Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Counting the Cost—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

"Many people," observes C.S. Lewis, "have been bothered by ... our Lord's words, 'Be ye perfect.' Some people seem to think this means 'unless you are perfect, I will not help you.'... I think He meant 'the only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less, but I will give you nothing less.' Let me explain. When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something that would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my motherat least, not till the pain became very bad.... I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain, but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right.... I knew those dentists ... they would not let sleeping dogs lie.... Our Lord is like the dentist.... Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin they are ashamed of ... or is obviously spoiling daily life.... Well, He will cure it all right, but He will not stop there.... That is why He warned people to 'count the cost' before becoming Christians."

"And yetthis is the other and equally important side of itthis Helper who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty. As a great Christian writer (George MacDonald) pointed out, every father is pleased at the baby's first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free manly walk in a grown-up son.... He said, 'God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.'"

At First This...
"The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what God intended us to be when He made us. He is the inventor, we are only the machine.... How should we know what He means us to be like?... I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. 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. But ... He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably ... 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.... He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into ... a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror that reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said."
...Then This!
Highlights from Chapter 9: Counting the Cost, Book 4: Beyond Personality, or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Click here for a clear view of how this chapter relates to the whole book.

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