And now we begin to see what it is that the New Testament is always talking about. It talks about Christians ‘being born again’; it talks about them ‘putting on Christ’; about Christ ‘being formed in us’; about our coming to ‘have the mind of Christ’.
Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out—as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.
Screwtape advises Wormwood on using time to wear down a soul:
The Enemy has guarded him from you through the first great wave of temptations. But, if only he can be kept alive, you have time itself for your ally. The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it—all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition. If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle- aged and the old.
Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?
My roommate and I used to talk about modestly a lot. The question shouldn’t be “How much can I get away with?” but rather “What brings glory to God?”
Every single day we are invited to a beautiful thing. Life. I have such a hard time not letting my cynicism get in the way. This world is so broken and I can’t escape it. I see it everywhere. It’s hard to see every day as a gift and as a joy when it feels like everything around me is falling apart and that there is nothing I can do to really help people out.
Life is beautiful though. It IS.
I am reading “Love Does” by Bob Goff right now. It’s so hilarious. This guy is LIVING life. He finds such a joy in life and in a sense, a lightness. Sometimes I think I get too serious so books like this are good for me.
He has changed my perspective on every day. This is a quote that I try to think about every day. Soak it in!
"I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live. Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavours. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle of fear or envy. I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head-faked into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited - every day, all over again."
I think my favourite part of this is the fact that a big part in not living life and living a life of engagement is seeing beautiful things as normal. My roomie and I have become a little obsessed about savouring things. It’s one simple way to be thankful for things and to realize that little things are beautiful. It’s a cup of tea or birds singing in the morning or a quick but good conversation or an encouraging word. Those little things need to be savoured because it’s the little things that make life so beautiful. I even just like that word.
Every morning, I try to wake up and see the day as an invitation. Jesus said that through him, we can have life to the full - to live abundantly. I think part of this is seeing the beauty in the little things and being deeply grateful for these things. It’s such a terrible thing to not be thankful and I really believe that this is the reason so many people don’t find joy in life. We need to realize that nothing comes from us. Everything is from God and it’s so important to realize this and to thank him. I think God made these beautiful things to romance us in a way. He loves us and it’s one of the ways that he displays that love to us.
Go to the mountains. You’ll believe me. It’s breath-taking.
Enjoy the little things. Love the big things. Savour everything. Every day you’re invited to really live and to spread this love, joy, and hope that we have in Christ.
I heard this poem at a conference I was at this weekend (which included Donald Miller…had to throw that in there). I heard this poem and found it to be so thought provoking and convicting. Pride is so invasive it’s unreal.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny…
because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment…
because you “deserve better than this.”
I cheat you of knowledge…
because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing…
because you are too full of you to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness…
because you refuse to admit when you are wrong.
I cheat you of vision…
because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you of genuine friendship…
because nobody’s going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love…
because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven…
because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
I cheat you of God’s glory…
because I convinced you to seek your own.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.
I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…
If you stick with me you’ll never know.
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