A Life Worth Giving Up

October 29, 2002

I had never considered the possibility that some trials could be the result of my reluctance to surrender my life to Christ. Now that the idea has come to my attention it makes perfect sense. 

Photos in this post were captured by me, in October 2011

The Dilemma of Attachment

I am not likely to give all that I have over to Christ if I really like what I have. I am far more likely to give it over if I am not too attached to it! Praying for help in giving my life to Christ while clinging to that very life seems like a very contradictory thing to do! If that is what I am doing, how can I expect God to assist me in giving that life over?

"While what we call 'our own life' remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make 'our own life' less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness?"            (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pg. 94) 

As long as I want to give my life to Christ but am unwilling to let it go, the only thing that God can do to help me is to change my life until I am more willing to give it up. This would mean making my life into a life that I do not like. I could decide to let that happen- it would be the easy way to go. However there is something else to this that makes me think twice.

The Value of Surrendering a Good Life

Alma 32:16 says, "Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble..." C.S. Lewis said that it is, "...a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up 'our own' when it is no longer worth keeping." (The Problem of Pain, pg. 95)  This tells me that it is better to give up a life that I feel attached to than to wait for God to detach me from it by making it so that it is no longer worth keeping.

It seems near useless to give up what isn't of worth. If I wait for God to change my life into something I am more willing to give up, my offering becomes much less than it would have been had I offered my life when it was good. At the same time, if I offer my life when it is good, I avoid the trials that I might face in the changing of my life.

The rewards are far greater than what I would be giving up, anyway! As Screwtape says,

"When [God] talks of their losing their selves, He only means abandoning the clamor of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.       (C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters, pg. 65)

So, I can give my  life and myself over to Christ, which does involve some sacrifice, but the sacrifice is worth it.

"He who seeketh to save his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (JST Matthew 10:34)

"...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."  (Luke 9:23-24)

For Context: This blog entry was originally written [in late October, 2002] for a University course on The Writings of C.S. Lewis. It has been added to this blog to retain a record of my past thoughts.

Moving Forward

Revisiting my musings from 20 years ago has sparked a fresh wave of questions that I hope will guide me into some further exploration, to be articulated in future posts on this blog: 

What does it mean to surrender your life?
How does one surrender their life to Christ?
What types of sacrifice are required?

I'm thinking in terms of actual tangible action items... ways this concept can be applied in reality.

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