He speaks to himself…

Lewis Letters‘Apart from me you can do nothing…’ John 15:5

To ever have imagined we could do anything apart from Christ, but especially to think so after we find ourselves  (by grace alone, through faith alonein Christ, was then and remains now, our fatal error; the heart of all our sin. That this error may apply to our prayers and that any true prayer, apart from the working of the Spirit of God within us is impossible, is suggested in this 1953 letter from C.S.Lewis to Mary Willis Shelburne published, in Lewis’s collected letters, under the heading, ‘On rejoicing over answered prayer, and on our prayers being God’s prayers.’

‘Oh I am glad, I am glad. And here’s a thing worth recording. Of course I have been praying for you daily, as always, but latterly have found myself doing so with much more concern and especially about 2 nights ago, with such a strong feeling how very nice it would be, if God willed, to get a letter from you with good news. And then, as if by magic (indeed it is the whitest magic in the world) the letter comes to-day. Not (lest I should indulge in folly) that your relief had not in fact occurred before my prayer, but as if, in tenderness for my puny faith, God moved me to pray with especial earnestness just be-fore He was going to give me the thing. How true that our prayers are really His prayers: He speaks to Himself through us. I am also most moved at hearing how you were supported through the period of anxiety. For one is sometimes tempted to think that if He wanted us to be as un-anxious as the lilies of the field He really might have given us a constitution more like theirs! But then when the need comes He carries out in us His otherwise impossible instructions. In fact He always has to do all the things—all the prayers, all the virtues. No new doctrine, but newly come home to me.’

From ‘The Collected Letters of C.S.Lewis Volume III’

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nouns or adjectives?

 
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They [Adam and Eve] wanted, as we say, to “call their souls their own.” But that means to live a lie, for our souls are not, in fact, our own. They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, “This is our business, not yours.” But there is no such corner. They wanted to be nouns, but they were, and eternally must be, mere adjectives.

C.S.Lewis in ‘The Problem of Pain’

 

Completing a ‘trilogy’ of posts to do with our contemporary (not modern only) obsession with our ‘self,’ here are two comments from C S Lewis; the one (above) descriptive of our core problem and the other (below) perhaps prescriptive of our cure, only in Christ.

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“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
    

C.S.Lewis in ‘Mere Christianity’