This summer I’ve started to look at the relationship between temptation and humans a little differently. See, it all started when I picked up my family’s copy of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
I didn’t know that much about the book to begin with, so I went in with no expectations whatsoever. But I was able to take a lot away and look at things from a new perspective.
For those of you that don’t know what the book is about, it’s a series of letters exchanged from one of the devil’s top workers, Screwtape, and his nephew Wormwood. Screwtape often tries to give Wormwood advice to help Wormwood get his human he’s been assigned to turn away from God.
Now the relationship between man and temptation is a complicated one. And the devil tries to play on that, tempting man in whatever way he can. It’s not always as straight forward as one might think.
In one of the chapters, Screwtape tells Wormwood that a good way to distract his human’s relationship with God is by giving him a good book so that he will forget to make time to pray.
I don’t know about you, but this one hit me hard. I have totally forgotten to pray at night because of a good book or me binging a Netflix show until I fall asleep. I realized that not only have I fallen for this simple trick, I also realized that temptation doesn’t have to be such an obvious sin for you to hurt your relationship with God.
Something as simple as a good book or Netflix or talking on the phone to your significant other can impact your faith. It doesn’t have to be a direct correspondence for it to even take effect, but if it makes you start to neglect your spiritual time then it can lead to sin before you’re even aware.
And little distractions like those leads the enemy to feel like his plan is working. But the Lord also rejoices in our small victories. He overlooks all of our sins and yet he still loves us. And every single time we turn to him, he is happy for us.
If you struggle with making prayer time a priority, one friend once told me that physically writing down a time in your planner for it will help you remember to spend time with God.
And relationships need frequent communication in order to grow, so the more often you pray the easier resisting temptation will get.
Another really big insight I got from the book was that the devil wants you to worry about the future. He wants you to try and take control of your life so that you start to believe that your plans are better than what the Lord has in store for you. He wants you to get anxious.
I’m someone who loves planning, so this is really hard for me. Of course, I know that as a Christian we are supposed to follow the Lord’s will. But as a human we have the tendency to believe that we always know what the best path for us is.
It is written in the Bible numerous times that we do not need to worry about what tomorrow will bring. Our God will provide. I love thinking about how our God is a provider. He loves us so much he promises that if we stay close to him then he will take care of our needs. All we need to do is make them known to him.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” Matthew 6: 34