On a regular basis, I thank God for Russell Moore.
I mean that as serious as I can say it. Oftentimes, when I read something he has written or hear something he has said, I will offer a prayer of gratitude for this work in Dr. Moore. As the President of the SBC ERLC, he speaks on issues of religion and ethics in the public square and he does so with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15).
I was reading through his book, Tempted and Tried, this week and was reminded yet again at how thankful I am that he is using his voice for the glory of God and the kingdom of God. I felt like I was highlighting every other sentence!
It is such a good read. Dr. Moore talks about how we combat temptation by looking at the temptation of Christ. Dr. Moore summarizes Satan’s three temptations to Jesus as:
- To provide for my own needs
- To protect myself from danger
- To exalt myself as lord
Within these three temptations, he opens eyes to see how they can be expressed in our own lives today.
- Temptation is so strong in our lives precisely because it’s not about us. Temptation is an assault by the demonic powers on the rival empire of the Messiah (21).
- The satanic powers don’t care if your illusion is one of personal grandiosity or of self-loathing, as long as you see your current circumstance, rather than the gospel, as the eternal statement of who you are (28).
- We become accustomed to whatever level of happiness we’ve achieved, and then we crave whatever’s next (79).
- Jesus knew that God’s protection was better than self-protection. He knew that God’s vindication was better than self-vindication (126).
- We must see why we want to exchange the end-time exaltation by our Father for the right now exaltation of a snake. We must comprehend why we’d rather be magnified apart from Christ than crucified with him (131).
- We resist temptation the way Jesus did, through the word of the kingdom (166).
- Somehow I believe that a life without temptation would be better and that I don’t need the tests he allows me to pass through in order to be ready for whatever is next. Come to think of it, that mind-set entails surrender to each of the temptations – to provide for my own needs, to protect myself from danger, to exalt myself as lord (195).
Although temptation is a common and well-acknowledged part of the human experience, few realize the truth behind temptation and fewer still know how to defeat it. Tempted and Tried will not reassure Christians by claiming that temptation is less powerful or less prevalent than it is; instead, it will prepare believers for battle by telling the truth about the cosmic war that is raging. Moore shows that the temptation of every Christian is part of a broader conspiracy against God, a conspiracy that confronts everyone who shares the flesh of Jesus through human birth and especially confronts those who share the Spirit of Christ through the new birth of redemption.
Moore walks readers through the Devil’s ancient strategies for temptation revealed in Jesus’ wilderness testing. Moore considers how those strategies might appear in a contemporary context and points readers to a way of escape. Tempted and Tried will remind Christians that temptation must be understood in terms of warfare, encouraging them with the truth that victory has already been secured through the triumph of Christ.