I recall a humorous conversation we had at work a couple days back about peanut brittle, and all sorts of Christmas and holiday candies, cookies and seasonal delights, and of course spirits of sorts… all possibly being of Satanic origin, and likely concocted and manufactured by Lucifer himself in the bowels of hell itself. “No doubt he and his henchmen are working overtime turning out vats of elixirs and potions and notions, and boxcar loads of the sweet savory stuff in preparation for fattening up hordes of unsuspecting and nonresistant victims during this rapidly approaching holiday season…”
It is so blasted hard to “Just Say No!” to these simple tasty pleasures, and to be good and to do good when faced with such delectable delights, especially for me at this early time of the year… Great Horny Toads! I love the holidays! I am thankful! I love my childhood memories! My mother claimed she could not make candy but for some reason I remember her many valiant and successful attempts during my childhood. And here we are today, not even close to Thanksgiving, and SAMs, et al, are packed with shortbread cookies, and imported chocolates, and dainty morsels from places I cannot even pronounce.
But then in great comfort to salve my guilty aching conscience (and swollen gut) over a weekend failure with my personal nemesis, peanut brittle, I recalled my friend CS Lewis, and the insightful wit and wisdom he gives us, as he draws back the curtain upon how the tempters of our flesh may really work in their diabolical ways of twisting and distorting that which is created “very good”. Below I quote Screwtape as he counsels his underling demon, Wormwood, of the dangers that lurk inherent when a fledging Christian begins to be “tempted” yet to know, to experience, to enjoy and to understand pleasure as a gift to be moderated, and not an affliction to be avoided. For true pleasure in its pure form and proper use can only originate from a good Creator God, and this Screwtape must acknowledge. Pleasure is a good gift which comes down from above, from the Father of lights.
As as sidebar illustration, one has well said, Adam and Eve are the only two individuals who have ever lived who knew unhindered, untainted marital bliss for they lived in union prior to the entry of sin’s blight of self-seeking misery after one’s own sinful pleasure. Go with that where you might, but it sounds reasonable to me. Sex “post-Fall” has always been tainted by sin, (I reference our natures and not the specific act in marriage), and could never be fully enjoyed to the complete God-given capacity as the gift was intended when first given. ( I know… this is deep water of a speculative sort, but it seems well founded to me.)
A believer armed with this knowledge of the enemy tactics is a threat to the tempter’s diabolical purposes of distortion, which has been the plan of the “father below” from time immortal. “Hath God said…” His perversion of true pleasures contrary to divine design is what is at stake. That is his game plan. It always has been. When believers begin to see and understand that joy is their right, and their Heavenly Father’s desire for His children, a new confidence and expectation of good from God becomes normative. We fear God, but we fear Him in love and hope with gladness of heart. All is lost to the tempters once true believers comprehend that in their Father’s “right hand are pleasures forever more.”
Follow Lewis… and stand in the brilliance of his argument or the point he makes from the other side! Some folk we are reminded to continually thank God for, and I suppose almost daily. In some way I rejoice daily in what this Irishman did to change my world in the gospel as he enlarges my understanding of God in the world.
“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s (God’s) ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His (God’s) invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which he has forbidden…. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula…. To get a man’s soul and give him nothing in return—that’s what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.”
Uncle Screwtape to Wormwood in “The Screwtape Letters”
“For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside…” Psalm 84