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The Screwtape Letters ~ C.S Lewis

A little while ago, I bought the Screwtape Letters to read. I had heard Brooke Ligertwood reference it in a talk (and a

sone) and thought it would be interesting!

What a fascinating perspective for a Christian book to take ~ Written by the great C.S Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a humorous filled and thought provoking book of fictional nature but deeply theological frame of mind at the core.

It's written with strong reference to the spiritual battle we are constantly facing. In whole, the book is a collection of letters written from a senior demon to an apprentice demon. These letter house instructions on how to lead the "patient" away from the "the enemy" and point him to end his life with "our father down below".

Throughout the book, I found myself struck by the reality of what Lewis refers to as he writes. In this review, I'm leaving you with some quotes that were particularly memorable to me and I'll link them with a little thought of my own as well as a Bible verse that it relates to.

"All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged." (Page 32)

From the first commandment to some of Jesus' last words on earth, we know that God is the centre. Placing anything else before him, being devoted or addicted to anything else removes God from being Lord of our lives and makes space for other meaningless things to creep into that place... of course the enemy would want us to idolise other things to extremity in our lives because if we do, God is moved from His rightful place.

(Deuteronomy 6vs13 NASB)

"You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name."

"It makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours and the more religious the more securely ours." (Page 34)

When anything of worldly structure, no matter how good or well Intentioned It really Is, becomes all consuming, It removes the core meaning of the Christian Faith. It removes the relationship and turns it into a religion which is what confines one to a structured set of rules or standards. Religion is a prime example of perfection, it shows how you can step into something with good intention but end up confined to restriction.

We weren't designed to live by rules and out of dutiful godly service... we were designed to live out of a loving relationship.

(Romans 12vs2 NIV)

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

"Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else." (Page 38)

Do you ever find yourself disheartened by the countless miracles and heroic moments in the Bible? We read about theses great people of faith and compare our own 'difficult' lives to theirs.... and we completely forget the obstacles, long journey, persecution and trials that they ALL went through. It is the struggle (trough) that builds your faith, strengthens you and helps you experience the heater peaks!

(John 16vs20 ESV)

" You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn Into joy."

"His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself ~ creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own." (Page 38 ~ 39)

We were all made in the image of the Lord and this means that our nature was designed to reflect His - desinged to radiate His nature Into this world! His love and provision never fails and we need to press Into Him to uncover what It means to be made In His Image, this beautiful design is what fuels our hope!

(Genesis 1vs27 NIV)

"So God created mankind In His own Image, In the Image of god created them; male and female He created them."

"As you ought to have known, the asphyxiating cloud which prevented your attacking the patient on his walk back from the old mill, is a well-known phenomenon. It is the Enemy's most barbarous weapon, and generally appears when He is directly present to the patient under certain modes not yet fully classified. Some humans are permanently surrounded by it and therefore inaccessible to us." (Page 63)

Wow! What a thought. That when we are In the presence of God, It Is physically debilitation for the enemy to come In close proximity to us, never mind try distract us from our calling! That's why the Bible repeatedly highlights the Importance of ongoing prayer, Intentional worship and God-fearing commnity!

(Psalm 16vs11 NIV)

"You will make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy In your presence."

"Remember always, that He really likes the little vermin, and sets an absurd value on the distinctness of every one of them. When He talks of their losing their selves, He only means abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever." (Page 65)

Mic drop! It wasn't your life to begin with. This life Is a joyful gift from the Lord and It's best lived In accordance with His plan, that means best lived IN accordance to Him. We have free will to go our own way, to make our own choices - but we don't know what's best for our walk of life.... But Jesus does! When you walk with Him, you walk in freedom - you walk more uniquely you than any other way!

(John 8vs36 NIV)

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

"You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the "best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books." (Page 66)

What a relevant point! In our culture, there's a massive stigma to be the 'in-crowd' where we spend 99% of our time trying to please others or be like others. We'll waste our time and ourselves seeking approval from mankind... otherwise known as the 'fear of man.' But turn over to Jesus and you will find the confidence to walk in the unique, character filled path He wrote for you!

(1 Samuel 16vs7 NIV)

"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

"Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past." (Page 76)

The oldest trick In the book… the could've / would've / should've, the If only/what If.

If we weren't designed by God to move forward and onwards through the power of forgiveness and wonderful Grace, then living In the past might make sense...But we were designed to live In the right now, the present, with hope and future In eternity."

(Jeremiah 29vs11~14 NIV)

"For I know the plansI have for you,” declares theLord, “plans to prosperyou and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity."

"Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead." (Page 76)

There It Is gratitude. Any other frame of mind takes you backwards in disappointment or forwards in anxiety.

(Psalm 100vs4~5 NIV)

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

5For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations."

"The whole house and garden is one vast obscenity. It bears a sickening resemblance to the description one human writer made of Heaven: "the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence Music and silence--how I detest them both!" (Page 119)

How potent Is the presence of worship and prayer. Especially music In worship. Even the devil knows to fear our sung

worship, because if he tries to silence us, the stones will cry out to God! When we see the greatness of God, we can't help but cry out to Him!

