Book Review: “Faith Under Fire” by Steven J. Lawson (1995)

“Standing Strong when Satan Attacks”

In Faith Under Fire, Steven J. Lawson develops the reality that Jesus Christ set an example for believers in all areas of His life. Lawson focuses the entirety of his book on the single passage of Matthew 4 where Christ is tempted by the devil himself in the wilderness over a period of forty days. Lawson develops the relationship between Christ’s temptations and our own from many varying perspectives, though one that runs throughout his book is his focus on the who, the what, the where, the when, and the how of temptation (the why, certainly, is obvious). Lawson’s concluding recommendations for denying temptation as Christ did in the wilderness are to “do,” to “have,” and to “be”—recommendations that I would suggest the reader discover for himself by perusing Lawson’s book on his own.

I was surprised in my reading to find that, although Faith was published in 1995, it is not terribly outdated, as many such books end up being. Whether Lawson compiled this book based off a sermon series he preached or off the results of his own personal study alone, I am unsure. But in this book he has recorded many timeless truths that offer a more categorical understanding of temptation as viewed in the life of Christ and as experienced by the rest of humanity. This book has actually helped me in my own studies and understanding of another passage of Scripture, James 1:12-15. To recognize actively that temptation’s source is me and not God helps guide me in my prayers for deliverance, for while God offers me a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13), while He gave me the example of His Son in resisting temptation (Hebrews 4:15), and while God offers me help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16), I now better understand that that way of escape is to follow Christ’s example through the help of the Holy Spirit. Temptation comes from my flesh alone, but resisting it is only half my burden.

I would recommend this book to any believer looking to better understand the realities of temptation or to view a fully developed commentary on Matthew chapter 4 and Christ’s temptation in the wilderness.

©2012 E.T.

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