Russell D. Moore. Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. 208 pp. $10.00.
Is it normal for Christians to face temptation? Of course it is. Jesus went through the trials in the wilderness. We, if we follow in his footsteps, will also face similar battles. Russell Moore opens the Bible with his readers and helps us to understand the trials we face in Tempted and Tried, his latest book.
Early in the book, readers will discover that the author is a very real person who has experienced very real, very down-to-earth temptations. Unlike the many authors who remain aloof from the reader, Moore gets right into his reader’s living rooms. He shares our experiences. He does not pretend to be better than us. Moore simply tells the truth with the Scripture, with his own life stories, and with extremely well-chosen illustrations.
As Moore looks at the episodes of Christ’s desert temptations, he sees a pattern of how the devil attacks Christians today. Whether we are tempted to doubt God’s love for us, his provision for us, his understanding of our desires, his plan for our future, or whatever doubts might enter our minds in myriad forms, those temptations were all present in the tactics of the enemy that Christ faced. Moore does well to bring Jesus’ first century temptations into our twenty-first century lives.
The focus of this book, regardless of the temptation faced, is the gospel of Christ. Moore does not make this little book a how-to or accountability-group manual. Instead, the author takes his readers to the cross. It is when we understand what Jesus accomplished on our behalf and what the gospel is all about that we will better face down our temptations.
A final positive I will mention about this book, though there are many, is that this is a Crossway book. I love the fact that, when I got this book, I also had a free PDF copy available to me for use on my computer or another electronic reading device. Simply put, I love what Crossway is doing.
The biggest negative that I have toward this book has to do with its structure. Call me particular, but I just do not like reading thirty-page chapters. I would rather have seen this book broken down into shorter chapters that kept the flow of thought more simple.
I will also add that this book is very real in speaking of sin. Moore never crosses any line into impropriety, but he is honest about the ways in which temptations can manifest themselves in the lives of real people living in a real, fallen world. Readers need to be aware that Moore is not going to pull punches or pretend that the worst temptation we face is to have a second slice of pie at the church social.
Russell Moore has given us a sweet little book in Tempted and Tried. We all have temptations. Moore has helped to show us what those temptations are like and how Christ, who has identified himself with us through his suffering, is familiar with the kinds of struggles we face. Pastors, small groups, Sunday School classes, and individuals will benefit by reading this work.