The Screwtape Letters; Habits and Humility
Screwtape quotes a human who said, "Active habits are strengthened by repetition, but passive ones are weakened." He goes on to say, "The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel."
This hit me hard. As I mentioned in my last post on this book, I've had a hard time getting back into the habit of reading my scriptures daily. And the one day I actually did follow that feeling, or prompting, I was immediately attacked by Satan's forces. What he says is true. God can only remind us so many times before we can't even hear His promptings anymore. It is a vicious circle.
It also got me to thinking, what passive habits do I have? Where are my weaknesses getting weaker? Obviously scripture reading, for me. Among other things, which will go into my journal rather than here. It's definitely something to think about.
Here, Screwtape discusses the subject of humility. He describes the humility that God wants us to have, and the false humility that Satan would have us believe is right. This is something I struggled with for a very long time. Satan tricks us into thinking that humility means thinking less of ourselves. "...pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools."
When I was in junior high, I began performing solos in choir and in talent shows and things. I got many compliments. And whenever I received an, "Oh! That was amazing!" or a, "Wow, you're voice is beautiful!", I always said, "Oh no, I'm not. It's not that great..."
Luckily, after one of my biggest performances of my freshman year, this scenario played out, and the person responded to me by saying, "Stop that. Just say 'thank you'." I did. And I felt so much better about it for some reason. I now know why.
A good friend once told me, humility is not thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less. This is exactly what Screwtape explains.
"By this virtue, as by all the others, our Enemy (God) wants to turn the man's attention away from self to Him, and to the man's neighbors."
To close, here are a couple of other lines that I love.
"The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents -- or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. ... He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self love -- a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own..."
"For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait of our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He takes away with His left."
It is so true. Those who lose themselves in Christ, shall find themselves.
Thanks for traveling today.
P.S. Do you have any 'passive habits'? What is your take on humility? I'd love to hear your thoughts in a comment, or an email, about this or anything else. Feel free to share this post, or any others, with your friends. And if you're new here, give us a follow, and travel along.
Wife of one, Mommy of 1.5, Writer of much. I also sing, dance, and occasionally tell very dumb jokes... watch out.