Tuesday, March 28, 2017

More Ourselves than Ever

If you read the blog, this post may sounds familiar. I took a post I had written for the blog and adapted it to be used as a Conference Lenten devotional. Since it is a little different than before (hopefully more polished), I'm posting it here in its finished form.

Have you ever said, “I’m only human, after all.” We say it when we make a mistake. We say it when we sin, as if our humanity creates in us an inability to choose to follow the leadership of God. We say it as if our humanity is an acceptable and understandable excuse for our selfishness and self-centeredness.

I’m listening to a series of lectures about the work of C.S. Lewis. In the lectures, Dr. Louis Markos speaks of Lewis’s assertion that when we choose sin over obedience to God, we lose a small piece of our humanity. “Each time we choose ourselves or our sins over God and others, each time we close another inner door on the life-giving (but also revealing) light of Christ, we surrender another spark of our humanity. We (literally) dehumanize ourselves.”

The truth is it is not our humanity that causes us to sin. We are created in the image of God – human and good. The sanctifying grace of God – through the Spirit of God living in us - does not make us less human; it moves us closer to the humanity that God created. God’s sanctifying grace moves us toward the perfection and wholeness of true humanity.

In the Screwtape Letters, written by C. S. Lewis, Screwtape, a senior demon, writes to his nephew, Wormwood, a junior tempter, “When He [God] talks of their losing their selves, He means only abandoning the clamor of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.”

Prayer: Creating, sustaining God, help us to become more ourselves than ever. Forgive us when we choose to disobey, and move us closer to what you have created us to be. We pray in your son’s name, Amen.

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