Wednesday, February 10, 2016

10 Tips//Reading The Screwtape Letters

"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."
 The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Demons, Satan, the underworld and temptation. 
 Maybe if you're like me, you are wary of the topic of spiritual warfare, and if not afraid of the general topic, fearful of going deeper into the thoughts of what that actually looks like. 
I have studied the armor of God, as mentioned in Ephesians 6, more times than I can count. 
Of Satan's battle tactics to war against us: I have thought very little indeed.

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased with both errors. . ." 
--- Excerpt from preface 

As I have grown up physically and spiritually, I have recognized the need to learn more on this subject, not to scare myself, but to prepare myself. 
In my congregation we do not overly dwell or talk about the tactics of Satan. This is mostly very good.
I don't think Christians should be overly preoccupied by visions of Satan or his workings. 
Indeed! Rather our focus should be on God. 
However, we can take that too far. Satan, as a created being, is not God's equal, but he is His most ardent foe.

In order to better understand tricky mindsets, temptations, and pitfalls common to Christians, C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters" makes a fascinating read.

Obviously this book is not scripture, and by no means should it be taken as such. It is, however, a powerful look into a viewpoint which is not wholly obvious to us. I am 3/4 of the way through and have so appreciated (even if I have not wholly understood or agreed with everything) the insight Lewis had to offer. This is truly a Christian Classic, and I encourage teen/adult believers to give it a try! Far from weakening your faith, I believe with God's power, it will strengthen it!
Though it is a slender volume, this book can indeed be difficult to get through. 
I have compiled some suggestions that aided me ---and I hope some other readers---get the most out of this gripping read. 

Tips for Reading
"The Screwtape Letters"

1. Go slow and drink tea. Better yet sip some hot cocoa! (When you read the book, you will get the reference, I promise!) This is not a "tear through in one night" book. It might look like it is, but in order to digest the information (as well as comprehend complex ideas), it is a good idea to take your time. I know a lot of us have a boat-load of books to get through during the next 10 months, but this book is special! My friend Samantha warned me about this, and as I sat down to read it, I realized how right she was. 

2. Keep a pad and pencil handy. This is one of those reads that would be helpful to outline or take notes on. Make the most of the time and energy you put into this piece of literature! For me, I had so many lessons I knew I wanted to remember, notes were a must! Some chapters or "letters" may speak to you on a deeper level and you may choose to write up a short summary.
3. Reread certain passages as you feel the need. This a good thing do to. So many profound ideas and realities are tucked into the lest expected places! Don't pass them by!

4. Listen to the audiobook as you read. This is optional, but I found it very helpful! There are several adaptions you can choose from (I hear Focus on the Family does a good one!) but I just listened to a classic narration free on youtube. Audio for Screwtape Letters I still read along, but this narration was so enjoyable and lent Screwtape a personality in a non-disturbing way. 

5. Consult a vocabulary list or dictionary. Again, this helped me. I consider my vocabulary pretty good, but there were a few ones I looked up. Caution-there are whole concepts that if you don't know a key word, you will not be able to grasp it. Vocab list You can just print this list ahead of time and consult as needed! 

6. Find at least 3 applicable life lessons. The "patient", as the tempted human is referred to in this book, deals with situations which we can all learn from. This was penned in 1942 England, and as such has some scenarios that are a bit different than the struggles we face today. But the situations can be easily adapted to very real struggles of our own. From factions within the church, being respectful to parents, church-hopping, bad friends, diluted doctrine, to fear and anxiety, war and marriage, identify things you struggle with!
7. Stop and pray. As you feel led, just surrender stuff to God! 

8. Feel free to laugh. There were times for me when I read passages and felt somber and reflective. However my family thought I was going nuts tonight because of the noises of amusement coming from my room! C.S. Lewis really pokes fun at Satan in this book, and there are times of great hilarity! Just the writing style of old Screwtape to young, impish Wormwood is so comical and fun to read. 
 In my copy there is this quote:
"The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." -Luther

9. End by compiling scriptures dealing with spiritual warfare. This is going to be my final project. I already have some selected, and plan to add more. This book is not a definite look at how it all happens with the "devils" (as Lewis calls the demons). It is a tool. Enhance your study with the word of God.

10. Remember who WINS. In the end, we know what side wins. It's not even a fair fight! Our God is stronger! He is mighty to save! Revelation is the play-book about how it all goes down.  Satan knows this, he is just trying to go down wrecking as much damage as he can before he has to call it quits. Remember that God will supply you with the wisdom and strength to resist temptation. You only need go and ask him.

James 4:6-8 (KJV)

 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Let us repent and humbly submit to God. Let us draw near to Him, and resist those things in our lives which do not Glorify His Name.

And always, let us pray with thanksgiving! Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, He is our victor!
Praise Him!

Let me know how you are and if you have ever read this book!

Much love, 

~~yours ever learning~~



  1. I can't remember if i told you this or not so I'm just going to go ahead and comment, heh.
    I nominated you for the Happy Tag:

    I hope you have as much fun as I did. :)