41KRdFzUS3LStanding Strong by John MacArthur was a book I picked up because I’m aware of how much I struggle with temptation in my life. If I’m being honest, I want to sin pretty much every moment of the day.  That might be a touch hyperbolic, but the intended meaning is accurate. I wanted tools to arm myself for when temptation strikes.

I’ll say this much, the first part of the book frankly terrified me. I’ve spoken several times about the churches in my area (not all, but the ones I was unfortunate enough to encounter).  The beginning of this book discusses the term spiritual warfare. I listened (I use Audible to read these books) terrified that I’m supposed to arm up and hunt down actual demons and other things of the sort.

That’s just not biblical.

So this book, after discussing some of the misperceptions about spiritual warfare, speaks plaining about how we are to fight evil.  We fight the evil in ourselves.  How? Ephesians 6:10-18.

The rest of the book goes into fantastic detail and explanation on each part of the armor of God.  I won’t summarize here since I think anyone interested should simply buy the book. I’m probably going to re-read this in the near future.

The best value of these books is the context and clarification he offers with the text. I think something like this is critical for one such as myself. I’m more aware of the sin in my life than I’ve ever been, and I’m regrettably not nearly as sanctified as I think I should be. That being said, I still want to wake up tomorrow and feel zero temptation, which isn’t, I think, biblical or realistic.  Even Jesus was tempted (Matthew Chapter 4:1-11).

John-MacArthur-Primary-2
Portrait taken from Dr. MacArthur’s bio page on the Grace to You website. Image used for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

For me, this book is as convicting as it is instructive. I don’t always do the right thing, and the fact is my temptation is at its highest when I willfully seek it out. Even if I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m not putting myself into position to be tempted, I tend to reflect and realize that’s exactly what I was doing.

This book won’t make a sinner stop sinning. Neither will it make a person not see temptation. It doesn’t claim to either.

What it does do is provide the reader with a detailed explanation on how to combat temptation when it arrives. I’ll never claim to be “fixed.” That would be a lie I could never support.   What I will say is that when I fight my battles in this way, I find some degree of success, which is ultimately thanks to the Grace of God, which he’s provided through the Spirit that has been given to us. This book is a nice companion to have handy when reading Ephesians.

As I’ve said, I intend to read it again simply because I need the boot in the butt. The temptation to relax because, “I’m so much better” is in itself a temptation I need to resist. (Which I counter by saying, “For all fall short of the Glory of God.”)

If you’re a Christian struggling with sin, try reading Ephesians and this book. I found it helpful.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Standing Strong by John MacArthur

  1. Great review! Back in seminary I wrote a paper on spiritual warfare and in my research found all kinds of weird demon-hunting ideas that bore more resemblance to shamanism than Christianity. I wish I’d had this book as a resource.

    Resisting temptation doesn’t sound as dramatic as binding demons, but it’s a whole lot more biblical. Paul is describing defensive warfare, not aggressive assault (some variation of “stand firm” is the refrain of the Ephesians 6 passage). In my paper, I used a bunch of Sun Tzu (“The Art of War”) quotes as section-headers, and my favorite was: “The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

    Liked by 1 person

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