Monday, June 1, 2015

give up self - WEEKLY QUOTE


I know I may be going against the crowd when I say this, but I hold fast to the belief that "only Jesus Christ can help us discover and become who we are meant to be"*. In his conclusion to Mere Christianity (one of my favorite books, of all time), C.S. Lewis explains this very belief so well:
The more we get what we now call “ourselves” out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of “little Christs,” all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented—as an author invents characters in a novel—all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to “be myself” without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call “Myself” becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call “My wishes” become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even suggested to me by devils...
Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most “natural” men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints. 
But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking at Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.**
Truly, giving our very selves fully over to Christ is the only way we can discover who we are, who Christ made us to be and our purpose in life, to discover the riches of His grace and love, and the only way to truly live. It certainly can be a frightening concept, but once you've given yourself wholly to Him, "your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner"*.



*commentary context inspired by and in-text quotes from C.S. Lewis Institute's Reflections - September 2011 - Finding Our True Selves || **C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp 190-191 || All text and images © 2015 Footprints in the Sand || I added a bit of commentary to the aforementioned quote back in 2012, check it out here: Look For Him

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