One of the many paradoxes of the Christian faith is this: in order to mature and grow up in Christ, you have to “grow down” in the ways of the world. According to Michael Kelley, growing down means recovering a childlike ( not childish) faith which includes dependence, simplicity, transparency, trust, wonder, passion, innocence and rest. Not easy to do in a life and society that is complex and encourages us to be independent, constantly busy and worried about the future. Kelly quotes C.S. Lewis:
“People need to be reminded more that instructed.”
and goes on to say:
“…we are becoming what we have already become. Growth in Christ is about aligning our thoughts, feelings and actions to the reality of God’s finished work in our hearts….”
We often forget that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross really did finish sin, death and the devil. Their power over us has been broken for good. We don’t have to do more, we simply need to truly believe and rest in our delightful inheritance as God’s beloved children. This requires changing our focus so that we abide in Jesus instead of the worldly attitudes that distract and control us.
Verdict: This book is not very deep, but it is clear, easy to follow and theologically sound. I would certainly recommend it to others, particularly newer Christians. I give it four stars. If you would like more information or want to order it, follow the link below:
The only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. Our charities should pinch and hamper us. If we live at the same level of affluence as other people who have our level of income, we are probably giving away too little.
C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)
What is your reaction to this quote? I find it challenging. I fear few of us could meet C. S. Lewis’s standard–I know I don’t.
Sometimes it’s hard to see any change in ourselves or our circumstances. After all, we live in the present. That’s why it’s a good idea to occasionally look back to get the correct perspective. Not one of us is righteous, and few of us have a “Road to Damascus” experience (like the apostle Paul) that turns us around in an instant. However, when we walk with God, we do change. Think about who you were and what you were doing 1 year ago, 5 years ago, 10 or more years ago…you’ll see God’s hand in your life and how he has molded and changed you. Then give thanks and place your trust in His ability to make you into the person He wants you to be.
One of our other authors, Michele, asked me to post the last several Hebrews interactive studies for her. I hope you’ve been reading through Hebrews with her as much as I have!
In Chapter 11 we are told about faith.
“Faith is what our mind has that our emotions cannot change.”
I may be paraphrasing this quote from C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity” but I feel this is one of the best definitions I have ever heard. As humans, our emotions can cause us to cycle back and forth on the way we feel, but our faith is something that our brain should never question.
Through our faith we come to understand the grace given to us. But we cannot come to faith without scripture. All of this works together to provide us with the food we need to mature in our faith.