“Temptation is embryonic, personality specific and purpose directed. [It] is gradual and intelligent, not sudden or random.“
– Russel D. Moore
Have you ever been tempted? I have.
Have you ever felt like you cannot escape temptation? I have.
Welcome to humanity: fallen creatures who are in constant spiritual warfare.
…and most of us don’t even know it.
Temptation a battle of every follower of Christ regardless of the differences in denominational backgrounds, personal convictions and history. This is an ongoing battle–God vs. Satan, light vs. dark, angels vs. demons, you name it. And we are soldiers for the Kingdom of Light.
Russell D. Moore examines temptation and how Jesus ultimately triumphs over Satan and his devises. He mainly draws on the fourth chapter of Matthew which is a record of the temptation of Jesus. Jesus was tempted in three ways and with the word of God defeated the enemy without sin. Despite the fact that the devil lurks in the corner, tempting us in strategic times and personal ways, we who are bought by his blood and redeemed by Him could claim the victory that has already been won.
One of the points that Moore pointed out and stuck to me is “the interplay between God’s testing and Satan’s tempting” (pg.40). In Matthew 4:1 it says that “Jesus was led by the Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil”. The Spirit of God led Jesus in the wilderness…why?
To be tested and tried.
According to Moore, “To be tempted is to be enticed toward evil. ‘God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ (1John 1:5). We are, however—and Jesus joins us in this—tested by God. James wrote, ‘Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life’ (James 1:12). The difference of being testing and tempting is no trivial matter. The goal of tempting is evil; the goal of testing is ‘that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing’ (James 1:4)” (pg 40).
This is a testament of God’s sovereignty, and how ultimately, despite of the devil’s demonic plans, God uses it for his glory and honor and our benefit as well.
The book is quite a heavy read: it’s filled with theological connections, Biblical references and personal anecdotes from the author himself. Despite the complexity of the subject, Moore efficiently brings ideas and concepts across by applying them to our society and our lives. I personally had to take some time and chew on some of his words, and reflect it towards my personal walk with Christ. And I must say, it is quite spot on and an eye opener. For those who are struggling with temptation (don’t we all?), condemnation and fear, I believe that this book will help you with your walk with Christ.
After all, a devil exposed is a devil defeated.