One reason life is so difficult, says C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), is that we try to be Christians without giving our whole self to Christ (from Mere Christianity, 1952):
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. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be plowed up and re-sown.
ALSO BY C. S. LEWIS:
No man knows how bad his is until he has tried very hard to be good.
Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us.
We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us. We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
We must lay before him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.
Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won’t last forever. We must take it or leave it.
We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road. In the case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
Matthew 7:16-18 — (Jesus said), “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
Luke 6:43-45 — (Jesus said), “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
II Thessalonians 2:15-17 — So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Take My Life and Let it Be, Frances Havergal (1874)
Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.