C.S. Lewis often causes me to stop, place the book down and ponder his writings more often than nearly any other writer I enjoy. In the second to last chapter of Mere Christianity, Lewis discusses the process of sanctification in the Christian life. Those who have decided to give their lives over to the lordship of Christ are being changed into new beings. Our character is being redeemed. But Lewis offers this question, "If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously 'nicer' than all non-Christians?" The reality is that we don't change over night, although some of us would like to and some of us would like others to :) God became a man (Jesus) to give his life so that we could be turned into his sons and daughters, "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...there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow...and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders...may even give it an awkward appearance."
Many would point at a Christ-follower and say that they don't see anything in his or her life that seems to reflect the character of loving God. This is fair, because thousands of Christians settle for less and resist the change that God may want to do in their lives. I'm often tempted to resist it. I don't want to get hung up on hypocrisy or luke-warm Christian living. I do want to get to Lewis' final point in the chapter. While it is the responsibility of Christians to love as he loved so that all men will know we are his disciples, ultimately, we are accountable for our own decisions in relation to eternity. Lewis says it this way: "What can you ever really know of other people's souls--of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands. If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him. You cannot put Him off with speculations about your next door neighbours or memories of what you have read in books. What will all that chatter and hearsay count (will you even be able to remember it?) when the anaesthetic fog which we call 'nature' or 'the real world' fades away and the Presence in which you have always stood becomes palpable, immediate, and unavoidable?"
A side note. If you are like me, and you grew up learning good morals, you may have often questioned how that feeds into your life as a Christian now and this process of God redeeming our character. Lewis says this, "If you are a 'nice' person--if virtue comes easily to you--beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God's gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being 'nice', you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous."