Editor's note:

In his wonderfully clear, entirely inimitable, and slyly witty way, C.S. Lewis calls us ever deeper into relationship with the Triune God in this excerpt that closes out Mere Christianity. Here he asks us to consider that we will only find our unique, irreplicable selves in Christ—and that the life we lose for his sake will only be the faint imitation of the “real, new” life we find in him.

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from Mere Christianity

At the beginning I said there were Personalities in God. I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most “natural” men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.

But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all.

The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are
making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all
life from top to bottom.

Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will
ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

We're glad you're here!

Helping people like you abide with Jesus is why we post resources like this one every weekday. Always ad-free, Renovaré is supported by people who know soul-care is vital. Would you join us with a micro-donation?

Give $1/week >

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. New York: Touchstone, 1996 (and various other editions). This excerpt reprinted here via DACC.edu.