‘Pipe’ And ‘Pencil’

“I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” ~ C.S. Lewis, On the Incarnation …

We often feel that practicing our faith should yield discernible results; that sitting down in reflection, reading a good book of devotion, or time spent in prayer will touch our hearts and minds. But what if “nothing happens?” What if we do not feel moved? Perhaps, it is then time to roll up our sleeves a bit, and get ourselves dirty in theological studies.

I tend to like to feel that my faith is something I can simply pick-up and carry with me whenever I like. However, C.S. Lewis is right; faith requires a steadfast devotion to studying it, understanding it, and living it throughout our lives. Just as saying that I have compassion for others is not the same thing as going out and caring for those in need and truly feeling that compassion, I must become an active participant in my faith if I wish to find my “heart sing.”

Time spent studying great religious works, in prayer or devotion, or performing any act that challenges our faith… adds tinder to the fireplace of our soul. Set aside some time each week to further your faith through studies and devotions. And do not be satisfied with simply reading the words–break out a “pipe and pencil” and work your way through it, asking yourself questions and spending time in deep thought and reflection. The effort you put forth will open up your heart. You will find yourself feeling happier and more fulfilled, for you will possess a deeper understanding of your faith, and answers to the questions you seek.

Spend at least 15 minutes reflecting on devotional texts today.

Questions to consider:

How easy is it for you to study topics you really enjoy? What have you gained from those studies?

Why do we tend to look at spending time in study of our faith as drudgery rather than opportunity?

How can “working our way through theology” offer us a more personal perspective?

For further thought:

“Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow.” ~ Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor


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