Russell Moore’s recent book on temptation has a new endorsement by Rick Warren:
Endorsement by Rick Warren
“First, you do what you want to do…”
With those words, Russell Moore sums up the essence of what trips us up in our temptation. It is in our small moments of selfishness that temptation wins over us and it is in our simple moments of faith that temptation is defeated.
Everyone faces temptation. Even Jesus was tempted, so it is not a sin to be tempted. It is what we chose to do with it that makes the difference, and this powerful book shows the way out. Instead of being intimidated by Satan’s strategies, we need to educated about them, and prepare our minds for daily battle.
I’ve read many good books on dealing with temptation but this one by Russell Moore stands out in a class by itself. I can guarantee that your spiritual health will benefit greatly from giving serious attention to these chapters. They will help you not only understand how temptation works, but how to defeat it. In addition, there are three strong features of this book that will strengthen you in the battle.
First, this book begins with the person of Jesus Christ. Our savior is our model in all things, and he who was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV) is the only perfect model of the way to defeat temptation because he was never defeated by it! Both the book of James and the letters of Paul give us additional teaching on temptation but as important as those passages of Scripture are, standing miles above them is the intensely practical example of how our master dealt with the devil in the desert. In Satan’s temptations we’re lured into a dirty smog of confusion, but Jesus’ answers from scripture blow it all away with the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit.
Second, this book is both strongly theological and deeply thought provoking. This is absolutely essential because you cannot win in spiritual warfare with the human weapons of pop psychology, or just a positive attitude. The Evil One wants to destroy your life and he begins with capturing your attention. Because temptation begins in our thoughts, having your thoughts engaged with the truth is vital to victory in the daily battle. In order to say no to temptation we must repent; The Greek word for repentance (metanoia) simply means “to change the mind.” It is the most important paradigm shift you’ll ever make because it includes learning to see everything God’s way instead of your way. Behind every temptation is a lie.
Since our persistent patterns of temptation involve wrong thinking that accepts these lies of the Evil One, we need the truth to change our thinking before we can change our actions. Some of the lies that you have believed – about yourself, about God, about life, sex, money, happiness, and other things are errors that you have held on to for so long they have become your companions and friends, and even part of your identity. As you grapple with such issues as the Fatherhood of God and the Lordship of Jesus, you will be doing the necessary metanoia mind-changing work that will set you free from old patterns of doubt and sin. Do not skip these steps! There are no shortcuts to confronting the lies of Satan that create the strongholds of temptation in each of our lives. You must have the courage to ask, “What lies am I believing that really aren’t true?”
Third, this book is a book of hope! Hope is not possible without honesty. You can’t build hope on false pretense; you can only build it on truth. By writing openly about his own temptations, Russell reminds us that victory is never achieved in hiding or pretending. Victory begins with an openness before God, and with others. The Bible says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16 NIV). To defeat persistent temptation, revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.
I am excited for you. God has provided a way out of every temptation. But more than that, every time you make the right choice and depend on Jesus for deliverance, you will become more like him.
Author, The Purpose Driven Life
Pastor, Saddleback Church
Learn more about Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