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.

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

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