English author Owen Barfield, who was a longtime friend of C.S. Lewis, once stated that what Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything.
He did not mean that Lewis went about giving the same tired message every time he opened his mouth. On the contrary, he was paying this prolific thinker one of the greatest compliments. What Lewis said about Christ with the utmost of passion was somehow present in the way he discussed his love for long walks or medieval literature, or in the way he stated his distaste for helping with the dishes. (Lewis once acknowledged that he found it was easier to pray for his wife than to help her with the dishes.) What Lewis thought about everything was that mere Christianity—the truth of the person of Christ—is something that no reasonable or responsible mind can ignore.
Today it seems that such singleness of mind is a rarity. In a world where we have carefully drawn lines around religious thought, it has become easier to accept the categories: Thinking about God and thinking about work are conducted from two separate frames of mind; loving God and loving your spouse are two different kinds of love. But is this true? Is it possible?
One of the most vocalized reasons for rejecting Christianity is the hypocrisy of its followers. And where it is not sound reasoning to reject a religion by its abuse, the thought is perhaps a legitimate expression of confusion. When what we think about God does not inform what we think about people or child rearing, business or pleasure, how can we proclaim the eternal importance of the message? Doesn’t it follow that something of eternal significance is significant enough to permeate every moment of time? It is like operating as if the underpinnings of a house have nothing to do with the shape or characteristics of any of the rooms. When the wind blows would we feel the same?
Our daily life is a reflection of what we hold most significant. G.K. Chesterton once said that there are no partial philosophies. There are well-formed philosophies and there are poorly formed philosophies that either knowingly or unknowingly govern all of life. But a philosophy by its very nature cannot merely inform the parts of life we want it to. In this sense, what we think about everything is present in what we say about anything. What we think about God, how we answer the deepest questions of life and meaning, informs what we think about work, how we love our spouse, and respond to the driver that cut us off.
In Christ, followers hold a promise that commands a singleness of heart and mind, and a faith that thoroughly informs all of life, for he has flooded all of life with a message of eternal significance: “Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:38). Might our lives reflect the magnitude of this invitation and the hope of one with streams of living water flowing from within.
Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.