Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Avoiding toys

"... I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!"

C. S. Lewis in The Magician's Nephew

We have just started a new sermon series that I have entitled 'The Walk to the Cross'. I preached on this verse the other day and was much helped in my study of it by Clinton Arnold's 3 Crucial Question's on Spiritual Warfare and Thomas Brook's Precious Remedies against Satan's devices. I am preaching on Nehemiah 4 on Sunday so my reflections on the spiritual realities of the Kingdom continue.

It seems obvious to me on any reading of the gospels that Christ is opposed by a real enemy with very real schemes and if you have not yet comprehended this you would do well to read Waking the dead. If you do, it will tell you that the most fierce battle of all is over the state of our own hearts:

"Sometimes I use the phrase "wartime life-style" or "wartime mindset". The phrase is helpful- but also lopsided. For me it is mainly helpful. It tells me that there is a war going on between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief. It tells me that there are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs, but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And it tells me that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46)

I need to hear this message again and again because I drift into a peacetime mindset as certainly as rain falls down and flames go up. I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home". Before you know it, I am calling luxuries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people groups drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me time and time again towards a wartime mind-set."

I'm excited about my friend Matt, who planted St Alban's, coming to preach on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

CS Lewis was being mischievous with "If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings"!

Instead: "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

I think the section in the book is really an interpretation of the wider passage in 2 Corinthians 4.

David Cooke said...

Thanks for this. Lewis was often it seems a bit mischievous :)