Tempted and Tried

We should not be surprised that we are tempted and tried. After all, if temptation existed in a perfect world, in a sinless world, how much more will it exist in a world that is full of sin. Even the best of us, or perhaps especially the best of us are far from immune. After all, Christ himself was tempted by the devil. These temptations form the structure within Russell Moore’s new book Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ.

Let me say from the outset that it took this book to show me what a talented writer Russell Moore is. I have read Adopted for Life and have followed his blog for several years. Yet I found myself surprised by just what a sharp, witty, insightful writer he is. And I mean that. I read and even enjoy quite a lot of books written by average or good writers. It was a genuine pleasure to read a book written by so talented an author.

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What Moore seeks to do in this book is demonstrate how the ways in which Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness reveal strategies he will use to tempt all of us. He applies these lessons to contemporary situations, showing that Satan’s designs have not changed much and, in fact, have not had to change much. He and his minions have made a long and thorough study of human nature and are well-versed in our weaknesses. And so they continue to attack through temptation.

This is the point in the review where I guess I need to summarize the content of the book and then tell you why you need to buy it (or why you don’t need to buy it). In this case I consider Tempted and Tried nearly a must-read. I can’t imagine a person who wouldn’t benefit in some way. But rather than employ my usual pattern I thought I’d share what a few other people have said about the book. Why? Because this book left a deep personal impression upon me and I can see that it has done so with others. And I am intrigued by this.

Here is what one person said: “This book is realistic and honest about sin and evil, but more than anything it gloriously sets forth Jesus as the Devil-smashing Victor that he is.” Another one recommends, “Read it. Search your heart. Pray for grace. And join the fight.” Still another says that “struggling Saints everywhere need to read this book.” I agree entirely. Why? I can think of two reasons. The first is that we will all be tempted and we do well to learn how to identify and how to overcome temptation. The second is to learn that temptation is not a sin. There is great comfort in knowing that temptation is universal and not necessarily a sign of a sinful life.

So what can I say? Read this book. Read it for the good of your soul. I loved it and found immediate benefit in my life as evidenced, perhaps, by the fact that it has already generated a couple of articles here at the blog (An Image Naked Enough & Your Desires). Learn from Moore as teaches how Satan shapes his temptation and how it can be overcome through the power given to us through the cross of Christ.

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