My oldest friend in the world
(oldest as in longest-lasting, that is), Andy Estrada, periodically sends me really thought-provoking emails. All the rest of the time he just sends me jokes and funny videos. But yesterday, this came through. It's a quote from C. S. Lewis that I have read and pondered before. I know that elusive "something" that Lewis describes--a hint of something not quite tangible, but almost painfully familiar; a something that tugs and draws and promises.
I hope you enjoy the thoughts of both these men, and that you too decide to lay aside what is seen and touched and tasted and set your desires instead on that which awaits us. God save us from the "evil enchantment of worldliness.""In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you–the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism….
We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name…
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things–the beauty, the memory of our own past–are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory"
Lewis touches on the nerve of our deepest longing. We try to fill the void with false intimacy, hollow relationships, sex, pornography, food, alcohol, drugs, “serving God”, education, sports, daily busyness, and a myriad of other meaningless things the world offers us trying to replace true intimacy, intimacy with God, intimacy within marriage, intimacy within friendships.
What little I know about the subject tells me that it does not happen naturally. It not only takes unreserved and undivided commitment, but also cultivation, nurture, and a persistent focused effort. Achieving true intimacy (love) cannot and must not depend on feelings. I cannot depend on how I feel at any given moment. Feelings are fickle and wavering and cannot be trusted.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV).
Some days I don’t feel like seeking God. Some days I don’t feel love toward my mate, children, or friends. So what do I do then? God’s description of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV),
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”
Notice this description has absolutely nothing to do with feelings, but in actions. In fact love acts opposite the way that I would naturally feel or react. In my opinion, true love (which leads to true intimacy) is a result of choosing to act on an unwavering commitment or covenant with God, others, and ourselves. Not that I always act or react congruent with my belief system, for I am a mere mortal (I know, hard to believe!). But working in cooperation with the Holy Spirit I purpose in my life to be a man of integrity and authenticity and act in such a way as to honor God in my daily journey with Jesus.
Life is about choices. So often I chose not to choose, but to live my life by the path of least resistance, a directionless existence that has for the most part led to ruin. I believe in my case this attitude has been based in a false sense of worthlessness and fear of loss. The enemy of my soul had me convinced that I would never add up to anything, that my dreams could never come true, that anything good in my life was a fluke, and that I was such a screw-up that even God didn’t like me.
Today, that changes. Today I choose to see myself as God sees me. I choose to live life in my true identity, as a child of the King, a beloved of the Most High God, the apple of His eye. Today I choose to live life on purpose.
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