Uncle Screwtape to Wormwood: The great thing is to prevent his doing anything

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

“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 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.”

Uncle Screwtape to Wormwood in Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil by C.S. Lewis (Samizdat University Press, 2016) 26. If you have not read this classic work, click the link to access the PDF.

The evil one and his minions will do anything they can to prevent God’s people from doing good. They use fear to immobilize us and distraction to neutralize our passion for God. We must not succumb to either ploy.

How does this relate to generosity?

The two words every steward longs to hear some day are “well done” which link to our doing. We must persevere with fearless focus and determination in our doing good and not let the evil one desensitize us to become unable to act or feel.

Compare yourself today to the zeal you had as a new convert. Has your enthusiasm waxed or waned? We must keep our spiritual fervor in service to the Lord. How do we do this? Paul offers this answer. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Father in heaven, deliver us from the evil one and his minions. Help us remain joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer for ourselves and others who suffer. By your Holy Spirit, help us not grow weary in doing good, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.