There are a myriad of tools available to help us avoid temptation in our lives. And for many of us, those tools empower us to suppress the desires that do spring up from time to time. However, Illinois authors Michael LaBorn and Braedon Pierce propose that suppressing temptation is not synonymous with actual freedom. In their new book, Taste and See, the duo take a very direct look at the way the church approaches sin and proposes a fresh perspective. One where we do not view sin as an invading enemy, but as the result of our own failure to engage Jesus in real intimacy.
LaBorn and Pierce examine James 1:14, which states that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” and conclude that once we are in Christ, our sin stops being a matter of spiritual bondage and actually has more to do with the fact that, as a culture, we have not truly embraced a gospel where we are taught to bring all of our needs to the feet of Jesus. They suggest that the moment Jesus shed his blood for us, our bondage was broken and the solution to our struggle with sin became to let Jesus satisfy every need in our life so that we can naturally stop turning to our old habits and hang-ups for that same satisfaction.
Read what Dr. Sanjay Merchant wrote in the Foreword:
Like shipwrecked sailors driven by desperate thirst, we drink salt water. What else is there to drink? What other choice do we have? And with each drink, we grow thirstier and thirstier until we die of dehydration. Adrift in a broken world, we pursue our lusts. What else is there to do? And with each self-interested deed, we lose ourselves until there’s nothing left.
Jesus did not come to inform us of very bad news—obey my rules or all is lost—but to pro-claim very good news: “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). We are thirsty and he gives us fresh water. We are hungry and he feeds us. Indeed, he is our water and our food as he gave himself to fill us with his life. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV).
What does all of this mean? Well, they propose that our struggle with sin is the result of living our lives believing that sin is the only thing available to satisfy our needs. Which means that overcoming temptation is as simple as turning away from the inappropriate methods we have developed to meet our needs and learning to actually be satisfied in our relationship with God.
In addition to Taste and See, LaBorn is working on two additional joint-projects which will be released in 2020. One with North Carolina author, Dominique Burleson. Their book, The Voice of Jesus, examines the way Jesus interacted with the church, the world, sinners, etc, and reminds the church that as the sole representatives of God in the earth, how we speak for him matters. It challenges Christians to only use the voice of Jesus—which is synonymous with our own voice, as we are his body—the way that he used it. His other book, What if Love is Enough?, is being written with Qawve Baugh, an Illinois native who is currently serving at the Dream Center in Los Angeles, California. Their project is an equally challenging look at the modern church. This time focusing on the church’s responsibility to love the world as desperately as God does.
In a time of widespread uncertainty, Michael aims to do everything he can to call the church into a deeper level of intimacy with God, and one of the primary tools he uses to do that is his writing. For more information, visit his website: michaellaborn.com, where you can pre-order Taste and See (on shelves 7.31.20) or learn more about his additional upcoming projects.