May 17, 2013

Book Review - 'The Screwtape Letters'

I'm cheating this week.  It has been two and a half years since I read this book, but it fit with some things I was thinking about this week, so I'm going to review a book I read in November 2010.  But first I'll tell you what made me choose to look back at past reviews I've shared here.

Earlier this week, I mentioned feeling overwhelmed by life.  My brain was full of all kinds of "shoulds" and guilt about how I was failing at most of them.  As I sat down to my quiet time yesterday morning, I was feeling really tired coming off of a bad night's sleep.  I journaled to the Lord, My head is not in this today.  Shortly thereafter, Brian came downstairs before "seven, zero, zero" (the time the kids are permitted to come down in the morning).  He said he was hungry and I told him he could take food upstairs with him; usually this is a slice of bread or one of the cereal boxes.  Right after I did that, I had a flash of, You're a terrible parent!, fly through my brain.  Then, almost as quickly, the Spirit chimed in, Pray away the lies!

Pray away the lies!

Yes, some of my feelings of mental bondage this week were a result of sin.  But the above thought reminded me that there's more to this world than what I can see.  In the spiritual realm, I have an enemy who delights in seeing me struggle and remain in unbelief.  The Christian is up against not only the world and his own flesh, but also the devil.  And, ew, he is a nasty foe.  BUT the Christian always has the upper hand, because the Spirit lives within him.  The Bible tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

So I started to pray against the angst and all of the lies I'd been believing about myself and others, all of the thoughts that were not of God, but of man, or worse, of satan.*  I wrote, Lies, you have no places here.

Then, I moved on to my reading for the day, which had me in Psalm 120.  Verses one and two read as follows:
I call on the Lord in my distress,and He answers me.Save me, O Lord, from lying lipsand from deceitful tongues.

My context was not exactly the same as the Psalmists, but the Word spoke so perfectly to my situation.  The lying and deceitful tongue of satan will whisper poisonous thoughts into your ear.  As you hear and believe them, death begins to seep into your bones.  But turning them over to the Lord, crying out to Him in the distress, tells the lies and the liar where they can go.  Then hope, joy, peace, and life retain their rightful place in the heart and mind of the Christian.

Which brings us to today's book review.  I want to recommend to you C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.  The book is a collection of fictitious letters from a mentor demon to his disciple demon about how to deal with Christians in the battle against their "Enemy," who is God.  (Getting used to the language takes a few pages, but it comes quickly!)

I appreciate how this book reminds us not only that there are battles still raging in the spiritual realm, but also that it shows so clearly how deceptive and subtle the work of satan can be in our lives.  The demons never rest in their quest to pull us away from God, especially when we are striving to seek Him.  Lewis offers his interpretation of what this might look like, using his mastery of the English language and depth of insight into humanity.

Thinking about this book makes me want to go grab it off of the shelf and read it again!  I recall so many times thinking, Yes, yes, I know that experience exactly, or, Oh wow, Lewis is putting into words something I'd never be able to express myself!

The Screwtape Letters is fiction, but with rich Biblical themes.  I think you'd enjoy both the creativity and the validity of it.  I found myself entertained by the premise and challenged by how it played out.  It's like a fictional devotional.  I hope you enjoy The Screwtape Letters, too!

*I hope you don't mind too much me not capitalizing 'satan.'  I just loathe the idea of giving him the dignity and satisfaction.


  1. I've been praying a lot for you in the past couple of weeks, Heather. I felt that satan has really had you under attack recently and it's wonderful to hear that you are "praying away the lies". (What a great phrase!) The fact that satan feels he needs to attack you is a clear sign that you are doing God's work!