Today I’m deviating from my usual posts and doing a book review. I’m creating a space where I can share with you, what I have read, or currently reading and how it has impacted me. Hopefully, we can share our favorite reads and do some sort of a library exchange.
I love to read, I think the first time I read a book was in grade 3. I got my love for books from my mum. She would buy a ton of books and encourage us to read. I could read anything, and for a long time, I read a lot of garbage( from friends) because that’s what was available to me. When I became a believer, I began to clean my reading palette and searched for wholesome books to enrich my Christian life.
Today, I want to review C.S. Lewis Screwtape Letters. This one is a classic, you can never go wrong with a classic. I first heard about this book listening to someone speak. They shared an excerpt that made me curious. I didn’t know if I would love this book or not. But, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Screwtape Letters is a satirical novel, written about Spiritual warfare. Through this book, CS. Lewis takes us behind the scenes and gives us a picture of how the enemy works to tempt us and lead us away from God. There is a lot of scheming and planning, which is in line with Scripture as we are told not to be ignorant of the devil’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2: 11).
Schemes have an implication of well-laid-out plans with the intention of achieving a goal. The enemy carefully and meticulously studies us to know how to lead us into temptation. It is never a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. One thing is meant to lead into another with the goal being to successfully lead us away from our newfound faith in God.
CS. Lewis satirically portrays an exchange of letters between a high-ranking “tempter” by the name Screwtape, writing to a junior amateurish “ tempter” named Wormwood. He goes into detail about successfully winning over a new believer to the devil, whom they refer to as the “father below”. He also goes into depth about the working of God on humans whom he refers to sometimes as the “two-legged creatures” They also refer to God as “the enemy”.
Here are a few excerpts:
“The enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavor. It occurs when lovers get married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life, it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The enemy takes this risk because he has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what he calls his “free” lovers and servants — ”sons” is the word he uses. With his inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals.”
Screwtape here is discussing the tactic that God uses to make believers free by allowing them to initially get off the high of being a new convert into spiritual maturity where it feels like hard labor; revealing the fact that we must go through the disappointment of living life from reality rather than fantasy. He uses the example of people when they get married, where they have to come off the high of infatuation during the dating phase to learning that marriage takes real work, and is less dependent on emotions and feelings, but rather on commitment; which in a sense is parallel to the Christian life.
“This real nakedness of the soul in prayer — you will be helped by the fact that the humans themselves do not desire it as much as they suppose. There’s such a thing as getting more than they bargained for!”
Again Screwtape is discussing prayer here. Reminding Wormwood that even though prayer is quite crucial in a believer’s life, most will avoid it because they soon find out that it is a place of nakedness before God, which we often find out we aren’t quite ready for.
How true is this? We can never truly pray without exposing our hearts before Him. Sometimes this is scary because we aren’t quite ready to see ourselves as the sinners we are. What happens is Christians will try to be Christians without a prayer life, and if the enemy can manage to get us here, he has won the war.
“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. all the same, it is his invention, not ours. he made the pleasure. all we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which he has forbidden.”
Screwtape discusses how the enemy uses the pleasures of life God has given us to enjoy to tempt us. God is the author of pleasure,( not Satan). However, the enemy gets a loophole whenever we choose to enjoy what God has given us outside of His parameters. Good things can become sin if we take them out of context. The enemy’s goal is to make sure that we pervert or misuse what God has made for our pleasure and satisfaction.
“Now it may surprise you to learn that in his efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, he relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks. Some of his special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of himself — creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like his own. Not because he has absorbed them but because their will freely conform to his. The enemy wants a world full of beings united to him but still distinct.”
Screwtape discusses God’s tactic with His children and the importance of the “trough” seasons – (the wilderness) which God uses to make us more like Him. He also talks about the idea that God never tries to absorb us into Himself, He allows us freedom to choose whether to conform to His will or not.
There is so much to learn from this satirical synopsis of spiritual warfare. We can learn how the enemy tempts us as well as learn how God deals with a believer and the process by which He uses to make us more like Him.
I loved this book so much that it’s often on rotation on my reads. Every time I read it, it’s like a fresh reminder that God is working in my life for my good and that there is an enemy determined to lead me from His love.
If you love to read you can enjoy this book even if you are not a Christian. But I do hope it stirs something inside of you that draws you to the Father Above who dearly and unconditionally loves us.
Have you read The Screwtape Letters or any other C.S. Lewis books? Comment below. And feel free to tell me what you are currently reading that is impacting your life. I want to know!
Blessed weekend dear friends!
6 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS”
I love this book.
LikeLiked by 2 people
It’s a good read.
LikeLiked by 2 people
This book is amazing! Thank you for the reminder and thoughtful review. I’m currently reading The Awe of God by John Bevere. Like you I love to read as well. I look forward to reading more of your reviews. Have you ever read A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards? It’s a very simple book just like TSLs and just as profound. Be blessed sister keep up the great work. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you and anytime M.Renee! I like John Bevere, is that his new book?Thanks for sharing your reads, I appreciate it. Definitely looking it up. I have read a few of his, my favorite is “The Bait of Satan.” Good book on forgiveness and living free of offense. I am looking forward to doing more book reviews too!
I haven’t read A Tale of Three kings but will be sure to look it up.
Blessings to you too. 🙏
LikeLiked by 1 person
I believe I have read this, maybe not so carefully, as I’m not recalling most of the details. But some of this I recognize. I’ll pick it up again. 😁
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good to hear Ellie! It’s one of my favorite and a classic. Sometimes, re-reading jogs up our memory and helps us to find some things we might have missed. Be blessed❤️