Friday, May 7, 2010

Some thoughts from C.S. Lewis

Right now I am reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and today I came across something that really caught my attention and made me think. If you haven't heard of the book, it is basically a collection of letters from an older devil to his nephew, giving him advice on how to win a man over to satan. It is such a thought provoking book because everything is from the devil's point of view, and it really points out ways that satan tries to keep us from following after Christ.

So in today's chapter, the older devil is advising the younger to convince the man that he is the owner of his time. He points out how ridiculous it is that a human could even consider time something that he owns because "man can neither make nor retain one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift". But once we start thinking that it is ours, then we use it for things that we want, and then when we feel that someone is wasting our time we become angry with them.

Next comes the really crazy thought. (This is still from the book, I didn't come up with this.) Imagine if Jesus came to us and asked us to serve Him for a day. We would be nervous, because we couldn't say no, but what would he ask of us? And then imagine that all He asked was that we be patient with someone. In that context we would be relieved that that was all he asked of us. But because we consider our time our own, we become irritated when we feel like someone else is wasting our time and we are not patient with them.

I think if we viewed our time not as ours but as God's, for us to serve Him in whatever way possible, we would have completely different attitudes. Every moment of our lives would have meaning because whatever we are doing is for God.

At the end of the chapter, he takes the idea of owning time and applies it to all areas of our lives. I love this quote:
   "And all the time the joke is that the word 'Mine' in its fully possessive sense cannot be uttered by a human being about anything. In the long run either Our Father [satan because this is the devil speaking] or the Enemy [God] will say 'Mine' of each thing that exists, and specially of each man. They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls, and their bodies really belong..."

This sums it up perfectly. Everything we do with our time, with our money, our possessions, our bodies and our lives is either claimed by satan or by God. Objects that are completely neutral such as a we can allow to either draw us closer to or separate us further from God. This book does an excellent job of pointing out how satan tries to use things in our lives to keep us from God, while the Holy Spirit will use the same things to try to bring us closer to Him. But I think if we can keep this view, that we do not truly possess anything, but that everything we do pushes us one way or the other, then we can find meaning in even the smallest most seemingly insignificant areas of our lives. Satan would love for us to be so distracted by the things of this world that we think are neutral or inconsequential. I hope to work on paying attention to the details of life and not claim anything as my own, but to see it as either God's or satans, and determine who I want it to be claimed for.


Kristin said...

I've always been curious about this book, and have read lots of little excerpts here and there. Thanks for sharing this! Very thought provoking...

Chloƫ said...

great post! thanks for sharing...i need to go finish that book now. i love c.s. lewis.

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

i adore c.s. lewis. my hubby read the screwtape letters and insisted that i read them. i haven't yet, but i know i HAVE to!

shannonsadventures said...

I love that book! Thanks for sharing!