The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis was a brilliant man. He was raised Christian, became Atheist during his teenage years, and converted back to Christianity after he started teaching. I truly believe that he was inspired to record what may very well have been actual communications between two servants of the devil.
It is very odd reading the text, when I've been raised reading scripture. Screwtape calls God "The enemy", and the Devil "Our Father Below".
I have only read the first two letters, but so far it seems that Satan's main tactic for keeping us away from the reality of God, is to keep us occupied by "real life" or the "ordinariness" of life. He doesn't focus on any one thing, but rather does his best to keep us in limbo. Never really righteous, but never really evil, telling us that everyone does bad things, church is for crazy people. Don't argue with him (the human he's trying to corrupt) just distract him... for example:
"By the very act of arguing, you awaken the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it 'real life' and don't let him ask what he means by 'real'."
See what I mean? They're tricky, those devils.
As I finished the second letter, I turned to some much needed scripture. In Luke 22:31 Jesus says:
"Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat."
What does this mean? Read on my friends...
Winnowing: The next step is called winnowing, where the loosened chaff is removed from the grain. The old fashioned way of doing this was to throw the grain in the air, where the lighter chaff would be blown off by even a decent breeze. The heavier grains would fall back to the ground below where they were thrown.
You see, Satan wants to put us through hell. Literally.
He wants to throw us on the ground and beat us til we're senseless, and stomp us into the ground, and shake our lives until we're ready to give it all up and then he wants to throw us around some more...
But here's the cool part... we know what he's up to.
And knowing, as good old G.I Joe always said, is half the battle.
If we know that Satan is real and that he's doing all he can to keep us from finding the truth and acting on it, then hopefully, we can be more on guard for his attacks.
I remember reading an old story relating to this... I'll probably botch it, but you'll get the gist...
A man was walking through a town with an angel at his side. the angel gave him the ability to see the devils that were trying to tempt the people in the town. As they walked, the man saw a young man lounging about, with only one small devil near his side. "That man must be very righteous," he said. "he only has one small devil."
The angel looked at him, but said nothing.
As the two were leaving the town, the man noticed a much older man pushing a cart down the lane while twenty larger devils hopping all around him. "That man must be very evil," the man with the angel said, "to have twenty large devils walking with him."
The angel turned to him and replied, "You have it wrong, friend. The young man you saw before was already so evil in himself, that it only took one small demon to control his actions. Whereas he," he pointed to the old man with the cart, "is so very righteous that not even twenty large demons can sway him from his righteousness."
A person living God's laws and seeking after Him, will know that there will always always be temptations, and will be prepared for them. A friend of mine, Tim, said that life is like railroad tracks. There is always good and bad in it. No matter how good things are, there is always room for improvement and progress. And likewise, no matter how bad thing get there is always something for which to thank and praise God. (See Tim's post here.)
I am very excited to read The Screwtape Letters, and I feel like I'm going to learn a lot from it. I hope you'll join me.
Darci - the Page Traveler
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them in a comment or an email!
Wife of one, Mommy of 1.5, Writer of much. I also sing, dance, and occasionally tell very dumb jokes... watch out.