Screwtape Saturday, Vol. 3

Posted: October 30, 2010 in Screwtape Saturday, Spiritual Warfare
Tags: , , , ,

(What? It’s been over a month? Whatever. I hadn’t noticed. I was busy crying out to Jesus.)

In Screwtape’s 3rd letter to Wormwood, he offers the following disturbing advice about the former’s human patient:

Keep his mind on the inner life. (p.11)

This immediately made me think of what many mystics, saints, and disciples have referred to as “the contemplative life.” I’ve always wanted to be a thinker, a pray-er, a deep and spiritual person. Though I’ve never been very good at it, it would be fair to call it a sort of goal in my life to be “deeper.” I want to be one of those people who can just sit up and pray all night, or meditate over Scriptures for hours. My brain is tired, and my flesh is weak, so this has never been me.

Screwtape’s suggestion to use this very pursuit against a human was curious to me, but only momentarily. It reminds me of being “so heavenly minded, you’re of no earthly good.” Screwtape elaborates:

Keep his mind off the most elementary duties by directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones. Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office. (pp. 11-12)

How crafty! To pervert something so well-intentioned and God focused at the beginning into something that, instead, swells one’s pride and eclipses the work of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever experienced anything like this? How do you guard against it?

  1. Like you, I’m not so sure about all the contemplative prayer, the balance between contemplating lead by Holy Spirit vs. lead by flesh can be sticky. But I do know that Holy Spirit speaks to hearts and at times it drives us to grieve, mourn, praise or hurt deeply for His Bride the church. And that I KNOW, the enemy HATES. He’d rather scorch or even better, would kill the tree along with it’s fruit (our spiritual gifts) no matter how it’s accomplished. But flipping that over, He would also have us be so subverted in our spiritual walk as to neglect those around us and neglect our daily stewardship. The balance for me, is to be spiritually minded and knowing that doing the mundane, tedious daily tasks is also worship with good stewardship while also being mindful of things around me and an enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. For me, it’s walking by the Spirit while also attending to these daily tasks, responsiblities, mundaneness even, and my fleshy wrestlings in the midst of it. Sorry so long. 🙂

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