I reread Mere Christianity this summer, and I as I was tearing through, I could barely believe I’d heard this stuff before, even though other people besides C. S. Lewis have been trying to smash these ideas into my concrete noggin. I recently got over my qualms about writing in books, which means my copy is now crowded with underlines, exclamation marks, smiley faces, lopsided stars, scribbled margin notes and questions for C. S. Lewis whenever we should meet.
One of the biggest points in Mere Christianity that really whacked me over the head this time was an extremely obvious concept that shapes all of Christian life: becoming like Jesus.
Lewis sketches out and puts some flesh on this calling. The Holy Spirit is recreating us to be like Jesus. This doesn’t mean simple adherence to a set of rules, but rather a life that is more like a painting of a portrait. As the times of sanding and remolding go by, the character and shape of our Savior becomes more and more evident in us.
If this is the goal—if this is the purpose of our new life—than we must pray for, seek, and encourage this transformation. Every thought, word, and action should be a reflection of Jesus, the true, real, New Man.
This is about doing what we know is right even when we don’t feel like it. It’s about totally recreating our impulses: what we do when someone demands our time, accuses us, cuts in front of us on the highway—or how we act towards unbelievers, towards our children, towards our friends. He not only changes our actions, He turns our thought patterns upside down (or right side up, as the case may be).
Jesus is our Savior, and also our teacher, our model, our entire curriculum and the key to understanding that curriculum. When our eyes are focused on Christ, He can (and will) make us into brilliant mirrors reflecting His character and light.
This isn’t “mere” Christianity. This is radical.
“God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one. I daresay this idea of divine make-believe sounds rather strange at first. But, is it so strange really? Is not that how the higher thing always raises the lower? A mother teaches her baby to talk by talking to it as if it understood long before it really does. We treat our dogs as if they were ‘almost human’: that is why they really become ‘almost human’ in the end.” -C. S. Lewis
(Photo by Susannah.)