Back to series

Time for the C.S. Lewis Institute

The most common question you get when you say you are doing the C.S. Lewis Institute Fellowship is “isn’t that a lot of work?” The focus always seems to be on the time commitment and the amount of reading required. There are so many competing pressures in our lives from work, family, church, sports, etc. that the commitment seems huge.

C.S. Lewis recognised there is often a trade off with the Lord. In the words of Screwtape in one of his letters to his nephew Wormwood, in letter 14, he has the senior devil say:

“For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what he has taken with His left.”

There is a real danger that people are scared off and do not do the Fellowship because of the focus on the time commitment - what the Lord may be seen to have taken with His left hand. However, I think we should focus more on what He gives back to participants with His right hand.

Allocating Time Wisely

From my experience as you go through the orientation and first three months and cover topics like: Creating Margin, Receiving God’s Grace, Understanding True Conversion and Following Jesus Christ, your ability to allocate your time more wisely increases.

The power of the Holy Spirit in-dwelling gives you a clarity that you may not have had. Paul frequently uses a sports analogy and says fight the good fight. The image suggests that fighting your own fight can leave you exhausted, but God equips you to fight His fight.

Since taking on the C.S. Lewis Fellowship there has been a massive change in the business environment resulting in me losing a business I had worked on for 12 years. In that time the Fellowship was never a burden, the support of the people involved and even more the support of the Trinity revealed in the word; with God’s freely given grace, Jesus’ model to follow and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling strength, made everything else easier. During this time business took up a significant amount of time yet did not take over, and in addition my church time and family time also improved.

Priorities and Meaning

The closer I got to really understanding God’s love in my life it became apparent that God doesn’t replace the other priorities in your life but instead gives them true meaning - allowing me to build them on His strength not my own.

One of the things you get from the Fellowship is to learn names you never thought you would. In my case I learned about Kierkegaard who suggests that even when we come to faith we have the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives and achieve a sense of purpose big enough to give our life meaning without the atoning death of Jesus.

Thankfully Kierkegaard was quoted by Timothy Keller in a 46 page book that hits harder than many of the 300+ page books on the course. C.S. Lewis has said "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Recognising this is key to finding more time in our lives.

Ken Sharp

Ken Sharp participated in the C.S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Learn More about the C.S. Lewis Institute in Belfast

Print your tickets