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.