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The Lie of Self Help - C.S. Lewis

Updated: Dec 3, 2022


Video from Sea Harp


"Now, here I've got a rather difficult thing to say. On the one hand it isn't true that we shall lose our personal differences by letting Christ take us over. On the other hand I don't think Christ can take us over as long as we're bothering about what will happen to our personality. Can I take the first point first? If a person didn't know about salt, wouldn't he think that anything with such a strong taste would kill the taste of all the other things in any dish you put it into? We know that, as a matter of fact, it brings out their real taste. Well, it's rather like that with Christ. When you’ve completely given up yourself to His personality, you will then, for the first time in your life, be developing into a real person. He made the whole world! He invented—as an author invents characters in a book—all the different men that you and I were intended to be. Our “real selves” are, so to speak, waiting for us in Him. What I call “my self” now is hardly a person at all. It's mainly a meeting place for various natural forces, desires, and fears, etc.—some of which come from my ancestors, and some from my education, some perhaps from devils. The self you are really intended to be is something that lives not from nature but from God. At the beginning of these talks, I said there were “personalities in God.” Well I go further now: there are no real personalities anywhere else. I mean no full, complete personality. It's only when you allow yourself to be drawn into His life that you turn into a true person. But on the other hand, it's just no good at all going to Christ for the sake of developing a fuller personality. As long as that's what you're bothering about, you haven't begun, because the very first step toward getting a “real self” is to forget about the self. It will come only if you're looking for something else. That holds, you know, even for early matters. Even in literature or art, no man who cares about originality will ever be original. It's the man who's only thinking about doing a good job, or telling the truth who becomes really original—and doesn't notice it. Even in social life, you'll never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking what sort of impression you make. That principle runs all through life, from the top to the bottom. Give up yourself, and you'll find your real self. Lose your life, and you will save it. Submit to death, submit with every fiber of your being, and you'll find eternal life. Look for Christ and you will get Him, and with Him, everything else thrown in. Look for yourself, and you'll get only hatred, loneliness, despair, and ruin." from video introduction


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