Last year I read John Owen's classic, The Mortification of Sin. This year I tackled his much shorter, but no less potent, Of Temptation.
Using Christ's instruction to his disciples in Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation", as the foundational verse of his book, Owen then dives deep into the meaning of temptation, the circumstances by which we enter into it, and the way of preventing and resisting it.
In typical Owen fashion, the heart is laid bare and the truth of God's Word is expertly applied to both convict and offer hope to those caught in the current of temptations' flood.
Ultimately and most poignantly Owen points his readers to a Trinitarian Hope: The faithfulness of God the Father's promises to those who believe, the grace of God the Son who secures and accomplishes the Father's promises, and the power and efficacy of God the Holy Spirit who executes those promises.
I hope to cling to these promises and the God who gives them more tightly in 2013 because of reading this book.
"Confidence of any strength in us is one great part of our weakness...He that says he can do anything, can do nothing as he should."
"What a man's heart is, that he is."
"Prosperity has slain the foolish and wounded the wise"
"He that would indeed get the conquest over any sin must consider his temptations to it, and strike at the root; without deliverance from thence, he will not be healed. This is a folly that possesses many who have yet a quick and living sense of sin. They are sensible of their sins, not of their temptations - are displeased with the bitter fruit, but cherish the poisonous root."
"...store the heart with a sense of the love of God in Christ, and his love in the shedding of it; get a relish of the privileges we have thereby - our adoption, justification, acceptance with God; fill the heart with the thoughts of the beauty of his death - and you will, in an ordinary course of walking with God, have great peace and security as to the disturbance of temptations."