This play, from the novel by C.S. Lewis, the famous atheist-turned -Christian-apologist of the last century, concerns a demon named Wormwood, writing to his apprentice Screwtape, schooling him in ways to harass, ridicule, discourage, frighten and finally try to persuade a new Christian to defect from the faith. I read this novel over twenty years ago, and found it quite realistic and well in line with scripture, particularly I Peter 5:8:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Verse 9 tells us what believers are to do:
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
This process of resistance is known as "spiritual warfare," which Christians of all maturity levels are involved in, whether they know it or not, and whether they desire to engage in it or not. Just moseying along keeping your nose clean and your profile low is not enough, I assure you because, Ephesians 6:12 tells us,
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Let's consider some obvious examples concerning church:
- Do you feel extra sleepy on Sunday morning, a little cold coming on, and are the kids unruly and cranky, making you and/or your spouse want to throw up your hands and not make it to church?
- Do you think obnoxious thoughts when you are attempting to pray?
- Does your mind wander seriously during the singing part of the worship service?
- Do you "turn off" all possibility of learning if you've heard a chapter of the Bible taught before?
- Do you experience an argument in the car on the way to church, and let it keep you from listening to the Word as you play the "who's right?" arguments in your head?
- Do you consistently nod off, though you've had enough sleep?
- Do you decide not to go at all--though you aren't ill--choosing rather to just watch online or on TV, rather than participate in fellowship with other believers as commanded in scripture?
- Do you plod along each day, praying only "as necessary," and only opening your Bible on Sunday?
- Do you wonder what fellow believers are talking about when they mention that the Lord showed them what to do or say in a situation?
- Do you get angry at God when daily events just don't go your way?
- Do you lose your temper with others in un-Christlike, un-righteous, self-centered anger?
- Do you set up schemes and action plans to solve your problems as your first automatic response?
- Do you lack an uplifted, joyful, hopeful and infectious attitude that draws others to you-- "charisma?"
- Do you avoid reading instructive or devotional Christian books or biographies by inspiring authors?
- Do you confess your sin to God and ask His forgiveness?
- Do you look for conversational openings to share your testimony with others?
- Do school or work colleagues even know you're a Christian?
- Do you bring the Lord into your daily remarks wherever you go in a natural, appropriate way?
- Does your work ethic reflect the character of Christ, being honorable and helpful to everyone?
- Do you sincerely cheer others on who move ahead of you in your profession, determining to contin- uously improve your own performance, whether you get a raise or not?