Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Mood Monitor

I read and re-read sentences of great writers.

Partly I do this because as a writer, I am a student of expert wordsmiths. The other reason, though, is to fully absorb the intention of the writer, so that I don't take out of context future messages he or she is trying to convey.

The one writer I study more than any other like this is C.S. Lewis (who wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia").

Last night I found one of his essays, and it was never more needed than this week. I've been engaged in a lengthy email exchange with one of the atheists from the Proud Atheist blog site. He is very intelligent and very rational in the presentations of his views. But as I read this essay by Lewis, I realized how hugely important it is for us to monitor what goes into both our hearts and minds, even as we try to reach others with the good news about Jesus.

If you haven't studied Lewis, you may find the reading a little dense and difficult at first. But stay with it ... his final conclusion is an important and dire warning. Read it and let me know your thoughts ... Do you find yourself reflected in this essay? How do the words apply to you?

How can I pray for you?

Here it is, from his book, "The Business of Heaven."

Training the Habit of Faith

"Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where they get off,' you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently,one must train the habit of Faith.

The first step is to recognize the fact that your moods change. The next step is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?"

1 comment:

  1. There is wonderful reasearch done by Dr. Maxwell Maltx, auther of Psycho-Cybernetics.His research suggest that it takes 21 days to change a habit. He is a plastic surgeon and in virtually every case involving amputation, it took his patient 21 days to lost the ghost-image of the missing limb.He began to study the correlation between the human mind and the 21 day period. He proved scientifically that an idea must be repeated 21 days before it becomes permanently fixed in the subjective, motivating mind.
    As Christians,if we fix out minds on Jesus and focus on His Presence, we become disciplined in attributes needed for deeper Christian living. Characteristics, like faith, love, kindness, gentleness, etc. become HABITS of living. THEN others SEE the REALITY of God through the consistent, life-changing testimonies that spring forth from ordinary people who give over their lives to an extra-ordinary God.
    C.S. Lewis is a PERFECT example of a person who came to faith from the life of disbelief. All of his writings are helpful to those who are truly seeking.