“You see it is hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair of overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, …all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition.”
This is an excerpt from the book The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. The structure of this amazing work of literature is that of a senior demon named Screwtape who is writing letters to a junior demon, his nephew, named Wormwood. Wormwood has been assigned to harass and tempt a man known only as “the patient”. In his letters to Wormwood, Screwtape gives advice on how to lead the “the patient” into sin and away from “the Enemy” (Jesus). Without giving too much away (because I think this should be required reading for every Believer) “the patient” becomes a Christian but the attacks from Wormwood persist and intensify after the man’s conversion.
Screwtape writes the above paragraph after the man has been a Christ follower for several years, has gotten married to a good Christian woman, and seemingly living a fulfilling life. However, from Screwtape’s perspective, “the patient” is still very much susceptible to attack and also defeat.
Now that you know the context, read the above quote again and consider if you have experienced any of the things that Screwtape describes. I can guarantee that you have.
This past Sunday Pastor Greg taught from Gal. 5. In his sermon Greg said that we are constantly having to choose between following our flesh or following the Spirit of Jesus that every Christian has been filled with. Greg described this as a battle for our allegiance. He said that even though this battle is always being fought, we are not enslaved to our flesh and therefore have no choice but to give in to sin. Instead we are free to walk by the Spirit and live in submission to God (Gal. 5:16). So how do we do this consistently? Greg said that if we want to be controlled and guided by the Spirit of God we must take in the things of God and yield ourselves completely to His will. This happens by filling our minds, hearts, and lives with the Word of God and the worship of God.
So today, when you are tempted to follow the flesh remember that through His Spirit, Jesus has provided for you everything you need to resist and persevere.
Questions for Reflection
In what areas of your life do you feel the most temptation? Are there certain people you spend time with or specific content you consume that you think might be making it harder for you to walk by the Spirit? If either of these are true, how could you remedy this problem?
How does it make you feel knowing that Jesus has given you his Spirit to guide and direct you? How can you feed the Spirit today?