I often find myself re-reading this C.S. Lewis quote from ‘Mere Christianity.’ I’m drawn to it because I want to be a ‘new man’ and I know I’m far from being there.
“Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some, as I have admitted, are still hardly recognizable: but others can be recognized. Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognizable; but you must know what to look for.
They will not be very like the idea of ‘religious people’ which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognized one of them, you will recognize the next one much more easily. And I strongly suspect (but how should I know?) that they recognize one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of color, sex, class, age, and even of creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun.”
As a YL leader, three of Lewis’ statements particularly convicted me:
They do not draw attention to themselves.
This is not my default. My own insecurities often lead to cafeteria conversations being one sided. To avoid silence, I’ll just talk about myself. It’s easier, feels safer, and makes me feel likable and funny. It’s harder to ask good questions. It’s harder to focus on someone else. I want to be a ‘there you are’ kind of person instead of a ‘here i am’ kind of man.
They love you more, but they need you less.
I check my likes on Instagram. I need affirmation. I want kids to think I’m cool. But I long to find my identity in what my Heavenly Father thinks of me. I want to be confident as His son so I don’t need other’s affirmation. Only then will I truly be free to love without strings attached, without needing love in return.
They will usually seem to have a lot of time,
you will wonder where it comes from.
Availability is not my spiritual gift. Busyness is a vacuum. How many times have I missed key opportunities because I didn’t leave margin in my schedule? Kids notice. They see the signals. “I have time for you, but only when it’s on my watch.”
My college roommate wasn’t super active in any club or sport. He didn’t study a ton. He wasn’t Mr. Popular. But I LOVED living with him. Any time I asked Chad if he wanted to go for a run or grab a burger, he almost always was available. His presence was a gift to me. I want to give other people that same gift. With-ness.
The difficult thing about becoming a ‘new man’ is that it’s not something we can muster up. We can’t just choose to be a ‘new man’ and become more disciplined. Our will-power will fail us. Our true selfish natures will eventually surface.
The only way to become a ‘new man’ is to be made new.
We can’t make ourselves new.
- “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
- “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess 5:23
The only way to live like this is for CHRIST TO LIVE in us.
- I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal. 2:20
- For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil. 2:13
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things out of us