C.S. Lewis on Niceness & Transforming a Horse into a Winged Creature
“Niceness” — wholesome, integrated personality — is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power, to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up “nice”; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls.
A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world — and might even be more difficult to save.
–For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine.”
“God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game.
But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders — no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings — may even give it an awkward appearance.” (pp.183-84) Mere Christianity.
The Flying Horse from L.Willows
Last week, our Pastor, Tom Holliday repeated the challenge “Do you want to live like a “Flying Horse”? Really? How are you going to do that?”
I loved the image of a Flying Horse! He told the story of the C.S. Lewis quote weeks before. I was intrigued. He dared us to live like Flying Horses. Could we be challenged to live with radically transformed hearts? In lives that soared beyond and above fences that we had not even dreamed lifted and towards heights far beyond and above what our imagined “ceiling” was?
Are you sensing how it captured my heart? I even turned it into a song. (privately) Enjoy my passion. The image of a flying horse, of being transformed into one – made me thoroughly filled with joy.
We all need to lift off – to grow wings. We need to become Flying Horses.
What does that mean?
The horse in the story is us as we move through spiritual transformation. More, it is about Miraculous Living and how to overcome hindrances by redemption. We can only Fly through the power of Christ in us. His Spirit is the agent of our transformation. His Heavenly Father, our God draws us towards Himself. He sent His son to live amongst us and drew him back to the Heavenly Places, calling us lovingly to rise from the fallen- become the ‘new man’, the redeemed, grow “wings” and answer His Call.
Lewis speaks about the hindrances within each of us that we face when we try to fly using “other means”. We ask for power to rise above.
We try to be kinder, nicer more pleasant people seeking all means of adapting to fit this world. We “work” at it. We depend on our own ability to improve our status in this world. We keep trying to improve the status of being kinder and continuing to “better ourselves”, gaining ground of status; similar to a horse in a race horizontally. Yet Lewis suggests a better way. Let the horse grow wings.
There is only one way to grow Wings. We become a New Creation.
He describes the awkward stage when the wings are still growing. At this stage, when the wings are just beginning to grow, they are like “lumps on the shoulders”. No one could even tell that one day they will be wings. I get that lumpy shoulder stage. How many can relate to that? Spiritual transformation, breaking through to the “Lift Off” can be experienced in many stages of joy, challenge, quest, trust, hope, effort, trial, and joy again.
2 Corinthians 5:17: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
Inevitably, we become witnesses to the old, everything that ‘becomes old’ in ourselves and in our environment- experiencing a form of death. It starts to pass away as we ourselves become a new creation. The work of Christ “works” in us. Our work ceases to “work”. We surrender to Him, our lives surrender and we trust in him, completing the work that He began in us with the gift of Grace.
Trust in God allows Miracles to Take Flight.
When we trust in Christ, we begin to learn to Fly. We become Flying Horses.
We must trust in him to complete the work he began in us as he prepares for the coming day, new creations in a new heaven and earth.
What forms does that trust take? What does it look like?
Trust happens inside of an intimate relationship. It is honest. When your heart is honest before God, it can relate in an intimate and trusting way. It is the ability to form a two-way dynamic. There are many examples of Trusting God in Scripture.
Look for the examples of the prophets in the Old Testaments and the apostles in the New Testament. I love Moses in Exodus. What do you find? Trust in a relationship requires honesty, listening, and humility. Are there more qualities that you notice? Do we need perseverance? How is trust built? What is it built upon?
- Learn to form an honest dialogue with God. Seek Him out as your most important Consultant and Source of Wisdom and Discernment. He Is.
- Bring your heart to God and ask Him to search it. Ask for help knowing that you do not have the ability to “see” your own heart. He will answer you. Let Him lead you.
- Pray. Seek God in prayer as the most important part of your life. It is the most intimate relationship to cultivate in life.
- Find God in Scripture. Know Him through His Word. He is there. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring it to your heart by praying before reading.
- Seek God’s guidance and wisdom in all things. Let God lead you in life. Know that He sees the details as well as the whole, the before and the after. Listen.
- Trust in His Promises (Scripture). Keep them with you all the time.
- Keep encouragement and Encouragers near to you all the time. Notice that He places this near to you. Recognize it and express gratitude.
- Express and cultivate Joy. Generate Joy in your heart and in your surroundings.
See and become God’s Goodness and God’s Love. Though we fall short of His Glory, we glimpse it.
We are Trustees of His Goodness.
1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Become A Flying Horse. Having glimpsed His Glory – Leap Towards It.
We long for Christ. That longing is one that propels the heart with such a surge, it can make “a horse fly”, it can change the most ordinary life into one that is extraordinary.
Prayer that was dry becomes vivid with the Presence of God. Hearts that were lost are found. Broken places are healed. Revival becomes a word with new meaning. It starts to shake the foundation of self like a wondrous new birth. Something winged emerges. A joy that cannot be suppressed takes hold even in the midst of challenges. The Longing is like nectar that grows so sweet, life seems dim without it. It, The Promise of His Holy Blessing and Return becomes Hope, a Hope deeper and more glorious than any other.
Fly. Fly. Fly. (still singing)
© 2019 Linda Willows