C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite Christian authors.
It can take some thought to get the point he is making in some of his writings, but the effort is well worth the understanding that I gain. Some time ago I bought a journal that consisted of various C.S. Lewis quotes followed by about a page and a half to write my own thoughts about the quote. This blog entry is a quote and journal entry from that journal.
I come back to St. John: “if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart.” And equally,”if our heart flatter us, God is greater than our heart.” I sometimes pray not for self-knowledge in general but for just so much self-knowledge at the moment as I can bear and use at the moment; the little daily dose.
Have we any reason to suppose that total self-knowlege, if it were given us, would be for our good? Children and fools, we are told, should never look at half-done work; and we are not yet, I trust, even half-done. You and I wouldn’t, at all stages, think it wise to tell a pupil exactly what we thought of his quality. It is much more important that he should know what to do next.
I like Lewis’ prayer, for just so much knowledge of my own failings and successes as God deems to be appropriate for my spiritual growth today. If I was aware of all that God must do to complete the good work that He has begun in me, then I would be overwhelmed and feel completely hopeless at the enormity of my need. On the other hand, if I were in one single moment to be aware of all the good that He has accomplished in me, then I might become vain and think myself better than others whose canvas is still bare.
I am like an unfinished painting, more than just the bare canvas, but not a finished work fit for hanging in God’s art gallery. I feel as though my underlying sketch has been completed with Christ as its foundation, and some of the paint has been applied, but all the colors and the detail are not there.
What I need and hope is for God to help me see myself as He deems appropriate, not as He sees me (for He sees all that was, is, and is yet to be in me). If I saw myself as God sees me, that would be too much for me to bear. But I am thankful He knows what is best for me, and allows me to see just what I need.
You, dear broken believer, are also an unfinished painting.
You’re a masterpiece in the making. I pray He shows you just so much of your failures and successes, your weaknesses and strengths, as is beneficial to you this day so that the next brush strokes may be perfectly applied by the Master Painter.
They’ve determined that God has acted capriciously and that He can’t be trusted. They’ve concluded that He’s uncaring and hard to reach. People build up these misconceptions and ideas, and it seems that nothing can set it right. And certainly Satan, our accuser, emphasizes this
The tender imagery of a mother holding a child is something we can visualize and understand. It has an universal wallop. God specifically chooses that image to communicate what His true feelings are. He chooses an example that’ll convey the burdens and thoughts of His heart.
God loves people.
We often misinterpret or misconstrue His dealings and attitudes. But God points to the imagery of a mom with a child to say, “That’s me with you”. This particular verse speak of “comforting”. The word carries the connotation of “soothing” or “cooing, calming, quieting”. When a young one is agitated or upset, a mother is typically the only one who can make a difference.
We live in a world that has distorted and belittled God and the church.
We have satanic influences that disturb and defraud many. They’re many ugly misconceptions and fears that confuse the truth. Many feel that Christianity is a hokey-sham with little to commend it to the real needs of man. I know for certain that this is not true!
Brokenbeliever, let God remake Himself in your thinking, reading and worship. Learn to see from His perspective. Redo and remodel your thoughts and perceptions. He is waiting with His motherly arms, to sooth and to calm you.
When Susanna Wesley prayed, God listened. I came across this and knew it was meant to be shared on Brokenbelievers. I hope you read it and it spurs you to pray as well. We all need encouragement and this is pretty potent stuff. I know of no higher call than to pray and then teach another believer how to pray.
“I have much need in humbling myself before you, the great and holy God because of the sins I am daily guilty of, in thought, word and deed against your holy majesty. Help me overcome the levity and to shun vain and impure thoughts which, though they do not make their abode for any long period of time, yet in their passing through leave a tincture of impurity.”
“Enable me to keep my heart with all diligence, my thoughts, and affections, for out of them are the issues of life. How often I have offended in this kind! Cleanse me from secret faults, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Help me to guard against vain and unnecessary words, and to speak of you, O my God, with that reverence, that humility, that gravity that I ought.”
“Susanna experienced many hardships throughout her life. Her husband left her and the children for over a year because of a minor dispute.
To her absent husband, Susannah Wesley wrote:
“I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you, yet in your long absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust.”
“I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles.”
“Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.”
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.”
One of my blogging friends, Theresa Moore, posted this quote on Facebook the other day and it really stuck with me. C.S. Lewis was such a brilliant man and has such a wonderful way of explaining faith and related matters.
I especially can relate to the last part of the quote: “It doesn’t change God – it changes me.” That is so true. God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But by spending time with Him in prayer I am changed to be more like Him each day. As I pray for the ability to see me as He sees me – both as I am and as He desires me to be – I grow in faith and understanding. I cannot help but be changed by this process.
I have found another thing about prayer.
Jesus said that we should pray for our enemies and for those who persecute us. When we do this, our tendency is to pray that God would change them. But prayer seldom changes the difficult people in our lives (though on occasion it can). What prayer for our enemies does is change our attitude towards them. When I earnestly pray for the difficult people in my life, God helps me to see them from His perspective and to understand a little better why they might be the way they are and the root of their difficult behavior.
Prayer doesn’t change my enemies.
It changes me. It helps me gain the wisdom and compassion necessary to love them as God has called me to do. And when I love them, perhaps I might help them to change, too.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”