DayBreaks for 06/19/09: A Lesson from Screwtape
From the DayBreaks archives, June 2009:
One of the most intriguing and insightful characters in Christian literature must be Wormwood. Wormwood is a junior devil in C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. The book consists of an exchange of letters from Screwtape (a senior devil) and Wormwood (Screwtape’s nephew and a junior devil) who is learning how to tempt humans. The subject of getting humans to fall and disobey gets a great deal of press.
At one point, Screwtape has this to say to his nephew, Wormwood: “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality, our best work is done by keeping things out.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve often thought of the devil as putting tempting thoughts and images into my mind. I don’t know how accurate Screwtape’s words are, but the point is well made. Scripture would tend to back it up, methinks:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. – James 1:14 (KJV) It is our “own lust” that draws us away. I don’t know about you, but whatever it is I might be lusting for (members of the opposite sex, chocolate, money, glory, etc.) comes from within me – not from outside me – which says something profound about us as humans and what lurks in our hearts.
Is there some kind of antidote for the poison that dwells with us? If Screwtape was right, it seems to me that the answer is not in trying to keep things out of my mind, but to keep the right things in my mind: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
May your mind be filled with these good things so there is no emptiness waiting to be filled by the sinful imaginings of our own hearts.
Prayer: Lord, help us to WANT to think on good things and to learn to abhor the evil we are so prone to contemplate. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>