Real christian love changes us. It makes us a completely different type of people. In a world of people seeking satisfaction and security, those who are in Christ are full to the brim. He gives himself to us so that we may be able to give ourselves to others.
There are two distinct changes that love makes in us. First of all, it fills us and creates within us a heart that is burdened to serve others. A heart full of Christ and his truth is a heart that cannot just sit still and stay selfish. Secondly, the burden of love that Christ puts on us drives us to discipline, diligence and perseverance in serving others. Although it impacts our heart powerfully, Christ’s love spreads to the whole person. It causes us to stop and think. It pushes us to evaluate our lives and find ways that we can and must serve most fruitfully in the church and in his kingdom.
If your heart is full of Christ, it will drive you to think deeply about the life of the church, it will cause you to evaluate the purpose of the church and all the different ways that you are present there. It will push you to look into how God is working in those areas and how you can give yourself. Having a deeper perspective on the work of God around you will help show the deeper significance of the “little” ways that you choose to serve. It teaches us to see that in God’s kingdom and in his work, there are no “little” people or “little” moments. Every act of Christ-driven love is an opportunity to make eternal impact on those around us. There is nothing more central to the practical christian walk than growing in love.
Where do we find that true sense of identity and personality for which we so deeply long? We may look inward, thinking that we are the greatest and most complex beings that exist. We can set ourselves high on a pedestal. We can spend our whole life trying to prove to ourselves and everyone around that we are as good as we imagine.
Or we can see it slightly differently. We can see our personality as a reflection of the greater light from which which we get our being. We can see that we are vessels, and that the glory to which we strive cannot indeed be contained in this little world. We can see that our true greatness lies in the greatness of the One to whom we owe our breath.
Thus there are two ways to personality. There is the bondage of working hard to live up to the standard that we set for ourselves and hoping that it will deliver. Or there is the liberty of opening our doors to our need in our Maker, and letting him welcome us home. C. S. Lewis puts it this way:
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”¹
- Beyond Personality, C. S. Lewis (1944).
This past month, C.S. Lewis’ essay, The Weight of Glory has been lingering in my mind. Perhaps this has been potentiated by the fact that we are studying Paul’s letter to the Ephesians with the church, in which there is a great deal of overlap on this intriguing idea of the christian and glory.
Lewis establishes that we all seek glory. We all seek fulfillment. It seems that we are created with a yearning in our souls for a greatness that is out of this world. Various cultures and people groups substitute this with a variety of fillers, but these only prove the point of its reality. It is utterly inhuman to desire to be unglorified – degraded, stomped in the dust, unaccomplished, worthless. Nobody lives that way.