Eavesdropping on My Enemy

an unhurried living conversations distractions temptations Nov 03, 2021

You may be familiar with C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters. In it, he imagines communications between Screwtape, a senior tempter, and Wormwood, a novice tempter trying to learn the ropes.


When I (Alan) was writing the first draft of An Unhurried Life, I found myself feeling especially accused and discouraged at one point. I found myself imagining what a “Screwtape” conversation about my situation might have sounded like in that moment:


“My dear Wormwood. Alan seems to be resisting the ‘big temptations’ more easily these days. That’s not really a problem. Our aim isn’t big failures. We just want to create distance, even if it’s little by little, between Alan and the Enemy Above. We don’t really care if it is headline-making or not. It’s the distance we’re after. Let’s whisper some discouraging, fear-provoking words in his ears. That should do the trick. He’ll begin to believe that the Enemy Above is mostly disappointed with him or uninterested at best.


“Or, we can just plant distracting little thoughts in his mind to get him running off on wild goose chases after this and that meaningless detail. Distraction serves our purposes at least as well as rebellion.”


That little journal entry gave me a fresh vision of the writing I was doing.


God had opened the door for me to write my first book for publication. I realized that I couldn’t write it alone, but I wasn’t writing it alone.


God’s affection, delight, and pleasure in me as His beloved son was something I could count on. I remembered that I am in Him, and He is in me. Abiding in God is the right place from which to write. This is a place of great freedom, creativity, and favor.


I don’t lack a thing I need to live the life God is inviting me into or to do the good work God has given me to do. I am fully resourced. Divine ideas are available to me—wise, creative, compelling ideas.


I do not write to make a name for myself or to build my own kingdom. I simply want to honor Christ’s name and somehow build in honor of His reign.


Reflection Questions:

  • What conversations can you imagine going on in the background of life between those who would seek to derail, distract, or damage the work of God in you?
  • What “God realities” do you want to remember in the places you may be presently facing temptation?


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Photo by Cate Bligh on Unsplash