C.S. Lewis wrote the following in a corrective letter to his friend, the 78-year-old Don Giovanni Calabria [12/26/51; Letters, 3:152]:
. . . This emboldens me to say to you something that a layman ought scarcely to say to a priest nor a junior to a senior. (On the other hand, out of the mouth of babes; indeed, as once to Balaam, out of the mouth of an ass!) It is this: you write much about your own sins. Beware (permit me, my dearest Father, to say beware) lest humility should pass over into anxiety or sadness. It is bidden us to ‘rejoice and always rejoice.’ Jesus has cancelled the handwriting which was against us. Lift up our hearts!
Permit me, I pray you, these stammerings. You are ever in my prayers and ever will be.
3 thoughts on “Lift Up Our Hearts!”
Dear Mr. Reinke,
I thank you exceedingly for posting this excerpt. My soul has been suffering with the sight of my sin–especially that I have conducted myself in the past few days in seemingly godly ways for selfish motives. As Dr. Beeke told me, “If all the theological knowledge of the world is in your head–with pride–it becomes *worse* than useless.” So I was proud and selfish–and I am so grieved–so grieved that all the encouraging that I seem to have given to other people–and I do believe they were greatly encouraged–was all poison to my own spirit!! It is so, so, SO, SO humbling that the Lord can “work all things together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” even when one of His own children “builds up” another for the wrong reasons. What grace!! What almighty, sovereign, merciful grace!!!
Therefore I have been mourning over my sin all this morning, and when I read this excerpt, the Spirit lifted the burden of my sin so I could raise my head and see–not only my sin, but–Christ’s atonement and forgiveness!! I am acquitted! And I do rejoice!!
Thank you, sir. May the Lord bless you and continue to use you to encourage and enlighten His sheep as you strive to continue to be a faithful pastor to them. I covet your prayers.
River La Belle
The practice among SGM pastors of writing about and preaching on their own sins is one of their best distinctives.
River, thank you for this comment. I have been praying for you these past few days. It is so easy to take our eyes off the Savior, and that’s when we get into trouble. The daily ritual of the Christian — if I can use that term in a good sense — is to “consider Jesus” who is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 3:1). We are being shaped and molded and chiseled by him. Sin remains in us for a time, but there is far more grace in Christ than sin in us. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your heart will be filled to brimming out of generosity to Christ, never moreso than when we feel the weight of that defeated, but indwelling, enemy. In all things rejoice, and beware of all situations where there is no possibility for joy. Therein our eyes are off Jesus and we are in danger. Thanks for reading the blog! Tony