Monday, October 24, 2011

The Danger of Goodness

Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger — according to the way you react to it." C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Have you ever been in a life situation where life "couldn't be going better", where everything is going swimmingly, or at least so you think?  Let me ask you something.  At such a time, how was your relationship with Christ?

There was a period in my life where I was "successful" by every measure the world has. I was making piles of money, had a pretty girlfriend, and lots of friends.  And how was my relationship with Christ? It was probably the time in my life where I was the lowest spiritually.

We all want to live the "good life", yet there is a serious danger in too much goodness. When everything is going well, we tend not to "pick up our crosses daily"; we tend to become arrogant and / or lethargic about spiritual matters. As Zig Ziglar said, "Success makes failures out of too many people."   

I am not saying revel in misery.  Yes, continue to try and live the good life.  Never, ever forget, however, that the success of every endeavor is from the Lord and that if life is good, it will only stay good as long as we react properly -- with thanksgiving to a God who gives us good gifts.  

All is a gift from Him...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Holiness Is Not Dull...It is Irresistible

"How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real is irresistible." C.S. Lewis, Letters To An American Lady

I saw a friend recently whom I  have not seen in close to seven years.  Ed is the pastor of a church I used to attend and we used to have tremendous discussions.  He helped me tremendously during a very difficult time in my life.

When I saw Ed this time, I was struck by the fact that it did not seem like he had aged a day. Even though he must be in his mid-fifties, he could easily pass for being ten years younger. Ed is also just a pleasure to be around.  He listens well and has a warm laugh.  Life just seems...richer when Ed is around.  In Ed's case, he is among the most "holy" people I know.

The point is that "holy" people are anything but boring. Holy people people are warm...they listen well... they are just as much about you as themselves...they are honest...and generally, there is a gleam in their eye.  They laugh easily because they have few cares.  At the same time when life turns deadly serious, there is no one whom you would rather have in your corner.

Becoming holy is hard work.  It often involves the smelting pot of life to remove the impurities from our lives.  Becoming holy always involves dying to self so that the Christ can be evident.  Yet, life becomes richer as we become more holy.

Whatever the case, never believe that holy people are dull; holy people are irresistible.  We need more holy people. 

Can you think of people in your life whom you consider holy but who are completely irresistible?       

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Meet No Ordinary People

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” C.S. Lewis
There are, by best estimates, currently approximately seven billion people in the world. Each person is unique; each person has a purpose; each person extraordinary. We always must watch ourselves when we begin to believe someone is ordinary. There is not a soul that exists for whom God did not sacrifice His son. Everyone has worth, not based on their abilities, intelligence, beauty, or any other reason other than the fact that each of us is made in the image of God and because God values us. We have value because He deems that we are valuable. If we are valuable to our Creator, then we are valuable indeed. Whenever we begin to doubt someone's worth, we must always remember their worth to God. 

Now, I am not going to say that it is always easy to see the image of God in someone. Sometimes it is buried under rudeness or greed or pride or just plain badness. Nevertheless, even "bad" people are not ordinary. There is someone reading this who is wondering what their value is. Life has been full of disappointment and you wonder if God has abandoned you. My friend, I have been where you are at. I would just encourage you to hang on; life will get better. In the meantime, as difficult as it is, hang on to the truth that you have value, that God has a purpose for you, and that you are far from ordinary. 

Let's all renew our attitude toward each other and treat everyone as if they are extraordinary because each one is.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

There Is One Vice Of Which No Man In The World Is Free

“There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit….” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Of all sins, pride is the most dangerous.  It was the first sin, but it is also a source of almost every sin because sin, at its heart, is the belief that, “we know best.”  And pride is such a tough thing to battle; it pokes its head up everywhere.  The moment we think we have it beat, the simple fact that we think we have it beat becomes a source of pride.

It is so easy to spot pride in someone else, isn’t it?  Yet, it can be difficult to see when we are prideful.  It is Satan’s main weapon and he does everything he can to mask it in our lives.

The opposite of pride is humility.  Humility does not mean thinking poorly of ourselves. Rather, it is not thinking about ourselves at all.

Easier said than done, right?  We must be constantly vigilant to fight this dreadful cancer. And we should be people who extend grace to people who are battling the disease of pride.