I was given the book Remembering C.S. Lewis (ed. James Como) last Christmas. I’m just now getting to the book and, so far, am thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a book written by those who knew him. Biographical? Yes. A biography? No. Lewis intrigues me. He is easily in my top five favorite authors. This post, however, is not a review of Como’s book (though, I would recommend it to Lewis enthusiasts!). I’m more interested in a comment he made to one of the sketch writers.
A.C. Harwood records Lewis making this statement, “I was not born to be free – I was born to adore and obey.” Wow. Even now as I attempt to write my thoughts, I’m speechless. Could there be a more orthodox statement concerning the purpose of humanity outside the biblical corpus? Modern society idolizes freedom. From the earliest school years, young impressionable minds are told “You are free to be whatever you wish to be.” But, does this idealistic freedom exist? Freedom without limits seems like a wonderful idea, but it is an idea nonetheless.
I believe Lewis is right. Isaiah 43:7 says man was created for the glory of God. Man was created to glorify God. What does it mean to glorify God? Can I glorify God by operating according to my own standards so as to fulfill my own desires? Can I glorify God by doing anything else than adoring and obeying him? I don’t think so.
Why did God create? Certainly not because he was lonely. God existed (exists and will forever exist) in a perfect communal relationship within the God-head between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, three distinct persons existing in perfect love, submission, holiness, all in perfect community (see Mt. 28:18-20; John 14-17; Phil. 2; Acts 5; etc.) Certainly not because he needed anything. Paul says in his sermon in Acts 17, “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Why? For his glory (Isa. 43:7). Humanity exists to adore and obey.
Like Lewis, I too am not “born to be free – I am born to adore and obey.” I’ve seen what my freedom brings about. It’s not pretty. Adoration and obedience is the call of the Christian. Adoration, though, naturally leads to obedience. As you and I come to see the beauty and glory of the risen Christ more clearly, wouldn’t obedience naturally follow. As our eyes are taken off the things of this world and onto the glorified Christ, would we not walk more towards him?
I end with Paul in Philippians 3. Paul seemed to live out Lewis’ statement. Paul writes (italics and insertions mine), “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (adoration), for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith inChrist—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (obedience, Lk 14:25-35), and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
Yes, Lewis, we were born to adore and obey.