c.s. lewis once compared Christians to what horses might be like were they in the process of growing wings. they’re not quite there, but the first signs are beginning to show. and, in the middle of the process, the horses appear quite unsightly, particularly when compared to their non-winged counterparts. the awkward lumps on the horses’ backs make them stand out from others. however, when the process has run its course, the horses will soar over hurdles they once had to work to leap over.
it’s an analogy that i’ve appreciated very much. but, unfortunately, it’s one whose purpose i need to be constantly remind of. perhaps those are the best kind, though. ones that aren’t so shallow they never need repeating.
sacrifice for Him
i was thinking about this on a recent afternoon while walking through downtown. thinking about the semi-awkwardness that Christians should bear were they to live out their faith as they were called to in a world that shares little similarities with said faith. not the “i’m wearing a terribly outdated Christian rock band t-shirt” kind of awkwardness, but the kind of awkwardness that makes one stand out solely because of the way they treat others. as if suddenly they have lost all of their sense of self-importance and replaced it with a concern for others that goes beyond normal conventions.
i was thinking about how the Christian life is a call to sacrifice, and how Christ, the Christ of the Bible, was constantly beating this point home. whether in parables, commands or His very life. anyone expecting anything more from the Christian life than a life devoted to serving others would be well-suited to spend some time in the the Gospel accounts. Jesus Himself told people if they weren’t ready to fully commit then they should turn back now. a stark warning many new believers (and old believers alike) would do well to consider.
a certain sense of dissonance
personally, i struggle with living with a lukewarm faith. one foot in, one foot out. one foot in this world, one foot in the next. and it’s brought me a certain sense of dissonance.
on the one hand, i know that the ultimate fulfillment of all that i was created for rests in His presence, rests outside of this world. and that only when i have arrived in that place will those deep longings of my soul finally find rest, finally find fulfillment. the kind of fulfillment humanity has spent centuries seeking out through various means and methods. only then will i be totally and completely overwhelmed with the comfort, peace and security that comes from His presence alone.
and yet, when i am most honest with myself, there is a very predominant part of me that still runs full-speed toward the goals of this world. success. material wealth. pleasure. security. admiration. praise.
and it’s at that point that the dissonance arrives, striking to my very core, leaving me wondering who i really am, and where my commitment really stands. and that’s a tough place to be.
we are told that only He truly knows our hearts. i know that you don’t know my heart; it’s relatively easy to deceive others, to put on a facade, at least for a while. those who are good at it last longer, others simply are caught off guard. eventually, all of our sinful natures shine through at some point. but the thing about Him, the thing that we must never forget, is that He sees us for who we truly are, all the time. the good and the bad. simultaneously. and that’s a fearful thought.
what we must avoid at all costs is for that dissonance to sway us in such a way that we hold on too tightly to the things of this world. we must never let the trends or the enticements of this world outweigh the promises of what is to come. even when the lumps look ugly, even when our sacrifices for our risen Lord and Savior may appear foolish to others, or only seem to push us back while others make seemingly large strides forward, we must continue to run the race with everything we have toward His will for our lives.
Father, i thank you for my lumps. i thank you for the reminder that you began a process in my life that you promise to bring to completion. forgive me for letting what others might think make me hold on to material things or norms, or anything other than the nail-pierced hand of your loving Son.