- One of David’s requirements for his Th.M. degree is to be part of a Spiritual Formation group for two years. I’m in the group with him, and one of our assignments this semester was to write a letter from our tempter in the style of The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. Later in the semester, another assignment was to write a letter to our tempter in response. I’m posting mine in the hope of encouraging you.
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
- Letter From My Tempter
My dear Wormwood,
You need to know this: she is scared. She lives in fear, in anxiety, tentatively and cautiously. She is terrified that she may not be enough: she is not good enough, not attractive enough, not talented enough, not courageous enough, not smart enough, not enough, not enough, not, not, not.
Draw her in. Draw her attention to women that are prettier. Draw her to social media, steep her in fantasy; show her that other people are happier. Their lives are fuller. They are more likable, more accomplished, more gifted. It will paralyze her. She will be mesmerized by her failures. She will mourn her shortcomings. It will make her bitter, and resentful, and sad, and restless. She will create a façade and hide behind it. She will shut people out and barricade herself behind her defenses.
Drown her. Give her an image of what she aspires to be and have, and she will suffocate under the weight of it. She will believe that she is missing everything that matters. She will doubt that there could possibly be anyone who loves her, who rejoices over her, who cherishes her. It won’t take much – show her anything she lacks and she will bury herself in hopelessness. She will sink into her envy and discontent and be stifled by it.
Deceive her. Make her believe that she is worthless. Make her believe that she can’t be changed, that there is no hope, that she can’t be restored. Make her believe that the Cross is not enough for her, that her deficits are so great that she is beyond saving. Whisper to her that her sin is inextricably intertwined with her, that she cannot possibly be a recipient of grace. She’ll buy in. She’ll choose to believe what you murmur to her over the faithfulness of the One who ransomed her. She will live in fear of not being accepted, not being loved, not being desired, forgetting the promises she has been given. She will avoid confrontation to preserve peace. She will lie to save face. She will be paralyzed by doubt, by anxiety, by fear. She will choose to believe that the darkness she walks in is safer than being exposed to the light. Keep her focused on herself. You’ll find that she doesn’t fight against it.
- Letter To My Tempter
To my tempter:
I am not enough.
On my own, I am not. But I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, and it is Christ who lives in me. He is the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the Good Shepherd, and he is my shepherd. His power is made perfect in my weakness.
I am not afraid. I was not given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. I will be strong and courageous, because the LORD my God goes with me, and he will never leave me or forsake me. I will not fear, because he has redeemed me. He has called me by name and I am his. He chose me in him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined me for adoption as a daughter through Jesus Christ. In him I have redemption through his blood and the forgiveness of my trespasses.
I am not drawn in. I will glorify him because his love is better than life. To whom else would I go? He has the words of eternal life. I will not exchange the truth of God for a lie; I will not worship created things rather than the Creator. I will not glory in my shame. He is good, and he is better. At one time I was darkness, but now I am light in the Lord. I will walk as a child of light, for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. I will take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness.
I am not overwhelmed. When the winds are high and the waves are rough, I will not doubt and I will fix my eyes on him. I will cast all my anxiety on him because he cares for me. I will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to God. And his peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. He who calls me is faithful.
I am not deceived. He is making all things new. He has saved me, and he is saving me, and he will save me. I was dead in the trespasses and sins in which I once walked. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved me, even when I was dead in my trespasses, made me alive together with Christ. By grace I have been saved. It is not my doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works. I am his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that I should walk in them. He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
I am not enough. He is. And his grace is sufficient for me.