Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Becoming Holy(er)

I was researching a paper on "holiness" today and came across this quote from one of my favorite authors, C.S.Lewis.

“On the one hand we must never imagine that our own unaided efforts can be relied on to carry us even through the next twenty-four hours as ‘decent’ people. If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin. On the other hand, no possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded on the greatest saints is beyond what He is determined to produce in every one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life: but He means to get us as far as possible before death.

That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected), he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along – illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation – he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days, but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him in situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.

I find 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 and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – 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.”

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


joanygee said...

Two of my favourite authors, members of the 'Inklings' along with J R R Tolkien if I remember rightly. My favourite C S Lewis book is 'The Great Divorce'.

Pamela said...

it still hurts.....
all this remodeling.

Monica said...

What perfect timing for the day ahead of me. Thank you so much. Also, I responded to your comment on my post Pearls Before Swine, but wanted to make sure it got to you, so here it is: "Sandy, thanks for sending this link. I had not heard of Jean Kerr, and now I'm glad I have! Great article about exposing kids to good stuff. Thanks!"

As for the CS Lewis quote, I think this means I can hang a sign around my neck that says: Excuse the dust: Remodel in Progress.

Pamela said...

have you ever read "The Anchoress"

she had a wonderful quote today on her blog

We can go to Jesus with anything. The Self-Immolating Bridegroom and God who will kneel before us — on His knees, to wash our lowly feet! — is a God of such unfathomable love (and mysterious humility) that He is unlikely to be standoffish, or even take umbrage, if you find yourself so overwhelmed by events that you feel like a quarterback about to be sacked and looking for an opening; you can hand-off the ball to Him and say, “Lord, please run it for me…you know what’s needed,” and then put the great concerns out of your mind.

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