The Distractions of the World

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Lewis connection follows:

Scripture: “They hear the word, but, going away, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and do not bring fruit” (Luke: 8, 14)


"This is the way the Savior describes those who let thorns silence the word of God. The seed produces roots, pushes up through the earth, and even achieves some growth, but it is suppressed by earthly cares and does not produce fruit. There are noteworthy words here – “going away”.

"Those individuals return, fall again into the whirlpool of worldly commotion, and in this vortex there remains no place for any elevated feelings. The word of God cannot thrive in this soil. The worldly often restrains the spiritual.

"The influence of God’s word is repressed by pleasures of the flesh, by attraction to worldly delights and gratification. It is impossible to simultaneously submit to the Kingdom of God and the world. As long as we are “concerned and worried about many things” we inevitably forget that “there is only one thing necessary” (Luke: 10: 41, 42).

“People, especially the young, are sometimes afraid of the Christian life, thinking that it will deprive them of all happiness, and reveal a harsh and colorless life for them. What a false impression, which makes many stop in mid-journey! “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps: 34, 8), as it says in Holy Scripture. And all who have tasted have become convinced that no earthly pleasures can compare with the abundance of joy and the depth of peace and the fulness of life which the Lord gives to those who love Him.”
The above brings to mind the following passage from Letter I of The Screwtape Letters:

" The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy’s own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it “real life” and don’t let him ask what he means by “real”.

“Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy’s!) you don’t realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years’ work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said “Quite. In fact much too important to tackle at the end of a morning”, the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added “Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind”, he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man’s head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of “real life” (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all “that sort of thing” just couldn’t be true. He knew he’d had a narrow escape and in later years was fond of talking about “that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safeguard against the aberrations of mere logic”. He is now safe in Our Father’s house”.*************************************************


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)