Today we read the January 30th selection from A Year with C.S. Lewis. If you'd like to follow along, you can purchase this book from bn.com for only $2.99 as an e-book.
Lewis continues his thought from yesterday. And in doing so, he betrays a very natural, but very fundamental misunderstanding about what God is all about. I don't fault him for this... we all have very fundamental misunderstandings about what God is about. And Lewis is in good company – he expresses the same reluctance shown by St Augustine, who famously said “Lord, give me chastity... but not yet.”
Most of us humans have a lurking suspicion in the back of our minds that God wants to deprive us of enjoyment. We think, probably based on the tsk tsk remonstrances from well-meaning Christians, that anything we do that we really enjoy doing and causes us great pleasure must be wrong.
Well... let's look at this logically. God created beauty. He made pleasure. He gave us a variety of delicious foods and drinks, which we are REQUIRED to consume daily in order to live. Seems like He not only WANTS us to enjoy our lives, He demands it!
And then there's sex. So many people think that sex is a bad or dirty thing. It's actually such a wonderful, high, holy thing that God wants us to protect it within the safety of a loving marriage relationship. Sex was designed to be enjoyed. It is arguably the most enjoyable thing a human experiences. And God not only made it that way, He designed it so that we MUST experience it in order for our species to continue. Once again... God demands that we enjoy our lives!
Studies show that giving to others, whether it is time, money, or service, brings us great joy. And that revenge brings us misery. And yet... the examples that Lewis gives of the ways that God might “deprive him of joy” are “requiring” him to give generously, to tear up a mean, vengeful letter he'd written, and to give up cigarettes. Which, by the way, sadly ended up killing him at the young age of only 65. The things God demands of us are to make us happy! The things He asks us to stop are hurting us.
He is looking out for you. He wants your life to be full of wonders. If we insist on sinning (and who doesn't?), we are in effect insisting on adding 2 plus 2 and getting 5. When if we would actually learn our math correctly (and stop “sinning”, which means making mistakes or missing the mark), we could be doing physics. And going to the moon.
Thank You, God, for looking out for our own joy – even when we try so hard to be miserable.
ps here's a link of 8 things you can do to be happier right now.