I not only believe in Christ, but I know that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father to be our Mediator and to intercede for us. I know that the bread and the wine in the Lord’s Supper are the body and blood of Christ and that the word of the pastor, whether he preaches or absolves, is the Word of God. Yet the flesh is weighed down by doubt, so that it does not believe these things. This is great wretchedness and is bitterer than death itself. Indeed, the reason why death is bitter is that the hindrances of the flesh prevent us from believing. Otherwise affliction would be a joy, and death would be a sleep for us who believe.
We should deplore these evils, which are implanted in us through Adam as a result of original sin, and we should pray God to increase and strengthen faith in us and to sustain us under the heaven of the forgiveness of sins...
Luther’s Works, AE 5:21,
Lectures on Genesis,
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself (God) we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success of failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.--C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters
((It's not for nothing that Martin Luther defined sin as "being turned inward on oneself.")