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Piety Quotations

Self-Ownership

C.S. Lewis, “Christianity and Culture” in Christian Reflections

Finally, I agree with Brother Every that our leisure, even our play, is a matter of serious concern. There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.

C.S. Lewis, Letter to “Mrs Ashton”, 17 July 1953

The writer you quote was very good at the stage at wh. you met him: Now, as is plain, you’ve got beyond him. Poor boob – he thought his mind was his own. Never his own until he makes it Christ’s: up till then merely a result of heredity, environment, and the state of his digestion. I became my own only when I gave myself to Another.

Some years ago, the place where I worked hired some new temporaries, including a friendly man with a blue jacket who had been in the Army. He and I got along well, and we had some interesting conversation. I told him at one point the verse in Scripture which most reminded me of him was 2 Peter 2:14 –having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin. This co-worker once asked me if a statement he had heard were true, namely, that what happens in the bedroom is none of God’s business. I’ll let C.S. Lewis answer that question:

He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only insofar as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls. Let us make up our minds to it; there will be nothing “of our own” left over to live on, no “ordinary” life. (…) What cannot be admitted—what must exist only as an undefeated but daily resisted enemy—is the idea of something that is “our own,” some area in which we are to be “out of school,” on which God has no claim.

(C.S. Lewis, “A Slip of the Tongue” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses)

…ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body… (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)

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