The long way around?

Mere cover

 

 

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luke 6:31 ESV

Each Thursday morning I meet with several (other) grumpy old men for coffee. We rarely agree together on anything. We are not all Christians. Would it guarantee our agreement if we were? We can’t even agree on the best temperature for our coffee to be served at. So how may we expect to agree on the ideal for society, Christian or otherwise? This second of three brief posts on the theme of A Christian society also comes from C.S. Lewis…

C. S. Lewis wrote: “Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party. We are looking for an ally where we are offered either a Master or – a Judge.

“ … And that is why nothing whatever is going to come of such talks unless we go a much longer way round. A Christian society is not going to arrive until most of us really want it: and we are not going to want it until we become fully Christian.

“I may repeat, ‘do as you would be done by’ till I am blue in the face, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbour as myself: and I cannot learn to love my neighbour as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him.

“And so, as I warned you, we are driven on to something more inward – driven on from social matters to religious matters. For the longest way round is the shortest way home.”

From C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.

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If I ruled the world?

Mere cover

 

In those days there was no king in Israel.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21:25 ESV

 

Winston Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Well, maybe. But is even the best democracy the best we can aspire to in this world? Might not Christians hold onto hopes for a society, this side of Heaven’s perfect City of God, where standards of what is ‘right’ may not only be agreed upon but also followed; and what might such a Christian society look like? This first of three brief posts on the theme of A Christian society comes from C.S. Lewis…

C.S.Lewis wrote: “The New Testament, without going into details, gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that there are to be no passengers or parasites: if man does not work, he ought not to eat. Everyone is to work with his own hands, and what is more, every one’s work is to produce something good: there will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. … To that extent a Christian society would be what we now call Leftist. On the other hand, the New Testament is always insisting on obedience obedience (and outward marks of respect) from all of us to properly appointed magistrates, from children to parents, and (I am afraid this is going to be very unpopular) from wives to husbands. Thirdly, it is to be a cheerful society: full of singing and rejoicing, and regarding worry and anxiety as wrong. Courtesy is one of the Christian virtues; and the New Testament hates what it calls ‘busybodies’.

“If there were such a society in existence and your or I visited it, I think we would come away with a curious impression. We would feel that its economic life was very socialistic and, in that sense, ‘advanced’, but that its family life and its code of manners were rather old fashioned – perhaps even ceremonious and aristocratic. Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing.

“That is just what one would expect if Christianity is the total plan for the human machine. We have all departed from that total plan in different ways, and each of us wants to make out that his own modification of the original plan is the plan itself. You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: everyone is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest.

From C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.

God’s convergent guidance?

Fear to Faith

I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me…
Habakkuk 2:1 ESV

Whenever we have prayed according to the Spirit of God, submitting our own spirit to His, He will always answer. By His Spirit He may answer us in scripture; or He may answer by His Spirit at work in us. But, as they used to say in the late night television commercials, ‘Wait! There’s more!’ This final brief post on the theme Where to Look for Answers to Prayer also comes from Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones…

Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote: “Then again He sometimes answers our prayers by so providentially ordering our circumstances, and the day-to-day happenings of our lives, that it becomes quite plain what God is saying. God never calls us to do any work without opening the door. He may take a long time, but if God wants us to do some special task He will shut other doors and open that particular one. Our whole life will be directed to that end.

“This is a common experience of the Christian life. God often allows obstacles to arise, but the way ahead remains clear. God’s will is certain. The point is that we must be looking for these answers, and ready to recognize them when they come.

“Having committed my problem to God I must expect God to answer. I should also compare one indication of guidance with another, because if God is always consistent with Himself in His dealings with me, I can expect them all to converge.”

From Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in From Fear to Faith (Rejoicing in the Lord in Turbulent Times).

God’s good impressions?

Fear to Faith

 

I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me…
Habakkuk 2:1 ESV

 

God is never limited in the way He answers our prayers. He is so fashioning our own spirits in fellowship with himself and in likeness to Jesus that we begin to find His Word in scripture confirmed in us. This second of three brief posts on the theme Where to Look for Answers to Prayer also comes from Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote: “Then God sometimes answers directly in our spirits. (Habakkuk) said: ‘I will watch to see what he will say in me’ (cf. AV margin). God speaks to me by speaking in me. He can so lay something upon the mind that we are certain of the answer. He can impress something upon our spirits in an unmistakable manner. We find ourselves unable to get away from an impression that is on our mind or heart; we try to rid ourselves of it, but back it comes. So does God answer at times.”

From Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in From Fear to Faith (Rejoicing in the Lord in Turbulent Times).

Waiting (and Watching)?

Fear to Faith

 

I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me…
Habakkuk 2:1 ESV

 

 

Fear and faith go together like a riddle and its answer. C.S.Lewis said, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. When God finally gets our attention in the worst of our pain, and we turn to Him and pray, where may we look for His answers? This first of three brief posts on the theme Where to Look for Answers to Prayer comes from Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote about the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk: “ (When we pray) we must look for the answer. Habakkuk is looking for the answer. We so often fail because we just pray to God and then forget about it. If we pray to God we must expect answers to our prayers. Do we in fact, after we have prayed, continue to look to God and eagerly await the answer … expecting it to come at any moment? God, of course, may answer in a number of different ways.

“For instance, you can expect God to answer you as you read His Word, for it is the commonest way of all in which He does this. As you are reading Scripture, suddenly a strange and wonderful light is cast upon your problem. If you say to yourself, ‘This is the Word of God through which He speaks to men and I wonder what he has to say to me,’ then you are likely to obtain your answer. Watch and wait for it.”

From Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in From Fear to Faith (Rejoicing in the Lord in Turbulent Times).