I’m on record as asserting that C.S. Lewis is the most quotable Christian writer in the history of the modern church (although I will allow that Charles Spurgeon is also a good contender for this title). Earlier this year I shared five of my favorite Charles Spurgeon quotes, and now that our C.S. Lewis Daily devotional has been up and running for a while, it’s time to do the same with the eminently quotable Mr. Lewis.
Here, then, are five great quotes from C.S. Lewis. All of these are drawn from the C.S. Lewis Daily devotional here at Bible Gateway.
1. C.S. Lewis on knowing our own sin
“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.” — from Mere Christainity
2. C.S. Lewis on the sins of our youth
“We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself, recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in boyhood as if they were no concern of the present speaker’s, and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. The guilt is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ: if we have repented these early sins we should remember the price of our forgiveness and be humble.” — from The Problem of Pain
3. C.S. Lewis on sexual temptation
“We must learn by experience to avoid either trains of thought or social situations which for us (not necessarily for everyone) lead to temptations. Like motoring—don’t wait till the last moment before you put on the brakes but put them on, gently and quietly, while the danger is still a good way off.” —from a personal letter to a friend
4. C.S. Lewis on happiness
“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” —from Mere Christianity
5. C.S. Lewis on knowing God
“When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others—not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.” —from Mere Christianity
6. (Secret bonus quote!) C.S. Lewis on the present moment
“Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.” —from The Weight of Glory
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