The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis is filled with profound wisdom. I first read it long ago and just listened to it again this week while on a family outing. The book is written as a collection of fictitious letters from a chief demon by the name of Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. Wormwood is seeking advice on how to guide his human “patient” down a path that will end in the destruction of hell. I was struck by the timelessness of Lewis’ insights. The sinful nature of man is still the same as it has always been. When you get past the surface trappings in which we like to dress our sin, you find the same basic evils continue to be at work.
I especially appreciated Screwtape’s perspective on love and marriage. He noted that love, in and of itself, is an emotional phenomenon that is neither good nor bad. The real trick for a demonic tempter is to lead a man into shallow and selfish behavior in relation toward the object of his love. The frustration of the demons comes when a man moves from his feelings of love to actions of selfless charity. When a man decides to selflessly care for the one he loves in spite of her clearly recognizable faults, he produces tremendous vexation among the demons.
I strongly encourage you to read The Screwtape Letters even if you’ve read it before. There will be aspects of the book that will strike you with fresh relevance in your current context. And, even though Lewis wrote this book over 50 years ago, his insights into the demonic realm of sin and temptation are still spot on. Satan continues to attack us with the same old temptations. God’s Word and grace in Christ continue to give us what we need to send Satan and his demons on the run.