Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Screwtape on how to attack faith (with thanks to C. S. Lewis)

C. S. Lewis wrote “Screwtape Letters,” which was a fictional account of letters from Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew, Wormwood, about how to draw his assigned patient (a believer) away from the Enemy (Jesus Christ). 

Here’s my version of what Screwtape might have written to Wormwood about how to attack his patient’s faith.

My dear Wormwood,

Your recent letter concerned me.

You sound pleased with the trials you are bringing your patient.  You think the layoff and financial pressures and flu will automatically bring him to us.

Don’t you understand that as long as your patient is trusting the Enemy — trials do nothing?

In fact, if he is trusting the Enemy — every trial will draw the patient closer to the Enemy — and further from us.

Remember what I taught you.  If the patient just looks to the Enemy with faith — even weak faith — the Enemy will immediately strengthen him, comfort him, help him — and your flaming darts will bounce off him (Eph 6:16).

Your top priority

That’s why you must focus all your energy on attacking his faith.

Think of the beauty of this.  If you can keep him from trusting the Enemy — then everything that comes his way will draw him to us.

Hardships will draw him to us — because he will become bitter at the Enemy.  And joys will draw him to us — because he will love them more than the Enemy.

So — focus all your energy on attacking his faith.

How to attack faith

Here’s what I recommend —

  1. Don’t let him open the Enemy’s book.  Have him think he’s not feeling spiritual enough.  Suggest that it’s too complicated.  Tell him he’s too tired.  Be vigilant — five minutes of prayerful reading can set him back months (Rom 10:17).
  2. If his faith is strong, don’t panic.  Have him notice how strong his faith is.  Then have him congratulate himself on how his faith is stronger than his wife’s, or his friend’s.  Before you know it, his faith will no longer be in the Enemy, but in the pleasures of feeling superior.
  3. If you do manage to weaken his faith, don’t let up.  Remember, all he has to do is cry to the Enemy for help, and all your hard work will be lost (Mark 9:24).  But be subtle.  One of my favorites is to make them think they need stronger faith BEFORE they can cry out to the Enemy (when the only way they can have stronger faith is BY crying out to the Enemy — sometimes I am astonished at my brilliance!).
  4. Keep him from others who belong to the Enemy.  Don’t try to have him say “no” to fellowship.  Instead, have him say “yes” to everything else.  And when the Enemy stirs his heart about being part of a church community, whisper that he can get more involved “as soon as his schedule opens up” (and make sure that never happens).
  5. If he does get time with believers — don’t panic.  Work with our fellow demons to keep the conversation shallow.  Whisper to him that he’s the only one with weak faith, and that if he says something — he’ll feel out of place.  Don’t let any of them ask how he is doing.  And especially don’t let any of them pray for him (that’s how I lost Peter — Luke 22:31-32).

I know how good it feels to see your patient suffer under trials.  But aim higher — at his eternal suffering.  Attack his faith.

I look forward to hearing of your progress.

Your affectionate uncle,


Comments, feedback, thoughts?

I’d love to hear them — feel free to leave a reply below.

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(Picture by FerrF at stock xchng.)

Category: Miscellaneous


6 Responses

  1. Wade says:

    Nice job Steve. This really has the flavor of Lewis and is dead-on accurate.

  2. Bill Schuler says:

    Wonderful, and relevent!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Bill. I love being able to keep in touch. And may the Father pour His grace upon you today.

  3. Derek Fouche says:

    Hello Pastor,

    I am busy discipling a highly educated Christian who lives in India. She is going through a difficult time at the moment and I was going to walk with her through the main points of Job.
    But I think your take on the Screwtape Letters will be more effective.

    Thank you so much


    • Steve Fuller says:

      Great to hear from you again, Derek. I am going to pray right now for your Indian friend. And I am thrilled to hear that my post might help you in discipling her.

      Onward, brother!


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