Beyond Self

C. S. Lewis

The author of the best selling children’s book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, also wrote non-fiction best sellers such as Mere Christianity. Mere Christianity began as a series of radio talks on the BBC. It was such a popular series that it was said Lewis’ voice was the most recognizable voice in all of Britain second only to that of Winston Churchill’s. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings, were close friends and critiqued each other’s writings. Lewis was a professor at both Oxford and Cambridge.

This intellectual giant became a follower of Jesus Christ only after a great and prolonged struggle. Moving from being an atheist and materialist, he became a believer in a higher power. He considered himself spiritual, which included dabbling in the occult. He wrote, “We could talk religiously about the Absolute; but there was no danger of Its doing anything about us…To let go of the stern truths of the creed [from his Christian roots in childhood] and to embrace the vague speculations of spiritualism with nothing to be obeyed or believed except what was exciting or comforting – ‘Oh, the relief of it!’…This was a religion that cost nothing.”

C.S. Lewis was greatly influenced by the Christian writer George MacDonald. MacDonald described the kind of life to which C.S. Lewis held and lived out before he turned to God. “I am my own. I am my own king and subject. I am the center from which go out my thoughts; I am the object and end of my thoughts.”

But then Lewis became a believer in God. He wrote, “I have been, as they say, ‘taken out of myself.’”

Lewis moved from a self-centered life to being taken out of himself, as he put it. These, then, are the two ways to live, certainly the two options I see throughout the Bible. We can live with our self as the center of our universe. What do I want to do? What will please me the most? How can I fulfill my own purposes? Or we can life with God at the center of our universe. What does God want me to do? What will please God the most? How can I fulfill God’s purposes?

I’ve chosen the latter of the two, seeking to put God at the center of my life. Why? For at least three reasons. First, and by far most important, it’s the right thing to do. After all, if God is real, and is really God, then He deserves to be the God of my life. Second, because it pleases Him, and to please God, wow, that’s as good as it can get! Third, (this reason verges on being a selfish reason, but putting it third should make it acceptable) because God is all wise and all loving, whatever His will is for me is going to ultimately turn out the best for me (maybe in this life, but most certainly in the life hereafter).

I want to experience what C.S. Lewis described. I want to be taken out of myself!

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

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