Mere Christianity is a classic in Christian literature. I read it years ago, and recently listened to it as an audiobook. It was read by a British gentleman whose accent made it seem as though C. S. Lewis himself were sharing his ideas with me.
I was especially struck by the timelessness of his comments. The essays in the book were originally war-time broadcast talks on Christianity, starting in August 1941, in London. These conversations on Christianity were written just ten years after he converted to Christianity from being a dedicated atheist.
I am awed at the brilliance of a mind which could understand God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit so well. I’ve been a Christian six times that long and don’t begin to have his understanding. I sit at his feet in awe.
Here are some of the things he says in Mere Christianity:
The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?
I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil—hoofs and horns and all?’ Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns.
…it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
…fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.
So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief.
How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshipping an imaginary God. [This reminds me of an excellent book, Imaginary Jesus, by Matt Mikalatos. Can’t really compare his book to the depth of C. S. Lewis, but it’s very contemporary and thought-provoking.]
My favorite: Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.
God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
His word pictures are gripping. So God still has lots of work to do on me, and reading or listening to such stimulating ideas continues to turn my heart and life toward God.
I want him to live in my house.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20