The Reluctant Obedient

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I stumbled across this quote today from C.S. Lewis:

“That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929, I gave in and admitted that God was God and knelt and prayed; perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

This is the same C.S. Lewis that wrote Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s the same C.S. Lewis that befriended J.R.R. Tolkien as he wrote The Lord of The Rings. He’s probably the most quoted Christian author and probably the most read as well.

It’s a bit surprising to learn that he was 32 years old when he finally was ‘checkmated by God.’ He wrote, that after years of arguing and discussion, he finally had to deal with “the unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet.” It would take him another six years before he finally wrote a book about his new faith.

Lewis was consumed by logic and philosophy, and that ultimately became his undoing as an atheist. For him, Christianity was true not because of what it made him feel. In fact, he was adamant the rest of his life that if feelings were the mark of truth, he’d remained a hedonistic humanist. It was much easier to live with that philosophy than the one of Jesus.

Eventually, this cold hard logic and philosophy led to a softening of his heart and a collection of writings that has had an unmeasurable impact. But it was his reluctant obedience to the pursuit of God that made the difference.

This is how all growth in people happens. Face a truth and then allow your life to be transformed to that truth. Adjust to the truth, and the feelings will one day follow. It’s the decision to obey, regardless of feelings, that makes the difference.

Tithing. Daily time in the Word. Prayer. Forgiveness. Grace. These are actions not based on feelings. In fact, if we waited for our feelings to motivate us, we would be waiting for a long time. But something strange happens along the journey of the reluctant obedient…

The feelings follow…eventually.

That same C.S. Lewis would also write this, in Mere Christianity:

“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.”

So if you are struggling with obeying some issue today, or struggling to ‘give in’ to Christ… Go ahead and reluctantly obey. Tell your feelings where to get off. Put them in their proper place, and then you can start exercising real faith.

Eventually… The feelings will follow.

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