C.S. Lewis, perhaps one of the greatest “lay” theologians of the 20th century. I have been receiving quotes from his writings in my email for some time now, and the depth of his thinking continues to astound me. Don’t get me wrong, I have read Lewis before, but not a whole lot and not from a wide range of his writings. But these quotes are changing that, and increasing my desire to read more of Lewis. I received a quote the other day that ties into what I’m preaching about at PEMC.
Here’s the quote, taken from Lewis’ book The Problem of Pain:
God is Goodness. He can give good, but cannot need or get it. In that sense all His love is, as it were, bottomlessly selfless by very definition; it has everything to give and nothing to receive. Hence, if God sometimes speaks as though the Impassible could suffer passion and eternal fullness could be in want, and in want of those beings on whom it bestows all from their bare existence upwards, this can mean only, if it means anything intelligible by us, that God of mere miracle has made Himself able so to hunger and created in Himself that which we can satisfy. If He requires us, the requirement is of His own choosing.
Sunday mornings over the next little while we’re looking at the phrase “Go…Put God’s Love In Motion”, a phrase that this church has had lying around for some time now. But it is a phrase that has not been utilized as a motivator or as a theme that we can throw ourselves behind to say “This is what we are about.” But it is a phrase that is jam packed with good meanings about what it means to be a church, and even what it means for each of us as individual Christians.
Last Sunday (September 22), I made a point of starting in the middle of the phrase. God’s love. What is God’s love? What does it look like? That is a massive question, and one that I can’t hope to answer. But here are some things I did point out:
1) God is love, it is the very basis of his essence and character (taken from 1 John 4:8, 16)
2) God’s love is always demonstrated in action (1 John 4:9-10; Romans 5:8)
3) God’s love is what motivates him to act (John 3:16)
4) God’s love is sacrificial (John 3:16-17)
This love is so very difficult for us to grasp, partially because the love we see demonstrated in the world around us is such a poor comparison to God’s love. And yet, one of Paul’s most ardent prayers for Christians is that we would know this love (Ephesians 3:14-21). Not understand it cognitively, but that we would know it, experience it.
Why do we need to know it? 3 reasons: 1) because the full measure of God’s love is directed at each and every one of us, each and every second of each and every day; 2) because God’s love extends to every person who has lived, lives now or will ever live; 3) because as Christians, you and I are agents of that love.
If we don’t know God’s love, it can’t motivate us, move us, inspire us to be it’s agents. It is so critical, as Paul declares in Ephesians 3, for us to know the power of Christ’s love and so be filled with the fullness of God. Then, only then, Paul declares: “With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.”
So don’t strive to understand Christ’s love. Believe it, experience it, bask in it, let it fill you up so that it can flow through you to the world around you.