C.S. Lewis & Keeping First Things First?
Jesus told us his yoke was easy and his burden was light! Why do so many burned-out people feel the weight of the Milky Way Galaxy on their shoulders? When we get God given passions out of proper order, the easy yoke and light burden of Jesus doesn’t make sense. When we have the order of our passion correct, and live it out daily, we can have the strength and peace of mind the scriptures speak of.
C.S. Lewis felt the greatest battle we ever face as followers of Jesus is keeping first things first. But we have so many passions. We want a good job with a big paycheck, a happy marriage, children that grow up to be respectful decent citizens. We want good health and healing when we are sick. We want this, that, and the other blessing or piece of materialism. All of these – mostly normal daily desires – are second place passions. As long as they remain second place passions, we have half a chance at being content.
Our first place passion should be a closer communion with God. When our first place passion is leading us, we can endure and even be content in any of life’s peaks and valleys.
In pre-history there was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the triune Godhead, enjoying fellowship, love and joy together. In the spirit dimension this level of communion is beyond anything we may have experienced in the created realm. It is so wonderful that if we, as followers of the Lord Jesus, even taste a hint of this communion, we are overwhelmed by the experience. It is God’s plan to bring us step by step into that spiritual communion and joy. That’s the goodnews! That’s the Gospel. But, for some reason (like the teaching of a false gospel) we desire this life to be filled with joy and happiness – all the time. We become very disillusioned when life doesn’t work the way the preacher promised!
In Romans 7:6 we are told we no longer live by the old way of the written code, but by the new way of the spirit. I have heard much preaching in the past thirty years that promoted a New Testemant version of the old written code. “Just get in line with God and blessings start to flow. Just walk in holiness and God will give you your heart’s desire. Please God and He will bless you abundantly.”
When these many promises based on the old written code of “please God and you will be blessed” don’t come to pass as expected, the follower can become disheartened and disillusioned.
Hebrews 7:18-19 says, “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”
Strong language don’t you think? The old way – the covenant based on performance – get it right all the time and I will bless you, but, fail once and you, your family, your flocks and herds will be cursed – is called weak and useless! Wow. The writer of Hebrews wasn’t afraid to tell it like it was. But notice what the next part of the scripture says. We have a better hope, not better blessings, but, a better hope. The hope of deep communion with God now that the Holy of Holies is open to all of us!
It is a wonderful hope to have in a world that can seem hopeless. People who live the performance based life, always looking for something – to make them happy and fulfilled – often end up weary with life itself. Our hope is a better hope. We keep our eyes fixed on heavenly things, and we allow every experience in life – good and bad – to help us draw near to God. Being in His presence, and enjoying God is our greatest blessing!
C.S. Lewis knew we often let second things creep up into first place. We then become frustrated when those second place dreams don’t always work out. But if we keep first place passion for communion with God in first place, we can learn to be content with whatever life throws at us.
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.(Col.3:1-2 NLT).
This is a big subject that we can’t cover indepth in a brief article, but please do give some thought and prayer to whether you have brought on some of your own pain and disillusionment by displacing your first place passion with a second place desire. Refocus and point your life back in a direction where fellowshipping with God is the greatest joy of your life.
Let’s end with a quote from Dr. Larry Crabb: “When we live with no higher goal than to make this life work, whether through therapy, accountability, post-modern freedom, evangelical Christianity, or Catholic spirituality, we fight the wrong battle. And that’s the battle most of modern church is fighting! We’ve lost our unique message, the bright colors of radical Christianity have gone beige, we offer merely a religious method for pursuing the same goal that godless culture esteems. We chase after second things, believing the lie that the blessings of God (second things) will feed our souls when the truth is that only His presence (the first thing) can do the job.” – Larry Crabb.