February 19, 2009

Peter Kreeft tells this story about C.S. Lewis in his book, Christianity for Modern Pagans.

C. S. Lewis was asked by a media interviewer during World War II what he would think if Germans got the atom bomb, dropped one on England, and he saw it falling right on top of him. “If you only had time for one last thought, what would it be?” Lewis replied that he would look up at the bomb, stick out his tongue at it, and say, “Pooh! You’re only a bomb. I’m an immortal soul.”*

Whether a bomb drops on us or not, none of us are getting out of this physical life alive unless Jesus returns first. Our confidence in life cannot be in ourselves, our finances, our health, or anything else rooted in this world alone.

That clearly is the message of scripture. Christians are victorious, but it is because of Christ.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39, ESV

The person who is in Christ cannot be defeated by anything that life throws at him. Defeat can only occur if we give up our faith (see Romans 11:17-24).

The assurance of victory in Christ is incredibly liberating. Life is going to throw “bombs” at us one way or another. Yet, I must confess that my first inclination may not be to stick out my tongue at an atom bomb. Christians may have to combat fear with faith. Why is this so?

Christian living involves faith in God and Christ. The ones in whom we trust are able to deliver us. If I focus on myself, however, my confidence is likely to waver. I’m only too aware that I have flaws and weaknesses. It is at those moments I need to reassure my heart by focusing on God. My boast is in the Lord, not in myself. My confidence is in the Lord, not in myself.

Christian living also involves the testing of our faith. That should lead to endurance. Endurance leads to character, and character leads to hope (see Romans 5:3-5). In other words, as we go through the struggles of life and keep our faith in the process, our faith grows stronger. We grow in our understanding through experience that the one in Christ cannot be defeated.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1, ESV

*Peter Kreeft, Christianity for Modern Pagans, p. 56.