A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“You must realize from the outset that the goal towards which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal… I think many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do, and we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone (p. 203).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The question Lewis forces me to ask in this quote is, “Do I really want God or do I merely want relief?” If all I want is relief, then I will be content to stop once I have it. God will have done all I signed up for and I would be pleased for Him to stop.
When we think this way we treat God like a spouse or co-worker. We ask our question and once we’ve gotten the answer we needed, if they continue to talk we want to say, “Enough.” It is our agenda that defines the duration of the interaction.
Within our mental picture of the situation, we are inviting God in to “our world.” We know what it ought to look like and what ought to be done. We believe we are being generous and hospitable when we allow God to make some alterations to “our life” (when we agree the changes are needed). But in this conception we are the owner, and God is the guest.
But in these interactions we are much more like the friend everyone calls “Mooch.” We are living in “God’s world” and spending the life God gave us. We are pilfering through God’s refrigerator telling Him what he should have gotten at the grocery and asking for a few dollars to go to the movie that night.
Then God begins to tell us what a mature life looks like, and we get annoyed or defensive. We were just looking for a little help – some Cheetos and movie money. Now God is talking about choosing a career, applying ourselves to hard work, and what it looks like to pay our own bills.
We didn’t want all that. We begin to think God is overstepping His bounds. God begins to feel judgmental or like he is making us have a bad day. We were just asking for help, not somebody to run our life. Geesh!!!
Can you hear yourself in that inner dialogue? Think about the last few areas of sin and struggle that you brought to God in prayer. Did you come asking for a favor or a Savior?
Did you realize that your request was tied to a larger problem (the fallen human nature we all have), humbly inviting God to address the symptoms and the cause?
Did you receive the relief as proof that the larger work that God wanted to do to restore your life was worth it; that each act of grace in your life was only a foretaste of rest He wanted to give?
Unless we approach God this way, then we get annoyed when God wants to supplant our agenda with His. If we will allow God to give us ears to hear, we will quickly realize how much we sound like a college buddy name “Mooch” in our relationship with God.