Pretending to be righteous

C.S. Lewis wrote this about the “Lord’s Prayer”:

Its very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean quite frankly that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ…
…Why? What is the good of pretending to be what you are not? Well, even on the human level, you know, there are two kinds of pretending. There is the bad kind, where the pretence is there instead of a real thing…
…But there is also a good kind, where the pretence leads up to the real thing… Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups–playing soldiers, playing shop…

Lewis keeps this in perspective as he continues his explanation. He goes on to say that this game works only if you are already becoming what you are pretending to be. Those children will indeed grow up to be soldiers and shopkeepers, because they already have it in them.

Lewis says that putting on the New Man works for us because we have caught the “good infection.” We are becoming imbued with the life of the Son of God. Like when Anastasia pretended to be herself until one day she realized she wasn’t pretending. We are truly becoming something we never could have become if not for the indwelling life of God’s Spirit.

First we learn that we cannot do what God requires of us. We cannot achieve the heights to which He calls us. We are fallen people who strive for self-promotion and self-protection in everything we attempt. His ways are higher than ours.

But then we realize that this wholly other-than-us has come to dwell within us, making us His very own progeny. That changes everything. We can hardly imagine what we are becoming, but we do know that we are somehow becoming like Him. (Just check out 1 John 3:2 and 4:17)

From time to time I find myself wanting to do thing that are not consistent with who I am. Who I was, maybe, but not who I am. Certainly not who I am becoming. Sometimes I stop myself and remember that I am meant for so much better. Like Piper says, we can learn to prefer righteousness. I really think we can. We will paradoxically encounter our own fallenness in the process a thousand times over again. But these moments remind us that the new life that we claim does not originate with ourselves. It’s an alien righteousness, come to inhabit this earth in subtle ways until that time comes when the fullness of who He is can be revealed.

So don’t forget that we are meant for higher things. Why miss out on the foretaste of something so incredible? Becoming a son of God! There’s no higher fortune on this tiny little planet.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Pretending to be righteous”

  1. J. Samuel Thomas Says:

    Good stuff, man.

    Reminds me of an idea that I have for some T-shirts….

  2. Rachel Starr Thomson Says:

    I’ve always liked that quote from Lewis. Your line about Anastasia is highly quotable itself :).

    The amazing thing to me is that it’s not just us pretending… God is in the mix, actively “conforming us to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Amazing.

    Rachel
    author of Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord’s Prayer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: