Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Having It My Way - In Other Words

                     There are two kinds of people:  those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "all right then, have it your way."  C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is my favorite author and thus it pains me to have to say that on this one point, I disagree with him.

I would posit that there are not "two kinds of people" - but rather there is only one kind of person, a human one, and that any one of us may have chosen to be in either of these two positions at different times in our lives.

Jesus is the only person - both fully human and fully God - who could and did consistently, without fail, always say to the Father, "Thy will be done."

Much like the fast-food ad that encourages us to "have it your way", I have sometimes decided to do just that.  Not that I would have acknowledged it at the time, because we do have an ability to justify, disguise, and deny our own motives, even to ourselves.  That is why Jeremiah wrote, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?" 

Yep - been there, done that.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that when we turn around - repent -  and ask God for His will to be done, He forgives and restores.  Some of us only learn the hard way.

Where I do agree with the Lewis quote above is in the fact that we cannot be in both camps at the same time.  We are either striving daily to say (and act upon) "Thy will be done" - or we are actively walking away and God must respond with, "all right then, have it your way."  As Joshua said to the people - "Choose you this day whom you will serve."

That is the marvelous fact of God's love and grace - He does give us the choice.  As Jan Karon writes in her new book, In The Company of Others, God gives us free will in order that we may give it back to Him.  Someone asks, "Well, why give it back, since He gave it to us in the first place?"  Her response is classic.

"Because we don't know what to do with it."  On our own we will inevitably use our free will to make some wrong choices in life.  But when we give it back to Him, He then gives us the grace to make the right choices.

I love C.S. Lewis and have read nearly everything he ever wrote, some things multiple times.  But on this one point, as an old acquaintance of mine used to say, "I think he may have gotten a little tipped over."  He was human, after all.  Still, it is a very thought-provoking perspective, and has more truth in it than we might be comfortable with.       & & &
Today's In Other Words is hosted by Esthermay at The Heart of a Pastor's Wife.  She has some excellent comments about the will of God by decree and the will of God by command.  Please stop by.


  1. Interesting perspective that we cannot as human beings ever live out "Thy will be done."

    Yes. Jesus is the only one who did actually and perfectly LIVE it, but C.S. Lewis did use the word "say." :~) God never ever expects us to live a perfect life in an imperfect world, but simply a life fully surrendered to Him wherein we can say "Thy will be done" with every intention and desire to do our human-best!

    But the rest of your post does an excellent job of defending the thought that Lewis may have been "tipped over." LoL!! That JIS GRACE is what covers our human-ness makes ALL the difference.

    So happy to meet you here on IOW!
    Blessings to you!

    ~esthermay @The Heart of a Pastor's Wife

  2. I love it. Your words ring true. It does make more sense to think of it in terms of two possible paths that one person can be on. We're not one "kind" of person or another. Rather, we get to choose which path. Excellent post!

  3. Esthermay, thank you for the feedback. I enjoyed reading your post today.

    D.J. - Your own post on this quote touched me. Keep up the good writing.