In 1942, one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, C. S. Lewis, published The Screwtape Letters. The book was a fictional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his nephew junior demon, Wormwood. Screwtape advises Wormwood on all sorts of ways to tempt and torment his human subject, ultimately attempting to draw his subject to reject Christ.
As an exercise this semester, my small group at Dallas Theological Seminary had us write our own Screwtape letters. How would Screwtape advise Wormwood to tempt us if that was Wormwood’s task? Secondarily, we were tasked with writing a letter to Wormwood from ourselves. What would you say to the demon tasked with drawing you away from Christ if you had a moment to talk with him?
What would you say to the demon tasked with drawing you away from Christ if you had a moment to talk with him?
Here is the letter I wrote to Wormwood:
I anticipated that when I finally wrote this letter, I would be angry. But I’m not. I’m calm and perhaps, solemn. As surprising as it is, I think I might even be grateful. I am not grateful to you, but to my God for how He has used you. Make no mistake, we are not friends. My hatred for you burns hotter than almost anything else. I will fight with you until the day I die, yet I am grateful.
As I am brought lower, the glory of my God shines brighter in my eyes. I perceive how great He is by seeing how poor I am. May my God glorify Himself in my heart when I triumph over sin in spite of you AND when I experience failure at your hand. May my God glorify Himself by your destruction on the last Day. May my God glorify Himself as He delivers me out of your hand and gives me victory over you. And though I wish it were not necessary, I know that nothing has ever been gained without opposition. Even a rock cannot roll down a hill without overcoming forces of friction and inertia. Your opposition sharpens me. I do not desire the opposition, but I am grateful for the sharpness.
I find such immense relief in the certainty that you cannot win. The war has been won by my King Jesus Christ who causes you to shudder. By His name and in His power, you will be crushed. I am the breath, the vapour, you grasp at. You clasp your hands around the smoke, but it slips through your fingers, never to be truly held by you. For I am in the hands of my Shepherd and I know His voice. He speaks truth to me and teaches me of your lies. I may be discouraged for a time. I may feel defeated. I may feel like I will never be free of you. But these feelings are temporary; for my victory is assured. Rejoice not over me, O enemy! Though I fall, I will rise!
It is so easy to forget the spiritual realities that surround us. We must remember that we have an adversary who seeks our destruction. But we also must rejoice in the victory assured to us. Jesus Christ is King, risen and reigning. We are His and He is ours. He is our safe retreat and mighty fortress. There is freedom and relief in that truth. Rejoice in it, brothers and sisters!
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