The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
My dear reader,
It has come to my attention that many upon this earth have become so deadened to the workings of the spiritual world as to disbelieve the existence of demons. Of course, not only do these beings exist, but they are actively, incessantly bombarding our minds with the cunning devices of the enemy. Be warned, the misconception that demons are fiction plays directly into the hands of the evil one. Always be on extreme guard.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis had been on my reading list for a long time before I finally undertook them this past fall, and honestly, I didn't really know what to expect. That they are a series of letters from one demon to another about the inner workings of the darker spiritual realm, I already knew. But I never expected the level of profoundness, creativity, and inspired insight that I found in every chapter of this incredible book- another C.S. Lewis masterpiece.
The Letters are a series of correspondences from veteran demon Screwtape to his inexperienced nephew, Wormwood. Screwtape is endeavoring to mentor his nephew in the strategies of spiritual warfare, instructing him on how to best attack his new human victim.
This victim, a young man newly converted to Christianity, is never given a name- another stroke of genius on Lewis' part. The victim could be anyone. Even you or me.
Each letter begins with "My Dear Wormwood", and focuses on a new attack, always referring to God and Jesus Christ as the "Enemy" of the demonic legions. This was hard to wrap my head around at first, but it was a brilliant twist; viewing faith and Christianity through the eyes of the demons that hate it was a reminder of how powerful God really is, how insignificant I really am, and how blessed I am to serve a God who covers my weakness with his strength. Amazing.
Screwtape is an insidiously wicked but brilliant character. I found myself putting myself in the shoes of his nephew's "victim", searching my own life for the subtle attacks I've been under without even knowing it. The insight was incredible- so detailed, so profound, and so astoundingly cunning. Examples?
"It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out."
"There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind against the Enemy."
"Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."
I'm, sorry, but can we just take a moment to appreciate the profound insight of C.S. Lewis? I mean, who else can create a character who, by deeming God an "Enemy", only makes Him seem all the more more wonderful and powerful and infinitely loving in every way? This book BLEW MY MIND from beginning to end, for its ingeniousness, depth, and all-in-all importance in exposing the spiritual war that has us in its raging throes. It's so easy to forget the attack we are under, and it's so very important to be reminded of that truth.
For all these reasons and more, The Screwtape Letters are more than deserving of their place among my most highly-esteemed books of all time!