As I have said in previous blogs, I like to listen to books on tapes when we go on trips. On another recent trip, I listened to The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. This book is quite clever in that it is written from the Devilís perspective. It is supposed to be a higher-up demon named Screwtape giving instruction and encouragement to a lower demon, Wormwood, on how to tempt a human. It sounds very diabolical and can give you the creeps sometimes when you hear them plotting how to trip you up, but it gives you a completely different perspective on sin and salvation.
One idea in the book that really hit home with me was when Screwtape instructed Wormwood that he needed to get his patient to think about his past and his past failures or to be thinking about his future. To keep his mind off the now and what is right and wrong, but keep him bogged down in his past failures so he was unable to go forward in his faith. When I was listening to this I had to stop the tape and really think about how true this is. God has promised us in Psalm 103:11-13
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
Our sins are thrown away as far as the east is from the west. But the devil wants us to still be thinking of them and get us so bogged down that we cannot move forward. Once you ask for forgiveness of your sin, it is gone and forgotten by God, now you need to let it go and move on with your walk with God. If the devil can get you caught up in your past sins he has won because he is keeping you from doing what God wants you to do.
The other part of this is getting you to think about the future. Jesus tells us in Matt 6:25-34
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
I love this passage, it is from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is telling us that we do not need to be caught up in the trappings of this world or the future and He will take care of it. What we need to be doing is Seeking God right now and all that we need will be given to us.
If Screwtape has his way, we will be thinking about the wrong things, the past and the future, and guess what, God has them handled. We need to be in the here and now thinking about God and what he wants us to do for Him.
Thanks for posting this review of the "Screwtape Letters'. I haven't read it, but I admire C.S. Lewis and his writings. I like the way you were able to quote what I think are relevant passages from the Bible to illustrate your comments on the book and to show us that once we commit ourselves to God, the devil can have no hold over us. Perhaps I might try and get this book now.