"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 mother—at 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 yet—this is the other and equally important side of it—this 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...|