(Luke 19vs40 AMP)

"Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry out [in praise]!”

"For a long time it will be quite impossible to remove spirituality from his life. Very well then; we must corrupt it. No doubt you have often practised transforming yourself into an angel of light as a parade-ground exercise." (Page 123)

As a Worship Dancer myself, I can say first hand that the truth of the enemy corrupting what God made perfect is more evident now than ever before - especially In the entertainment Industry. I am seeing how the enemy literally uses things made for the purpose of glorifying God and turns them Into things that pull our eyes away from God to put our eyes onto people and to lust after the meaningless rather than use it towards the most meaningfull thing in our life - to worship God.

The enemy Is a liar and He will twist anything to support his lies. He will turn anything for bad to harm, but God will turn it good for His names sake.

(Genesis 50vs20 NIV)

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

"When you say that the whole question of distraction and the wandering mind has now become one of the chief subjects of his prayers. That means you have largely failed. When this, or any other distraction, crosses his mind you ought to encourage him to thrust it away by sheer will power and to try to continue the normal prayer as if nothing had happened; once he accepts the distraction as his present problem and lays that before the Enemy and makes it the main theme of his prayers and his endeavours, then, so far from doing good, you have done harm." (Page 147)

Ah ha! So even the enemy knows that our minds wander… but often they wander with God-thoughts and we tend to forget that! Unfortunately, we have become so scared of stepping out of the box of 'religion' we thrust away anything that might draw on our attention, especially during a time of prayer. Yes of course we must stay focused on the presence of God and Intentionally be stepping Into His alignment - but we must allow Him to speak to us!

Prayer Isn't just us talking or laying requests down before God, It's letting the Spirit Instruct and direct us. Often when the Spirit Is moving, It Is through thoughts and Idea, pictures and prompts. Why would we NOT want to follow the path to what He Is saying!? How much are we missing by blocking out anything that's not strictly an old fashioned prayer!

Just get away with you and God, and LET Him speak to you - but beware - It might come across differently than you expected!

Be ready for Him to Interrupt your plans!

(Matthew 11vs28~30 MSG)

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

"The only constructive passage in your letter is where you say that you still expect good results from the patients fatigue. That is well enough. But it won't fall into your hands. Fatigue can produce extreme gentleness, and quiet of mind, and even something like vision." (Page 166)

Yes, yes , yes, yes, yes!! How often do we run around saying "I'm tired," or "I'm busy," or "I've got so much to do," We let the fulllness of life (and let's admit life is full these days!) and we use It pessimistically. we complain and we search for compassion. But we really need to admit when we're tired, we need to take a long hard look at what's draining us. we need to be practical about removing what doesn't serve God's will for our lives.

We need to take time out to just be quiet, to just listen, to just go through the day with our eyes and ears open and our heart listening to God - not to the noise! We've got to let the pace we find our lives cluttered with dictate a message. If our bodies and minds are tired - we need to listen to them. Our body Is far smarter than we could ever give It credit for. But at the same time, that doesn't mean everyone needs to go on a two year sabbatical!

Maybe you just need a nap. maybe you need more food, maybe you need a long walk with nothing in your ears. or maybe you just need to be quiet, once In a while for a long while.

Intentionally quiet. Intentioannly reflective. Intentionally listening

(Exodus 14vs13~14 NIV)

"Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lordwill bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

"The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils" (Page 203)

Here's the comparison game!! The not enough game.

Does it need any further Interpretation!

Most systems now are simply straight up comparison games that are stealing our uniqueness. We can't help but scrutinise what others are doing and compare ourselves based on their success/failure.

But we weren't made for comparison! We were made for celebration and t=community. There will always be something you can't do that someone else can do. Or things you love doings but someone else does better. It's about embracing our differences with celebration - not comparison - and only then will we find true community and real support.

(1 Corinthians 12vs25~27 NIV)

"So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

"All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by 'religion' ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighbourhood Of the Holy." (Page 209)

This statement is too true to unpack in one sitting! We can see so clearly that when will we step out of our box of right and wrong, good and bad, judging and comparison.... we step out of the falseness of satan and into the neighbourhood of the Lord. We live with the open invitation of stepping into God's holiness ~ a Holiness far beyond the limits our world has placed on Him.

(John 4vs23~24 NIV)

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

We are living in such a day and age where our senses are bombarded with a claustrophobic bombardment of noise. Everyone seems to have a voice, everyone seems to have an opinion, everyone seems to want to be heard.

But we are here for the audience of One.

It's time we lift up our eyes, away from the slimy ways of the enemy and back onto the Lord.

He is our strength, He is our delivered, He is our Joy!

Hold Jesus close, hand your heart to Him and don’t let the world take the love he has for you.

If it’s not out of love, it’s out of fear and we cannot function in fear!

Hold onto Jesus!

~ X ~

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