do i need God?

Category : CS Lewis, God, faith, living a life of faith, sharing faith

……….

I don’t need God.

That’s a belief I held for a long time.  I figured I could manage just fine without a “crutch” like God.  But slowly I realized that was a lie.  It’s like saying a car doesn’t need an engine.  Or that “weak” planes use wings to fly.  Cars are designed to have engines.  Planes are designed to have wings.  And I am designed to have a relationship with God.

It took me a long time to wrap my mind around that.

I’ve always been very self-sufficient.  The truth is, I still am.  It’s this self-sufficiency that has become one of the biggest stresses in being unemployed.  I feel like I don’t contribute enough to the Kingdom.  It bothers me that I can’t financially give like I used to.  I think, “I am educated, socially mobile, I should be creating resources, not being unemployed receiving help from friends.  Not letting other people by me a drink or pick up the tab at dinner.”

There’s a part of me that still says, “I don’t need God.”

That realization shocks me.

We are all in desperate need of God’s resources.  None of us are above needing his help.  So why do I feel so superior and want to fight that?   Why do I want to say, “no thanks, I’m good.”  Why do I want to say, “God needs to redirect resources to people who ‘really’ need them, not me.”

Pride, of course, is the answer.  It’s what CS Lewis called, “the complete anti-God state of mind.” That’s why I feel these things.  I want to believe that I am better than I am.

Pride has a way of warping your view.  The reality is I’m probably more actively engaged in the kingdom than I have been for years.  Every day I need to rely on God to get through the challenges unemployment offers.  I have to rely on God that somehow I will earn / find / receive enough money to pay the bills.  And because of that I finally am beginning to understand what the Bible means by describing God as “faithful.”

That couldn’t have been said for a year ago.  That’s a significant difference in my life.

I doubt God cares very much for the financial impact of my giving or the financial impact of me not working when it’s compared against the changes I am receiving from advancing the kingdom.  What is my money compared to a life transformed?

But pride is a tricky beast.  As I said, it warps your view.  If you allow it, your pride will even warp your view of yourself.  As CS Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, “it was through pride that the devil became the devil.”  If pride can do that to the devil, it can happen to us.

If I learn nothing else from being unemployed, I will be satisfied with this lesson.  It will have been worth it to realize that in all situations, at all time, I need God.  And so do you.

what i’m reading: Mere Christianity

Category : CS Lewis, book review, feeding my brain

   

“Why didn’t anyone tell me CS Lewis was brilliant?!”

That’s pretty much what I think when I pick up one of his books.  I’ve gone my entire life not understanding what people saw in this CS Lewis guy.  I had read the Chronicles of Narnia and enjoyed them.  But even as a kid I knew they were “simplistic.”  I could never quite figure out why he held such appeal for Christians. To be honest I thought they were latching onto the guy because he was famous.  Little did I know how wrong I was!

Mere Christianity is my second book by Lewis.  And I now fully understand why he’s been important to so many Christians.  Lewis is a master of words, and is able to explain complex Christian theology in a simple and relate-able way.  Every sentence in this book is packed with importance and significance. 

The title of the book is a bit confusing to the modern ear.  And until I started to read the book, I didn’t fully understand what that title was trying to convey.  In essence he really wrote a book that could be called ’simple’ or ‘basic’ Christianity.  In a way this is God 101.  But don’t let that fool you, there is more information packed into this book than most dense academic works.

Mere Christianity is broken into 4 sections.  Each dealing with an aspect of what it means to come into a relationship with God.  In section one he outlines some clues to the existence of God.  Section two discusses what Christians really believe.  Followed by how Christians should behave, and what it means to be a Christian.  The fourth section, which is probably his most ambitious, is an attempt to explain who God is – namely the Trinity (Jesus, God, the Holy Ghost).

Very few writers are more quotable than Lewis.  But that’s not the most striking part of Mere Christianity.  Lewis is a master at using examples to explain his points.  He has a way of taking a complex concept (e.g., the Trinity) and giving simple explanations that really crystallize the concepts for the reader.

Lewis holds a special place for me, because he’s one of those writers that disproves the idea that to believe in God you need to turn off your brain.  As I explore his writings I continue to realize that God wants us to use our brains as much as our hearts.