Daybreak: A Guide to Overcoming Temptation by Nathan Ward
This new book entitled Daybreak by Nathan Ward, a professor of Biblical studies at Florida College in Temple Terrance is healthy dose of encouragement for any Christian who is serious about battling temptation. The book is a short one at 108 pages but is full of sound wisdom about temptation, sin, Satan, and finding our hope in Christ. The eight chapters are divided up into three sections; the call (ch. 1-3), the enemy (ch. 4-5), and temptation (ch. 6-8). In the book you find much in the way of biblical exposition while Nathan also adds some practical paths to follow in dealing with sin.
In his chapter on Satan, Nathan says some things that are very important in the struggle with the evil one. He writes, “Although he does not come out and say so, Satan is questioning the very goodness of God and painting Him a miser. Perhaps most significantly, Satan projects the picture of a false rivalry between God and man – that God is man’s enemy and man needs to do something about it to rectify the situation. Rather than a gracious, beneficial creator, God is seen as opposing man’s best interest” (50-51). The subtlety of man not fully believing in the goodness of God and that God has man’s best interest in mind is damaging to the relationship indeed. Sin is enticing to us because it seems to promise us a satisfaction that can be found nowhere else. Yet, in reality, sin brings about only a destructive path of devastation in our relationships with God and each other. Nathan is quick to point out that we forget the abundant blessings God has given us when we obsess over the one forbidden thing. At the end of the chapter Nathan points us to God and that Satan is a defeated foe.
The chapter on Before the Battle is one of the most helpful of the whole book. Nathan points out that Bible characters like Daniel were able to face temptation because they decided beforehand that they will walk with integrity and run from sin. Nathan writes, “In fact, those who are consistently successful in overcoming temptation are so because they decide well in advance of the temptation what they will do. They know ahead of time how they are going to react when the temptation comes” (73). If our confidence is found in our identity with Christ, then we know that being tempted into sin pushes us to found our confidence elsewhere. Therefore, preparing our minds and hearts beforehand for the action we will engage in when temptation comes is a recipe for success in the midst of the battle. I would add that this kind of action is based more upon an experiential knowledge than just a cognitive knowledge. In other words, if we have succumbed to sin in our actions, we know that this experience leads to death. Therefore, we know both in our minds and experience that walking with integrity leads to life and so we act accordingly.
The only deficit in the book that I found was not enough of a focus on how our union with Christ compels us to walk by grace through the Christian life. The Bible constantly witnesses that because we have been washed clean and been joined to Christ, therefore, we no longer should engage in the activities of the flesh. The strength of battle against sin is not certain by our own strength but upon the strength of our Savior, and this is revealed to us in our union with Him.
Thanks to DeWard Publishing Company and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for review.