“I Will Give You A New Self Instead”

This quote is shaking up my view of redemption. In his essay, “is Christianity Hard or Easy?,” C.S. Lewis really turns the tables on American cultural Christianity and shows us what’s keeping is rooted in sin.

“The ordinary idea which we all have is that…we have a natural self with various desires and interests…and we know something called “morality” or “decent behavior” has a claim on the self…. We are all hoping that when all the demands of morality and society have been met, the poor natural self will still have some chance, some time, to get on with its own life and do what it likes. In fact, we are very like an honest man paying his taxes. He pays them, but he does hope that there will be enough left over for him to live on…

The Christian way is different—both harder and easier. Christ says, “Give me ALL. I don’t want just this much of your time and this much of your money and this much of your work—so that your natural self can have the rest. I want you. Not your things. I have come not to torture your natural self…I will give you a new self instead. Hand over the whole natural self—ALL the desires, not just the ones you think wicked but the ones you think innocent—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead…

The almost impossibly hard thing is to hand over your whole self to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is remain what we call “ourselves”—our personal happiness centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, despite this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you cannot do. If I am a grass field—all the cutting will keep the grass less but won’t produce wheat. If I want wheat…I must be plowed up and re-sown.”

Dang. That makes a lot of sense. Why are we letting our old selves be “tortured” when we can be plowed up and be created wholly new?

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How much do you have to hate someone…

Yes, I’ve been silent for longer than normal. Life got a little crazy last week as I was trying to reach my September 1st financial support deadline as well as move from one apartment to another. Moving? Success (at 2am). Support deadline? Didn’t make it. But I got an extension of 6 days PRAISE THE LORD! Check out the “partner with me” tab at the top of the blog if you’re interested in hearing more about how you can financially support me.

Ok enough explaining and shameless plugging.

Question of the day. How much do you have to hate someone to not share with them the Good News of the only Hope that won’t fail in the world?

Yes, hate is a strong word, but I think it is appropriate in this situation. Listen to this clip by Penn Jillet, and you’ll understand where this question comes from. 2 things you should know before you watch.

1) Penn Jillet performs Penn&Teller shows. He is an outspoken illusionist, comedian, and performer who articulately advocates for atheism. His beliefs are here: http://thisibelieve.org/essay/34/

2) Proselytizing is converting someone to your own faith or religion.

“If you believe that there is a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell…and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and NOT tell them that?”

While there are some things in this video I don’t agree with, such as the description of the man’s actions as proselytizing (I think he was trying to introduce him to the person of Jesus rather than religion), I was really struck by his reasoning and his respect for those who share what they believe is most vital in life. How many times are we too afraid to share our beliefs because we don’t want to be disrespected?

Rom 10:14-15 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

I think his description of the guy who gave him the Bible gives some good clues to how we can share the Gospel effectively. First, he says over and over how “sane” the guy was. He was a business man who could appreciate a secular comedy show. How can we expect to reach the world if we hide from it? In the college world, this is things like spending time with classmates, going to their parties, being the designated driver, finding things in common.

Then he talks about how the man wasn’t defensive but was polite and kind. This doesn’t mean spiritual discussions and debates aren’t wrong, but what people notice is HOW we approach them. Penn could tell the man truly cared about him. In an essay, he wrote about previous experiences:

” I don’t travel in circles where people say, “I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith.” That’s just a long-winded religious way to say, “shut up,” or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, “How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do.”

Just some stuff to chew on. What are your interactions with nonChristians like? Do you even have any, or are you hiding from the secular world? Are you showing your friends the greatest love by sharing your source of hope and life? Or are you showing a greater love for your personal validation and reputation as you try to keep faith out of the picture?

Oh How I Need You

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My kids worshiping at VBS…we had a number of students from Buddhist homes who recieved a Bible for the first time and WOW they were excited!

As I get closer and closer to my Sept 1 deadline for financial support, this song has been so encouraging. I know that God is my PROVIDER and it is in his very nature to do what is best for me. I’ve been reading this book called “Behold Your God” that’s all on the attributes of God, and honestly the better I get to know God, the more I am able to obey him. He tells us not to be anxious- but why would I be anxious if I know that my God is good, that he knows everything that will happen, that he is wise, that he has the ability to carry out whatever is best? It just seems silly! More on this book later…just thought you might be as encouraged by this song as me!

Light glorious light I will go where You shine
Break the dawn crack the skies
Make the way bright before me
In Your light I will find
All I need all I need is You

Mud Pies

Thought I’d share with you some pieces of one of my favorite essays today.

 

 The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with
it the suggestion not primarily of securing
good things for others, but of going
without them ourselves, as if our
abstinence and not their happiness was the
important point. I do not think this is the
Christian virtue of Love. The New
Testament has lots to say about self-denial,
but not about self-denial as an end in itself.
We are told to deny ourselves and to take
up our crosses in order that we may follow
Christ; and nearly every description of
what we shall ultimately find if we do so
contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks
in most modern minds the notion that to
desire our own good and earnestly to 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 no 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 about 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…

 

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“he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea…”

These things (drink, beauty, ambition, ect) …are good images of what we
really desire; but if they are mistaken for
the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,
breaking the hearts of their worshippers.
For they are not the thing itself; they are
only the scent of a flower we have not
found, the echo of a tune we have not
heard, news from a country we have never
yet visited. Do you think I am trying to
weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember
your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking
enchantments as well as for inducing them.
And you and I have need of the strongest
spell that can be found to wake us from
the evil enchantment of worldliness which
has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred
years. Almost our whole education has
been directed to silencing this shy,
persistent, inner voice; almost all our
modem philosophies have been devised to
convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth.

Figure out who it is yet? This is C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia books! His writings on Christianity are just as enchanting, and I love this essay because it speaks of the delight we were created for and yearn for, and assures us that, though we will not find it here on Earth, we will find it in Christ. You can read the rest here for FREE (yes, really): http://www.verber.com/mark/xian/weight-of-glory.pdf .

Also in regard to the pictures- God’s been moving my heart to feel more compassion than I ever have for the poor and helpless, especially children. He has convicted me about my OWN finances and reminded me that it is a COMMAND, not a suggestion, to give to “such as these”.