Let Him Do Anything But Act

C.S. LewisThe masterful C.S. Lewis wrote  a collection of letters between between a couple of demons, attempting to give insights into the realities of the spiritual world and our human existence. The Screwtape Letters although fictional, provides poignant insights into the true realities of following of Jesus Christ.

This  letter is from the Uncle (and mentor demon) Screwtape to his nephew, a demon in training on his first assignment to distract a new Christian away from a fruitful life for Christ. This new Christian has been on a roller-coaster in his journey, but has recently savored a couple of positive pleasures (reading a good book and a walk in the country). These moments actually paved the way for the direct presence of God with the Christian.

Screwtape chastizes his nephew for allowing such pleasures as they are truly gifts from their Enemy (God) and create a conduit for relationship between the two.

In this letter, Screwtape shares with his mentee a snippet of how much God thinks of each Christian on the planet:

“Remember always, that He [God] really likes the little vermin [humans], and sets an absurd value on the distinctiveness of everyone of them.”*

Later Screwtape shares this insightful bit of demonic strategy about the new Christian’s mind, emotions, and obedience:

The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilizing the seeds which the Enemy [God] plants in a human soul. Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened.  The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.

Your affectionate uncle,

(*From Letter 13  in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis)


So the question for you and I  is:

What is it today that is floating around in my head, that I feel or know I should do for God, but I’m delaying on doing it?

Let’s take action!

Let’s develop the habit of obedience!

C.S. Lewis – On God and Time [Audio – In His Own Voice]

C.S. Lewis

Listen to a Rare BBC recording of C.S. Lewis discussing God and time >> 



Later, these teachings would be gathered into the important book Mere Christianity.  


Church, C.S. Lewis, and a Waste of Time

C.S. Lewis

The church exists for nothing else but to draw men
into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are
not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions,
sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of
time. God became a Man for no other purpose.

— C. S. Lewis

Gleaned from Neil Cole’s blog Cole-Slaw here

What Demons are saying about the Church

C.S. Lewis

“We want the church to be small not only that fewer men may know the Enemy [God] but also that those who do may acquire the uneasy intensity and the defensive self-righteousness of a secret society or clique.”

– Uncle Screwtape to Wormwood in Letter 7 (via C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters)

It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals

I was talking with a person today who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I find it is very difficult to wrestle through situations like that. You don’t want to be trite, you don’t want to be over confident, you don’t want to offend, you don’t want to think about your own death, you think about it anyway, you don’t want to …. It goes on and on.

I this week I ran into a wise saying, that quite frankly, I didn’t like at all. Misery loves company…so I’ll drop it on you too:

It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now.*

I don’t know how that strikes you…but that’s a new message. I am charged up about going to parties and festivals…I don’t get really juiced about going to funerals. The Wise Teacher is on to something here I think. It is really healthy for us to think about death and dying…not so we get depressed…but so that we change how we LIVE!

“Sadness has a refining influence…” that can be so true in our lives. We have to make it true though. We have all met people who were washed out by the sadness in their lives. They never allowed the sadness to shape them. Those are the people the Teacher calls foolish. The wise person changes and adjusts the way they live to make God happy…and themselves truly happy.

That’s the way I hope we are walking on this quest together….to be wise and consider how to live lives that will please Jesus.

The amazing thing about the person I was talking with today is the unshakable confidence that they have in Jesus and getting to see Him! That’s the twist we have on the wise teacher–WE ARE GOING TO A FESTIVAL WHEN WE DIE! Heaven is going to be sooooo great. (I just read a book this week called The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis that dreams about the afterlife and how grand heaven is…wow…I can’t wait. It is worth the read!)

I don’t mean to be somber today…but I want us to be wise…let’s think while there is still time.

* Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 NLT

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