I have been leading a book study on The Screwtape Letters written by C. S. Lewis. In one of the letters in this satire Lewis has written we talked about how the devil can use the adage concerning moderation against us. We know that moderation, when practiced in a good way, helps to keep our desire and appetites under control. The type Lewis has the demon in the book brings up that comes up in the letter is a form of temptation to apply moderation to everything, in this case, the demon in the example wants the person to become moderate in his religion.
“Talk to him about ‘moderation in all things’. If you can once get him to the point of thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point’, you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all—and more amusing.”Excerpt From C. S. Lewis. “The Screwtape Letters.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-screwtape-letters/id360640935
In the same way, it could be said that a moderated seriousness about our spiritual life is as good as not being serious about it at all. This lack of seriousness about one’s own spiritual life is a sad reality many of us are exposed to in today’s world whether it is in our families, friends, anyone in our lives. This is not to say that we are off the hook concerting ourselves because we can always be doing better too. What I am pointing at is the state of any person that doesn’t care one way or the other anymore.
What C. S. Lewis is talking about is mentioned in the book of Revelation 3:16 when Our Lord says, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Another way of saying that could be that some do not try, those who do and then those who kind of do. Those serious about their spiritual lives are at least trying to be better every day. Likewise, the one who doesn’t care anymore is not trying. The person who is only trying a bit, or trying to do the bare minimum, is like the lukewarm person mentioned above. Like with most anything, if we only put in a halfhearted effort into something, our result tends to come out just as weak.
It is a warning for all of us, including myself, that we should never be content with giving a halfhearted effort because it is so close to not giving any effort at all. When someone does become content in that way they have become complacent, becoming satisfied with not being that concerned in their efforts anymore.
As we continue through Lent let us examine those areas in our spiritual life that have become mediocre. Let us take advantage of this season to purify that area through prayer, fasting, or almsgiving so we can take it from being lukewarm to something that is on fire again. Remember that God wants to help us accomplish this, the devil wants the opposite for us.