Demonic Schemes

demonschemes

Have any of you read The Screwtape Letters? If not, I encourage you to do so. Although it is a fictional satire of sorts, it is a marvelously excellent illustration of how a demon works in the believer’s life. You would be hard pressed to find biblical evidence refuting what C.S. Lewis describes in his book. Here is a quote (keep in mind that these “letters” are written from one demon to another, as they scheme against the Christian, so “Enemy” refers to God, as God is their ultimate Enemy):

“The Enemy [God] will be working from the center outwards, gradually bringing more and more of the patient’s [believer] conduct under the new standard, and may reach his behavior to the old lady [the believer’s mother] at any moment. You want to get in first. Keep in close touch with our colleague between you in that house a good settled habit of mutual annoyance; daily pinpricks. The following methods are useful.

Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the states of his own mind—or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is all you should allow him to see. Encourage this. 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 practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of these 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.

It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very ‘spiritual’, that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother—the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time, you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a wife’s or son’s ‘soul’ to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (pp. 11-13)

 

How about you? Have you seen a reflection similar to this in your own life? I know I have. Being in an unequally yoked marriage, I have found it quite tempting to pray for my spouse’s habits that most irritate me. I have even left my time of prayer only to find myself minutes later in the midst of an argument over some trivial matter like what to eat for dinner. Remember “noema” (schemes)? It’s very real! What schemes have you succumbed to? How are you fighting it? Remember, our best weapon is the Word of God–Truth!

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Other related posts:

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Before Your Feet Hit the Floor: An Essential Daily Prayer

Every Story Has a Villain, Even Yours

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Demonic Schemes

  1. Pingback: Spiritual Eclipse: One Foot In The World | My Message

  2. Pingback: The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh—(Part 1) « Rebecca Aarup

  3. Rebecca, You may not want to hear this, but I picked that book up about two years ago at a thrift store. It was a first edition, bound in leather, with a book mark gold ribbon, and it was like new. The gentleman running the store ask if I like the book, I said yes and he gave it to me. I then invited him to men’s prayer he came every Saturday till he went back to being a Pastor. He was offered a senior pastor job he took it and so he had to move away. I sure miss him I call and email him all the time. I guess I really like that book! May our Lord’s blessing over fill your home, Amen James

    • Why would I not want to hear that?! That’s awesome that you got such a wonderful edition of The Screwtape Letters for free! What a gift! I wouldn’t mind having a copy like that, myself. Maybe I should go rummage around some old bookstores.
      I love your heart and your ministry, James. You are definitely impacting the kingdom of God–for HIS glory.

  4. Read this book early in my Christian walk and it really opened my eyes to the schemes of the devil. Thanks for sharing this truth. Spiritual warfare is real and once we’re aware of that, the enemy’s power to hinder us grows dim.

    • Exactly, once we are aware of it we can stop succumbing to it. Unfortunately there is still a great deal of ignorance regarding spiritual warfare among Christians. Thanks for commenting!

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