Screwtape Reveals the Battle

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Book club discussion last night of The Screwtape Letters was quite lively!  We were unanimous – it was a hard book to read, it required concentration, note-taking, and head scratching.  It was a bit like being back in school.  BUT, it was really worth reading.  It was the kind of book that changed how you looked at the world.

Probably the biggest shift in our thinking came from the global message of the book.  In the modern preface C.S. Lewis writes,

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils.  One is to disbelieve in their existence.  The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”

In general we agreed that we believed in Satan and devils (his minions) – but we never really gave much more than a passing thought to their existence.  We tended to think of temptation as something obvious – something that felt a bit wrong but we wanted it anyway.  That was the temptation “feeling” we were familiar with.  We also tended to – somewhat flippantly – credit devils with things like a day full of drama or other negative things or thoughts that happened to us.

We were shocked at the battle being waged in the world unseen.  Caught off guard at the all-encompassing nature of the warfare being waged against Christians… Persistent.  Specific to each man’s weakness.  In good times and in bad.  In his relationships.  In his thoughts.  In his community.  Every single day.  Whether he sees it or not.  It’s more focused on what we THINK than what we DO.  It’s not big obvious sins – we catch on to those too quickly and repent.  It’s a slow fade (thank you Casting Crowns).  It’s complacency, ignorance, apathy, and pride.

It’s scary!  We must pray that the Lord will reveal to us where we are weak, to keep us from being blinded by the temptations and distractions that are thrown our way.

More tomorrow.

Apostasy aka the Slow Fade

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“One of the scariest words in the Bible is apostasy, which can be defined as a slow fade or when you face the Cross, but are walking backwards from it, believing that you’re actually following Jesus just because you know it’s there.

The Bible talks much about apostasy in the form of warnings and prophecies, but we don’t hear much about it in our pop Christian culture. We’ve got lots of talk about grace, “decisions” for Christ, health and prosperity, politics, and songs about Jesus living to rescue us 24/7 and mend our broken hearts, but not a whole lot on apostasy.

That’s truly frightening since only Christians can become apostate. The typical weekly spiritual intake of the typical American Christian practically guarantees a slip and slide into apostasy:

We sit through a 20-30 minute sermon once or twice a week, which alone can never bring us to maturity in Christ or help us discover and fulfill our spiritual purpose on earth.

We extend our hands during the “Grip and Grin” on Sunday mornings, which isn’t meaningful, Christian fellowship.

We listen to Christian music during the day, and as comforting and encouraging as that is, music cannot conform us to the image
and character of Christ.

We read through a devotional or Christian book whenever we have a little extra time, which will never be enough to sufficiently
renew our minds in the Truth and overcome the lies already embedded there.

So, if you want to prevent morphing into a religious person who possesses a “form of godliness that has no power,” (2 Timothy 3:5) you’re going to have to live spiritually harder than that. You’re going to have to do the hard work of developing a transformational devotional life in the Word of God, practicing obedience to Jesus Christ (actually doing what He says), and submitting to honest accountability with a sister in Christ running the race faster and harder than you. Begin doing that and it is less likely you’ll wind up a spiritual statistic of the slow fade.”

– Guest blog, Susie Walther, www.thewellbiblestudy.org

   … These are my sisters – who are running the race faster and harder than me…  Thank you for modelling how it is to be done!!