Boot Camp: Equipping Men with Integrity for Spiritual Warfare by Jason Hardin
Engaging in spiritual warfare is a topic and activity that all too often neglected in Christian circles. Author Jason Hardin writes specifically about this topic directed toward men, as a way to call to engage the battle and take to heart the good news of Jesus Christ. The book is divided up into three major sections centering on the beginning of the journey, integrity, and The Lord’s Armory. The sections dive into what it means to see Christ for what he has done on our behalf, the goal of putting to death our sinfulness, and putting on the full armor of God.
In the first chapter, Jason paints a picture of what potential is and how God is calling us to leave behind our complacency. He writes, “Our King has spent time in the arena. He knows what it’s like to have his face marred by the dust of the wilderness…..And now he looks to you. He invites you to leave behind the ranks of those cold, timid souls who avoid the conflict at all costs” (25). Some have said that the opposite of love is indifference, but this concept of more akin to doing nothing at all. Jason is right to point out that the Lord calls us to a greater life than eschewing conflict for safety and comfort. The very battle that the Lord Jesus triumphed over was a clarion call that conflict was the only way for victory to ultimately ensue. Jason goes on to point out that Abraham, Moses, Gideon and many other OT saints pressed forward in the battle, looking to God in faith in their struggles. I enjoyed the call to take the conflict seriously over Satan, sin, and the world, yet I hoped Jason would have included more encouragement about how the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith in battle.
The chapter on sexual immorality is replete with strong biblical wisdom about how to walk with God in a holy manner and run from the lures of sexual immorality. At the end of the chapter, Jason writes, “sometimes the bravest thing you can do is run” (108). As Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife, likewise, Christian men should run from the faintest temptation. We often think that girding up our minds with the truth will be just fine even if we go in dangerous situations. Nope, this is just a recipe for disaster. One point to add, battling with sexual temptation and immorality is not an isolated battle. Having a band of brothers to point you in the right direction, ask tough questions, and hold you accountable works because you are connected to the body of Christ. Men in the body of Christ want to see your faith flourish and your family strengthened, and as such, they will be careful to call you to account when necessary.
From sins of the tongue, hypocrisy, to idolatry, this book is filled with teaching on how these sins cause us to lose our integrity and hope. Rather, Jason points us to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to live for Christ. I thought the book was a bit unbalanced in that it didn’t focus much on how our union with Christ compels us to renew our minds and live for God. Furthermore, I think a bit more attention to how putting actions in place that renew our minds and faith in the positive can go a long way in developing our trust in God. But, overall, the book was a good reminder about how men are called to much greater than to sit back on their couch but to live for Christ by dying to sin.
Thanks to DeWard Publishing and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for review.