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Words to Live By: Reflections and Quotes of C.S. Lewis

Updated on July 8, 2012

This is a collection of quotes and memorable words given to us by Mr. C.S Lewis, author of many Christian and children books. Many consider the wisdom he shared with us words to live by. The man's intellectual knowledge, style, wit, humor, and humbleness are qualities many of us wish we possessed. Yet, it was the words he shared with us that have helped so many better understand their existence and place in a world full of questions.

My hope is that these words mean as much to you as they have to me.

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality." - The Screwtape Letters

Whatever virtues we seek to have in our lives, courage is the thing that will ultimately allow us to obtain and perfect them. Do you wish to be an honest person? You must have the courage to speak the truth when tempted to hide it. Making the decision we know to be the right one requires courage when we are tempted to take an easier or more lucrative direction. Courage means doing what is right regardless of the circumstances. It is the thing which allows us to build the virtues within us.

"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal" - The Weight of Glory

If we are Christians, we must remember that all people we encounter in life are not "mere mortals" They will in the end, realize one of two possibilities. They will either pass into eternal glory, or into everlasting horrors. Lewis tells us that we must remember that everyday we are in someway progressing people down one or the other of these roads. We must remember this and treat others with this in mind.

"However much I might dislike my own cowardice, or conceit or greed, I go on loving myself. There has never been the slightest difficulty about it" - Mere Christianity

Lewis is attempting to tell us what it means to "love your neighbor as you love yourself." How do we love ourselves? We do not always like the choices we make and often feel bad about doing them, but we always forgive ourselves and forget the matter eventually. We do not hold a grudge with ourselves. This is the way we ought to love others. We must forgive them and go on loving them im spite of the things they may do or say to us. It is not easy, but nothing worth doing usually is.

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil"

When a person does not learn good morals and values while obtaining an education, it may be hard for that person to not misuse what he learned for things only to benefit himself. How often have we seen successful individuals let greed or prosperity overtake them. We must remember that no matter how high our education, we must not let it turn us into the sort of person who uses it for things that may do harm or injustice to others or ourselves.

"I believe Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

Being a Christian allows us to put things into perspective. We cannot see Christ, but his words help us understand the world and the questions we often face therein. It is the light that we cannot see the source of, but that guides our path in the world. With our Christianity, we understand all else.

"If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply unselfishness. But if you asked any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. - The Weight of Glory

This idea suggest that negative ideology has replaced positive. We must not think that we ought to go through life abstaining from any sort of pleasures. That is not the point of a Christian life. We must instead look for opportunities to ensure that we pass love onto others. Seeking joy for others, not going without our own joy, is the main point being made in this suggestion.

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say." - Mere Christianity

Lewis goes on to explain that there is no way Jesus could have said the things he did and still have been considered simply a great moral teacher. If a man claimed to be God, he would either be a raving lunatic, or who he said he was. Because of his claim to be God, there is no way to say he was simply a good moral teacher. He has not left the option open to us. He is to be either loved or hated.

"I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity."

Christianity is not a means to end all of our problems. Not one apostle that chose to follow Jesus did not encounter an even harder life afterward. We must understand that our Christianity is a truth, not a solution to a difficult life. People who expect pure peace when accepting Christ will be unpleasantly surprised to know they are getting pushed to the front lines. If we have not accepted Christ, Satan need not deal with us. If we have, we must accept his assaults as a reality and fight back.

"We do not merely want to see beauty, though God knows even that is bounty enough. We want something else, which can hardly be put into words. We want to pass into the beauty we see."

Looking at something beautiful, be it a scenic landscape, a piece of art, or music, we often get feelings of longing that last only for moments. We are caught up into a mindset of joy and mystery. We are intoxicated with the feeling that quickly fades away. God knows that at present we see but a mere image of eternal life and glory by these glimpses he gives us. However, Lewis goes on to say, "but all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it shall not always be so. One day, God willing, we shall get in"


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