“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.” – C. S. Lewis
“If you have to visit infected places, it may help you to ward off disease if you yourself are vigorous and full of health. The best protection against surrounding evil will be the cultivation of a right state of heart and life, a continual growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.” – Charles Spurgeon
“I am glad that there is some trouble in being a Christian, for it has become a very common thing to profess to be one. If I am right, it is going to become a much less common thing for a person to say “I am a Christian.” There will come times when sharp lines will be drawn. Some of us will help draw them if we can. The problem is that people bear the Christian name but act like worldlings and love the amusements and follies of the world. It is time for a division in the house of the Lord in which those for Christ go into one camp and those against Christ go into the other camp. We have been mixed together too long.”
“Natural gifts carry with them a…danger. If you have sound nerves and intelligence and health and popularity and a good upbringing, you are likely to be quite satisfied with your character as it is. “Why drag God into it?” you may ask…Often people who have all these natural kinds of goodness cannot be brought to recognize their need for Christ at all until, one day, the natural goodness lets them down and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are “rich” in this sense to enter the Kingdom.
It is very different for the nasty people—the little, low, timid, warped, thin-blooded, lonely people, or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. If they make any attempt at goodness at all, they learn, in double quick time, that they need help. It is Christ or nothing for them….
There is either a warning or an encouragement here for every one of us. If you are a nice person—if virtue comes easily to you—beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible….The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.
But if you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched up-bringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels—saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) He will fling it on the scrapheap and give you a new one.”
“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self— all your wishes and precautions— to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good’. We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way– centered on money or pleasure or ambition— and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be plowed up and re-sown.”
“[Psalm 71] offers fit occasion to say to the young, Behold the wisdom of early piety. Youth may be your only period of life. If you do not improve that, you may be forever undone. But if you live to old age, you will need all the consolations arising from the fact that you early gave your hearts to God. ‘Oh come to God, young people, without delay; or you may never come at all. The world will tempt and court you; but believe it not; it is a wicked flatterer, full of deceit, promising pleasure but ending in ruin,’ Matt. 6:33 ”
“No forms of religion, however solemn or bloody, can do for us sinners the great work we most need. They cannot take away sins [Hebrews 10:1-4]. They never did do it; and no wise man ever rested the weight of his salvation on so rotten a foundation. The very rites themselves declare, Salvation is not in us. The human conscience says the same thing. But Christ is just the Saviour we need. Sprinkled with his blood we are washed and justified once for all. ‘Guilt of sin once taken away doth not trouble the conscience.’ How could it? Sin is dead by the cross of Christ, and the dead speak nothing.” – William S. Plumer