I was born in 1972, so I really grew up in the 80's. This means that I observed the "satanic panic" of the 80's and early 90's. Much of that served as more of a distraction from the real dangers of Satan and his schemes. For, however many of those claims were false, there is real spiritual danger in the world. Satanic attack can take various forms, but I believe the most common for believers is when our enemy attacks our faith and the faith. He is skilled at casting doubt on the sincerity of our own belief and dependency on Jesus, as well as undermining our confidence in the very truths and promises of God. I have wrestled with this quite a bit over the past year, having experienced more spiritual warfare in 2011 than at any other time in my life. I have only found relief, hope, and growth in the Scripture, and more specifically the gospel. And I have found abundantly! However, there have been some profitble resources that highlight these particular helps. Someone asked me today on Twitter, "Joe, what would you recommend on the topic of accusation from the enemy?" Below are just a few recommendations that I thank God for, and think would be helpful to others. Feel free to recommend more in the comments!
One of the motives we have to live a life worthy of our calling as Christians is found in what we are in Jesus. For example, Paul argues in Romans 6 that since we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of Jesus, we should live righteously out of the freedom we have in the Son. I was encouraged this morning when I read this meditation by Richard Sibbes.
When we find any grace wrought in us, we should have an holy esteem of ourselves; and say, when tempted to sin: What! I that am an heir of heaven, a king, a, conqueror, a son of God, shall I debase myself? God has put a crown upon my soul, and shall I cast my crown in the mire? No I will be more honourable. These are no proud thoughts, but suitable to our state.
- Richard Sibbes, Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations, #66
The painful presence of sin in the life of a Christian doesn't ease up as you grow in faith. We may overcome certain sins, and experience victory in certain areas of life, but sin will remain with us, waging war against us until death or Christ's return. Clearly, Christians are called to fight sin and live unto God, but how do we do it? In general I believe a few thing are needed. One, we need the full hope of the gospel including Christ's victory over sin which is ours through him. Two, we need a clear understanding of sin and temptation and how these things are at work in us. Three, we need simple and practical guidance in the work of killing sin. Brian Hedges, author of Christ Formed In You and the Lead Pastor of Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan, has written a book that gives us all of this.
I was able to get an advance copy of Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin, and was asked to write an endorsement if I could. Not only can I, but I feel I must. This is a book every Christian should read, and every Christian can read. It is biblical, concise, clear, and practical. You can read my endorsement below.
Brian Hedges hasn’t written a book for our recreational pleasure, but a “field manual” to assist us in our battle against sin. Rather than aiming at simple moral reformation “Licensed to Kill” aims at our spiritual transformation in this fight by addressing the “drives and desires of our hearts.” Like any good field manual this is a small volume that focuses on the most critical information regarding our enemy, and gives practical instruction concerning the stalking and killing of sin. This is a theologically solid and helpfully illustrated book that not only warns of sin’s danger, but also holds out the gospel confidence of sin’s ultimate demise.
This is an important book that will encourage and help you in your fight against sin. You can pre-order it now.