1251) Words of Wisdom and Common Sense from C. S. Lewis

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C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the most brilliant writers who ever set pen to paper.  He was an insightful thinker, had remarkable common sense, and there may not have been anyone in the last century who was a better writer about the Christian faith and the human condition.  I have quoted him often, and here are a few more of his gems.

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Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once.  But, of course, when people say, “Sex is nothing to be ashamed of,” they may mean “the state into which the sexual instinct has now got is nothing to be ashamed of.”  If they mean that, I think they are wrong.  I think it is everything to be ashamed of.  There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips.

There are only two kinds of people in the end:  those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word “darkness” on the walls of his cell.

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us.  We have all we want is a terrible saying when all does not include God.  We find God an interruption.  As St Augustine says somewhere, “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full— there’s nowhere for Him to put it.”  Or as a friend of mine said, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.”  Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him.  Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for.  While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him.  What then can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness?

Our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world…, (so) when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it.  Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world.  There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.  If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society.

 If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

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Proverbs 1:7  —  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 3:13  —  Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.

James 3:13  —  Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

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PSALM 25:1…4-5:

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust…

Show me your ways, Lordteach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

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