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I Have It on Good Authority

From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Mr. Lewis goes on to say that though he had never seen New York, he believed it existed because he knew and had heard from people who had been there.

The opposition to ‘authority’ we see everywhere in the world really breaks down when you look at it in this light. In fact, he goes on to say,

From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

History, intellectual pursuits, and so much of life and what we believe about it is determined by those who are authorities in our lives, those we trust. If someone else didn’t tell us about these things, we wouldn’t know.

What bothered me as I read this is that I claim God to be the ultimate authority in how I live my life, but my thoughts and actions prove differently.

If you looked at my life closely, you could certainly draw the conclusion that

  • I believe I need to look out for myself and behave selfishly in any number of areas
  • I believe that compromise is sometimes justified
  • I believe that people give better advice than God’s word or the direction of His Spirit
  • I believe that pleasing people is more important than pleasing God

This is not to say I’m some irredeemable person with no value. Believe me, I am dealing with the false humility. I just mean to say that I am bothered that instead of taking God at His word after He’s loved me, faithfully cared and provided, washed me and redeemed me–I think my own feelings or friends are more trustworthy. Feel that? That’s a punch in the gut.

I could also get into the fact that it bothered me more people don’t see the change in my life and take that to heart that God will do the same for them, but that’s probably another post all together.

What do think about this statement on authority? What  ‘authority’ do you give too much credence to in your life?


This is the part of our book club discussion on Week 10 of Mere Christianity (disclosure) by C.S. Lewis. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it.  If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.


22 Comments

  1. Unfortunately the “authority” I bow to way more than I should is…me. When I bow to God’s authority I find freedom, when I bow to mine…not so much. Good thoughts bro’

    “The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only.”
    -- A. W. Tozer

    • Yeah, you’re not alone there, Jay. And that’s a powerful quote. Thank you.

  2. There are a lot of different paths you can take with the subject of authority but I do like Lewis’ perspective.

    I think I give too much credence to the authority of those that don’t know me intimately. Sometimes I am overly concerned on what people think is best for me. I need to rest in the fact that God’s authority is bigger than anyone else’s, including my own and those that DO know me.
    Tony Alicea recently posted..Emotional JusticeMy Profile

    • I know what you mean! It’s like a stranger can have more sway with us and it doesn’t make any sense. Something messed up with that! I’m guilty too. Great point--thanks Tony.

  3. I agree with Jay and Tony… I give too much credence to my own authority and to the thoughts of others when I should focus my intent on the one who has all authority: God.

    This post is a great reminder of how our lives should be oriented and lived out.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..The Grace of Christ Covers Our WrongMy Profile

    • Thank you, Dusty. I appreciate you. 🙂

  4. Now that Oprah is gone, I don’t expect this to be a problem anymore.

    KIDDING! :-0

    I suppose doctors who say certain things are impossible..Nothing is impossible for God.

    • How will we ever make it without Oprah? The world mourns. 🙂

      And I’m with you, nothing is impossible for our God! He loves us so much. Thanks Helen.

  5. These words get me, because it’s something that is a big struggle in my own life:

    “I believe that pleasing people is more important than pleasing God.”

    Thanks be to God, I am redeemable too. He loves me, despite the messes that I make of life.

    • It sounds so terrible when we say it like that, doesn’t it? We want to sugarcoat it and make it sound not that bad, but we’re choosing something over Jesus. I know He is able to transform us by His grace! And I am thankful.

      Thank you, Jennifer.

  6. I’m not even sure how to describe this, but I think I’ve found I place a lot of authority on what I “think” the Bible says. Meaning, I’ve grown up in a Christian home, been around the Bible forever, and so I have a lot of ideas about what the Bible says. I then go to read the Bible and it completely busts some of the things I’ve previously believed. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I just think we assume the Bible says a lot of stuff, but since we don’t read and meditate on it a ton, we don’t really know.

    • Just to clarify -- I don’t mean any big picture theology. I just think it’s easy to give common answers without truly having read it from the Bible ourselves.
      Matt recently posted..Are We Content Plus a Brilliant Chambers QuoteMy Profile

      • I knew what you meant! Thanks again. 🙂

    • I understand where you’re coming from. I like order in my life and I used to disregard or shove aside anything that didn’t fit with either what I was taught or what I thought I was taught or knew. Then somewhere along the line, I started embracing it. I wanted to know what I truly believed instead of what everyone else told me. Sometimes it lined up, sometimes it was a little different, and sometimes it was vastly different. We do all need to get a grasp on the Word ourselves and we all need the Holy Spirit. Thanks Matt. Great thoughts.

  7. Far too often I trust my own authority as well. Is that past of our fallen human condition? It seems the thorn in our sides that we fight daily…
    HisFireFly recently posted..He- not meMy Profile

    • Well, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised if we are called to daily die to ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him. It’s the only way. Thanks so much, Karin.

  8. We rely on the familiar — ourselves — even when we know the “familiar” is flawed. Good post, Jason, and thanks for hosting this week.
    Glynn recently posted..The Worst Century EverMy Profile

    • This is so true. Thank you, Glynn. It’s a pleasure!

  9. I am a Roman Catholic at birth but grew up in a baptist school. When I was in college, I decided not to rely much on religion, instead, I go directly to God. I go to any Christian church but I rely directly to Him. No ceremonies whatsoever. I think that’s how I made God as my authority in life though I can’t deny that I am guilty of some things you mentioned too.

    • Calli, I understand what you’re saying. God gives us spiritual authority in our lives though because we can’t know everything ourselves and they can encourage and strengthen in so many ways (there are lots of Scriptures talking about this). God is always the highest and most revered authority, but He also created us to live in community for a variety of reasons. It’s not that it’s easy, but He pours out incredible grace.

      Thanks so much for your comment! Blessings to you.

  10. This stems from exactly what Adam and Eve fell from. They put themselves in place of God. We always do that, we always will do it.

    That is why He gave his one and only son for us and our sins. It is a struggle daily to forget ourselves, but something we should strive for.
    Matthew Snider recently posted..Google Analytics And High Bounce RatesMy Profile

    • Absolutely! Thank you Matthew.

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  4. Jason Stasyszen - RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: I Have It on Good Authority http://t.co/O8SWFJO <<thanks so much, Dusty!
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  6. Jason Stasyszen - RT @helenatrandom: RT @br8kthru: I Have It on Good Authority http://t.co/wAHQPQD <<appreciate it, Helen Joy!
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  9. Jason Stasyszen - RT @hisfirefly: RT @br8kthru: I Have It on Good Authority http://t.co/YqDEUDy <<thanks so much, Karin!
  10. Jason Stasyszen - Previously on Connecting to Impact: I Have It on Good Authority http://is.gd/JNwnCW #archives

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