are we here? There are many ways people might answer this question, but the bottom line is perhaps the biggest one of all—and it even reveals why we have a universe…
“He works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, He works on us through each other. Men are mirrors, or “carriers” of Christ to other men. Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. It is so easy to think that the church has a lot of different objects—education, building, missions, holding services…the church exists for no other purpose but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other reason.” —C.S. Lewis
Thanks, Jack, and Happy Sunday, church.