This may be one of my all time favorite books. I just love everything about it. It is entertaining and convicting all at the same time. The main character is a senior devil named Screwtape. He is writing letters to his nephew (Wormwood) a junior devil giving him advice on how to tempt and lure the "patient" (who is a christian) away from following Christ and loving others. Here are five points from the book and my thoughts as I read through the "Screwtape Letters"
1."If once they (the christian) get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotions and therefore much harder to tempt."
-oh how we thrive on emotions us humans. We tend to base our relationship with God on our "feelings" instead of what Gods word says. One day were up the next were down and if your not reformed you might even wonder if you lost your salvation and if you are reformed you may question if you were ever saved to begin with. We need to stop depending on emotions and -take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)
2. "I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moments notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's soul to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm."
-Yes the Pharisee In me would have done this exact thing years ago. One moment I'll be in 'deep' biblical studies or prayer then someone interrupts. My flesh gets mad, I become rude, and the title of hypocrite stands. It's so easy to say the same prayers and read portions of scripture just to be able to check it off our to-do-list, instead of Seeking a renewed mind(Romans 12:2 ESV) when your in the flesh the flesh will react.
3."at the very least they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers, for they constantly forget, that they are animals and whatever their bodies do affects their souls."
-ahh so many times I've gone into my comfy bed with the intention of praying to only fall asleep seconds later. Our body position really does affect our prayers. Whatever you have to do to help you stay focused on the task at hand (prayer) do it. Sit up, go in a another room, kneel, turn off all distractions. If we keep falling asleep when we go to pray than we'll never pray.
4." It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds;in reality out best work is keeping things out ."
- when we don't study Gods word,when we don't constantly keep our minds filled with the gospel we will fall. If Gods word is kept out, sin will stay in.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 ESV)
5."As long as he (the patient) retains externally the habits of a christian he can still be made to think of himself as one who has adopted a few new friends and amusements but whose spiritual state is much the same as it was six weeks ago. And while he thinks that, we do not have to contend with the explicit repentance of a definite ,fully recognized sin, but only his vague, though uneasy, feeling that he hasn't been doing very well lately."
Many Christians are content with absolutely no spiritual change. Going to church weekly to socialize and appease their conscience, 'well I've made a few mistakes here and there this week but I went to church and made peace with it so I'm good', instead of as Lewis said "an explicit repentance of a FULLY recognized sin." We need to repent of our sins and not be ok with the "same spiritual state of six weeks ago."
I hope these few short snippets from the Screwtape Letters encourage you to go and read it. Stay tuned for some more points that really jump out at me as I finish reading it :)