If you’re on any kind of social media these days, you probably see a lot of “wisdom” floating around – inspirational quotes, encouraging stories, statements of “truth.” I noticed the other day that these are really popular right now. Words set to a pleasant background picture, talking about one of many life lessons we all should be remembering. In the big picture, I don’t really see any harm in these things, They usually tend to be positive, uplifting, encouraging messages. And many of them, intentional or not, are expressed with different takes on words that Jesus probably spoke at one point or another. It wasn’t until I came across, ironically, another quote online, that I stopped to think about these messages.
Namely: C.S. Lewis. It said “God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn…” After doing a little looking around, it seems that this really is a quote from Lewis, from his book Mere Christianity. The more I thought about it I realized that there are many sources I go to for “fuel” to get through some of life’s challenges – or just the day to day grind. And I will admit I’ve put a little too much stock in some of those trite, inspirational words I spoke of earlier. And I think I know why I do that.
They’re easy. They apply to everyone. They give a generic kind of comfort that sometimes God’s words don’t. If someone is going through a great loss, or a heartbreaking change in their life, words from God will bring comfort but they also may bring a challenge. They frequently ask me to look at my motives, consider my heart, and sometimes show me that I’m trying to run the show. Contrived messages of self-empowerment and self-reliance can give us the false impression that “everything is going to be ok” and to just keep on doing what we’re doing (a generalization, I’m sure). A lot of people are pasting those messages on their respective walls or pages, displayed as statements of their identity.
But the Lewis quote reminded me that the only thing that ever really does fuel me is God’s word. It’s what is behind the words that makes the biggest difference. Expecting to hear from Him in His Word is different from searching online for inspiring, uplifting quotes that have no roots. Those things lift my spirits temporarily, or remind me of an overall truth, but I’m always brought back to the source for the real fuel. And truthfully, all that other stuff is usually just distilled from God’s word anyway, so why not just go straight to the source?
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Proverbs 4:6