Thursdays With Oswald—Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal? 

     Christianity is not adherence to a set of principles—righteousness, goodness, uprightness—all these things are secondary. The first great fundamental thing about Christianity is a personal relationship to Jesus Christ which enables a man to work out the ideal and actual as one in his own personal life. … 

     We are not built for mountains and dawns and artistic affinities; they are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff of life, and this is where we have to prove our mettle. A false Christianity takes us up on the mount and we want to stay there. “But what about the devil-possessed world?” “Oh, let it go to hell! We are having a great time up here.” … It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, and the mountains are meant for inspiration and meditation; but a man is taken there only in order that he may go down afterwards among the devil-possessed and lift them up. … 

     God won’t clear up our social conditions; Jesus Christ is not a social Reformer, He came to alter us first, and if there is any social reform done on earth, we will have to do it. … 

     If we cannot live in the demon-possessed valley, with the hold of God on us, lifting up those who are down by the power of the thing that is in us, our Christianity is only an abstraction.

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Jesus Christ did not stay on the mountaintops with His Father, aloof from the needs of people. He went away for times of refreshing, but always came back to the messiness of people’s lives.

Can the same be said of our Christianity? Are we content with merely knowing we are going to Heaven? Or are we daily going into the valleys to rescue those oppressed and held captive by the devil?

Ideal Christianity wants to be alone with Jesus on the mountain. Actual Christianity—that Jesus modeled for us—meets with Christ on the mountain only to be strengthened for the work in the valley. 

Is your Christianity actual, or only ideal?

9 Quotes From C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis at his deskYesterday I posted a review on an innovative book The Surprising Imagination Of C.S. Lewis. Truly this man’s literary output during his lifetime, and his works’ staying power after his lifetime, is amazing. Here are a few quotes from this prolific author.

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.” —C.S. Lewis

“Humanity does not pass through phases as a train passes through stations: being alive, it has the privilege of always moving yet never leaving anything behind. Whatever we have been, In some sort we are still.” —C.S. Lewis

“God saw the Cross in the creation of the first nebulae.” —C.S. Lewis 

“Nothing can deceive unless it bears a plausible resemblance to reality.” —C.S. Lewis

“The real way of mending a man’s taste is not to denigrate his present favorites, but to teach him how to enjoy something better.” —C.S. Lewis 

“Coming to understand anything we must reject the facts as they are for us in favor of the facts as they are.” —C.S. Lewis

“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves,’ to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good.’ We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do.” —C.S. Lewis 

“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other Voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.” —C.S. Lewis

“‘Be ye perfect.’ I think He meant ‘The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less: but I will give you nothing less.’” —C.S. Lewis 

“That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected) he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When trouble comes along—illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation—he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.” —C.S. Lewis

I previously posted quotes from C.S. Lewis here, here, and here.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading from today…

“A gracious Hand leads us in ways we know not, and blesses us not only without, but even against, our plans and inclinations.” —William Wilberforce

A cool article about George MacDonald’s influence on C.S. Lewis.

Ken Davis uses an optical illusion to make a fantastic point in his post Perception Or Reality?

The son of a Hamas founder confirms that this terrorist group targets civilians.

[INFOGRAPHIC] This is a win-win: Benaiah featured on The Overview Bible Project.

Praise God!! Millions of Muslims converting to Jesus Christ!

“Commend me to the Christian who says, ‘I bless God I am saved; now what can I do for others?’ The first thing in the morning he prays, ‘God help me to say a word to some soul this day.’ During the day, wherever he may be, he is watching his opportunity, and will do good if he can.” —Charles Spurgeon

“There’s a great deal of trust in the love of God, and a great deal of love in the trust of God.” —John Piper

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