Book Review: Mere Christianity (Book 4, Chapter 7: Let’s Pretend)

Book 4, Chapter 7: Let’s Pretend

Lewis talked about theology in this book (Book 4): What God is (His nature) and what He wants from us, or what He wants us to do. So far, in the previous chapters, Lewis has shown that, with respect to God’s nature, He is three-Persons in one God; that He is eternal or timeless (He has always existed); and that there’s only one Son. With respect to what God wills for us, Lewis explained that God wants to transform us into persons like Himself — truly sons (and daughters) of God, and not merely His creatures. In this chapter, Lewis admonishes us to start pretending that we are actually already sons of God. Slowly and surely, as we pray regularly and as we live out our faith, Jesus will help us become “little Christs”.

I find Lewis’s advice of “good pretense” very helpful. That is the first step to becoming Christ-like: to first pretend that we are like Jesus, even though we aren’t yet like Him. Another step is to recognize how sinful we really are, and how far we fall short in God’s eyes. In truth, we cannot change ourselves into “little Christs” on our own. Only God can help us do that. So, it’s required of us that we surrender ourselves to Him so that He can start working with and through us.

It was tempting for me to think that Jesus is just somewhere “out there” (in Heaven) listening to my prayers whenever I make them; that He is distant. It’s good to be reminded that Jesus actually is beside us every time we pray to Him. Remember that He is not constrained by space and time because He is the Creator of space and time, so He can be “present” beside each and every one of us every time we kneel and direct our thoughts to Him. He always hears our prayers, even though we may not feel that He is there.

I like these quotes:

“We must be thankful to all the people who have helped us, we must honor them and we must love them. But never, never pin your whole faith on any human being: not if he is the best and wisest in the whole world.”

“And now we begin to see what it is that the New Testament is always talking about. It talks about Christians ‘being born again’; it talks about them ‘putting on Christ’; about Christ ‘being formed in us’; about our coming to ‘have the mind of Christ’.

“Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out—as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Mere Christianity (Book 4, Chapter 7: Let’s Pretend)

  1. I love what I’ve read of C.S. Lewis so far. Thanks for this review, and I’ll look forward to reading about the other chapters.

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