This posts takes a look back at my favorite posts from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis this year. The series is up to 125 posts, with 50 of those coming in 2012. Include the quote by C.S. Lewis under each title, if you want to read the reflection / devotion, you can click the link.
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible (p. 132).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away? (p. 141).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage (p. 137).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“If you like to put it that way, Christ offers something for nothing: He even offers everything for nothing. In a sense, the whole Christian life consists in accepting that very remarkable offer. But the difficulty is to reach the point of recognizing that all we have done and can do is nothing. What we should have liked would be for God to count our good points and ignore our bad ones (p. 147).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“If this chapter means nothing to you, if it seems to be trying to answer questions you never asked, drop it at once. Do not bother about it at all… They are directions for dealing with particular crossroads and obstacles on the journey and they do not make sense until a man has reached those places. Whenever you find any statement in Christian writings which you can make nothing of, do not worry. Leave it alone (p. 144).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down (p. 142).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England is retrogression—like believing the earth is flat (p. 155).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“If a man once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real… The map is admittedly only colored paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based upon what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map (p. 154).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“We never have followed the advice of the great teachers. Why are we likely to begin now? Why are we more likely to follow Christ than any of the others? Because He is the best moral teacher? But that makes it even less likely that we shall follow Him. If we cannot take the elementary lessons, is it likely we are going to take the most advanced ones? If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. A bit more will make no difference. (p. 156).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“God can show Himself as He really is only to real men. And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but to men who are united together in a body, loving one another, helping one another, showing Him to one another. For that is what God meant humanity to be like; like players in one band, or organs in one body. Consequently, the one really adequate instrument for learning about God is the whole Christian community, waiting for Him together (p. 165).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad (p. 198-199).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“What we mean by ‘being good’ is giving ourselves to those claims [which interfere with our desires]. Some of the things our ordinary self wanted to do turn out to be what we call ‘wrong’: well, we must give them up. Other things, which the self did not want to do, turn out to be what we call ‘right’: well, we shall have to do them. But we are hoping all the time that when all the demands have been met, the poor natural self will still have some chance, to get on with his own life and do what it likes. In fact, we are very like an honest man paying his taxes. He pays them all right, but he does hope that there will be enough left over for him to live on. But we are still taking our natural self as the starting point… In the end, you will either give up trying to be good, or else become one of those people who, as they say, ‘live for others’ but always in a discontented, grumbling way (p. 195-196).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
To see the first 100 posts in this series click here.