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Metaphorically Speaking

Imagine your boss is having a conversation with you about a problem with an order and tells you, “call the client and set up a meeting” but you think and think on what she must really mean because you don’t have their number on your desk or the calendar in front of you. You surmise that this must have been directed at someone else though you can’t figure out who.

Imagine your kitchen is on fire and it’s spreading. Your spouse, trapped on the other side, yells, “grab the fire extinguisher from the hall and put it out.” You’ve never used an extinguisher so you think he must mean something else. You’ve used the vacuum so you grab it because maybe that’s what he meant? Is fire extinguisher a metaphor for vacuum?

Sounds ridiculous, but we do the same in Christianity. The parts we like or can do on our own, we have little problem with (of course, we’re all good at different things so that becomes problematic). The parts we can’t conceive of or don’t understand, we decide must be metaphorical.

We whittle it down until the giant redwood becomes a tiny toothpick (that’s a metaphor), but it’s worthless for what it was intended to do.

C.S. Lewis offers a great example,

The ‘full treatment’ is full surrender, taking up our cross, dying to self, and being clothed with Christ as He lives through us. If we want to drown in metaphors while trying to keep a little bit of self intact, we can but it will fail at bringing us into  the heart of what God did through Jesus’ work of the cross and resurrection.

The process may be hard, but it is worth it to trust and follow Him. Our rationalizations and compartmentalization only serve to defeat us before we begin. We are not going to achieve His desired results without doing it His way. In fact, God is the only one who can rightly say, “it’s My way or the highway.”

Many who have decided Christianity doesn’t work have never tried Christianity.

What do you think? Have you fought this ‘metaphorical’ thinking? Why is it tempting to rationalize and water down what God has called us to be?


This is part of our book club discussion on Week 30 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 and be sure to check out the other entries. 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. Right with you… Following Christ is not easy… it will stretch us… we will be rebuked… we will experience difficulties… but it is well worth it.

    We must persevere in obedience to Him.

    • I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back, no turning back. Thanks Dusty.

  2. I know I’m guilty of this and in every example I can think of, the issue is that I’m fearing and not trusting God. So, again, it comes down to the simple (but not-so) question of: Do I Trust God Or Not?
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Not A Morning PersonMy Profile

    • I know! Such a simple question, but we make it so complicated. We all struggle with it to various degrees and at different times (another reason we need the support of His people). Thanks Sarah.

  3. Many times I’ve been guilty of this. It’s easier to hide behind metaphors 🙂
    Cindy Holman recently posted..We Like Sheep (From October 2010)My Profile

    • I know it’s the truth! I’ve done plenty of it myself. 🙂 Thanks Cindy.

  4. I think it’s part of our fallen flesh, to make excuses just like Adam did. “It was the women YOU gave me’s fault”!

    It’s our fallen heritage. The only way I know of to be revealed of ourselves is to seek him or, “draw nigh,” but that’s easier said than done isn’t it?

    Hard, but good thoughts.
    floyd recently posted..THE INTERSECTION OF LIFE AND DEATHMy Profile

    • Yeah, this doesn’t qualify as one of those fluffy posts I guess. 🙂 It’s great to have reminders. Thanks so much, Floyd.

  5. If he said be perfect…then be perfect!…

    Or a least try your very best through sweat, blood, and tears!

    Jesus knows our hearts if we are really Trying….or just taking advantage of Grace….!!!!!!

    Grace is not an excuse to keep sinning…
    arny recently posted..The Analogy of the Ring #2: Hobbit HeartsMy Profile

    • And the only (effective) way to try is to turn it over and give it all to Him. You are so right--true grace transforms, it doesn’t excuse. Thanks Arny!

  6. “… I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God…” Exodus 9:30
    Without belief, there is no fear, without fear, there is no belief. Having no fear of GOD, you can rationalize just about anything when it comes to the bible. Watering the WORD down borders unbelief.
    As you say “…it’s My way or the highway…” with GOD, A or B, there is no C.
    C is of our own making to justify our sins.
    Ingrid recently posted..Thanksgiving…My Profile

    • That is the long and short of it, Ingrid. Thanks so much. I don’t want to live justifying my sin and missing out on the wonders of grace…

  7. I think we default to labeling parts of the bible as metaphorical that we just don’t want to live out. It’s easier that way, but it doesn’t mean it’s right.

    Great post, Jason
    Jason Vana recently posted..God of the ImpossibleMy Profile

    • Our culture and society pushes us to do it, but like you said, it’s still isn’t right. Thanks Jason.

  8. To answer your question of why water done what He’s spoken….simply put --flesh--still very much alive, not enough faith to truly and completely trust & obey, fear, I could go on and on. I’ve experienced them all. BUT the good news is that even when we find ourselves in one or all of the just mentioneds, He sees us and if we reach out in our faithlessness, He responds to us just where we are. He’s a good, good God.

    • And it’s a love that pulls us up and changes us. Thanks so much, Sherry.

  9. I love how C.S. Lewis puts things! Simple and to the point!

    I am thankful that I don’t have to live the Christian life on my own. I am thankful for the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Compassion counteracts apathyMy Profile

    • The more we try to live it ourselves, the more we see it’s impossible. If there were another way, He would have showed us or thought of it, but we still think maybe we’re the exception. Glad we don’t have to and can refuse to live in that way and rely on Him and His boundless grace. Thanks Kevin.

  10. it truly is a jolly sight harder to learn how to fly while still in the egg.
    nance marie recently posted..mere christianity . by c.s.LewisMy Profile

    • I love that picture. 🙂 Thanks Nance.

  11. It seems we are constantly having to move the shield of faith to protect some other area. I know sometimes I forget it’s mobile, and get stung, and think I have to find a second shield. That somehow it’s up to me…
    It seems using the shield of faith means surrendering to Him and the idea He is enough. 95% of me believes He is enough, but the enemies arrows are well aimed at the other 5%… (okay, maybe 80/20, but you know what I mean…)
    Helen recently posted..Committees for ChristMy Profile

    • No, I know exactly what you mean. Such a good point, Helen. He gives us armor, but we have to use it. The enemy doesn’t respect anyone’s pacifist views in this war. He is out to steal, kill, and destroy and we have to be watchful. God is so good to give us His word and truth to stand on AND fight with. I know He routes the enemy probably a thousand times a day in ways I never see, but there are times He wants me to fight and use what He’s given me. Thanks Helen.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dusty Rayburn - RT @br8kthru: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/MedHWsIh
  2. Sarah Salter - RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/xXDnBV9O
  3. frank friedl - RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/OFXecnbZ // wow, convicting!
  4. Jason Stasyszen - Metaphorically Speaking, book club discussion today on Connecting to Impact http://t.co/adkI2Zzb
  5. Jason Stasyszen - RT @sarahmsalter: RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/ftg68OKh <<thank you both :)
  6. Jason Stasyszen - RT @fathafrank: RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/ftg68OKh // wow, convicting! <<thanks for the RT Frank!
  7. Jason Stasyszen - New Blog Post: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/NNX9iSte
  8. Glynn Young - Metaphorically Speaking, new post by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact http://t.co/2fCsq5Bc
  9. Glynn Young - I am not content...are you? by @dlrayburn http://t.co/2fCsq5Bc
  10. Jason Stasyszen - RT @kevinmartineau: RT @br8kthru: Metaphorically Speaking http://t.co/ftg68OKh <<thanks Kevin :)
  11. Jason Stasyszen - RT @gyoung9751: Metaphorically Speaking, new post by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact http://t.co/NDpRa4Nq <<thanks so much, Glynn!

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