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Two Reasons to Read “Tempted and Tried” by Russell Moore

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Last week I finished Russell Moore’s book Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ (Crossway, 2011). It’s a requirement for a class I’m taking this semester. But now that I’ve read it, I don’t know why I waited until it was required. Perhaps it was my inner Christian hipster. By that I mean, since everyone knows who Dr. Moore is, I couldn’t humble myself and had to find more “obscure” theological literature to give me “an edge.” Nevertheless, I just got my hands on this book, and I am delighted. I’ve got a long list of reasons I could give you for why you should read this book, but I want to outline two aspects where I think Tempted and Tried stands out among a cloud of other Christian books being thrown at you:

Reason 1 : Literary Flava (Flavor)

Tempted and Tried (TNT) is an exposition and application of the temptations of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. The temptations are recorded as narrative–with setting (the wilderness), characters (the Spirit, Jesus, the devil), and a coherent plot (with rising conflict, climax, and resolution). The reason this is particularly powerful is because people think and communicate largely in narrative. Life comes to us as a story. Stories communicate with us like nothing else can, perhaps because we inherently know that history started somewhere and is going somewhere.

Moore emphasizes that in Christ, the Temptation Narrative has become our narrative. The book is a comparison of our temptations with Christ’s. Moore sets the two stories side by side, so we can see the similarities between them. In doing so, he shows how we are victorious over temptation when we are in Christ.

This, along with vivid details, humor, irony, and realism, makes Tempted and Tried 100 times its weight. It is hard to put it down once you pick it up.

Reason 2: It’s Realistic

Moore doesn’t paint a picture of the Christian life that is sugarcoated and full of rainbows and unicorns. The Christian life is hard, a gritty, blood-spattered battle (I think he would say it like this) as we, by the Spirit, put to death our flesh. He uses real examples—not like, “When you stub your toe and feel tempted to say a ‘wirty dord,’ but, “When times are tough and you are tempted to cheat on your taxes.”

To expect life to be ethereal bliss in a fallen world is detrimental to life as a Christian. I really appreciate this about the book. In its honesty, it invites us to be honest about ourselves before God and each other.

Saying this, if you are wanting an easy, comfortable, unchallenging read, you might want to look somewhere else (albeit, I did read it while sitting on the beach). It may dance literarily, but it kicks when you get close (like Muhammed Ali? Or a mountain goat?). But if you do want to be challenged and blessed through being challenged, it is a great choice.

Besides these two reasons, the truth is that you are being tempted right now. It’s a lifelong battle until Christ returns to rescue His people from the external and internal influences of sin. God calls Christians to fight sin and resist temptation. The reality of ever-present temptation and the triumph of Christ over it is enough reason to read, enjoy, and be thankful for Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ.

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Written by keywoodblog

March 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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