(Review) Safe and Sound: Standing Firm in Spiritual Battles by David Powlison

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Publisher and Publication Date: New Growth Press. September 16, 2019.
Format: Kindle e-book.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Spiritual warfare.
Pages: 160.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Christian readers who want to learn how to combat spiritual battles.
Rating: Excellent.

For more information: New Growth Press.

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Author Information:
David Powlison, MDiv, PhD, (1949–2019) was a teacher, counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He wrote many books and mini-books, including Speaking Truth in Love, Seeing with New Eyes, The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context, Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness, Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken, God’s Grace in Your Suffering, and Safe and Sound. David was also the editor of The Journal of Biblical Counseling.
Link for bio at The Journal of Biblical Counseling.

A video from one of my favorite interviews of Powlison. He is speaking on Borderline Personality Disorder.

Summary:
Safe and Sound by best-selling author David Powlison guides readers to see the normality of their struggles with themselves, the world around them, and the powers of darkness.
Counselors tend to be interested in what they can easily describe: psychological dynamics, social influences, and physiological givens. But how does the uncanny power of darkness fit in with the more accessible factors in a person’s life?
By carefully unpacking Ephesians 6 with vivid case studies and biblical wisdom, Powlison helps readers humanize those struggles and bear the relevance of the love of God in Christ for those struggles.
In this helpful guide, Powlison addresses many questions with gospel answers regarding the reality of spiritual warfare, including “What is spiritual warfare?” and “How does Ephesians disciple us in spiritual warfare?”
Safe and Sound presents Ephesians as a book about our conflict with darkness—within ourselves, with other people, and with the spiritual forces of evil. Powlison demonstrates how the message of Christ’s triumph over all that is evil, dark, and deadly rings true, and how spiritual warfare is our participation in the Lord’s cosmic war with darkness.
To stand up against evil, Powlison encourages readers to pray pointedly and listen to Scripture intently, standing with other brothers and sisters in Christ and relying on the strength God himself gives.

My Thoughts:
I’ve met people who believe every bad thing that happens in life is because of spiritual warfare. This includes physical battles like cancer or other diseases. I believe bad things happen because we are imperfect humans and live in an imperfect world. But to go so far as to say all bad things are because of spiritual warfare, I’ve paused at that. This has been a good book to read. It’s good, because it’s made me think and consider something I may have been wrong about.
This is the first book I’ve read by David Powlison. I’ve read short books written by him. I’ve watched videos of him teaching on a counseling topic. The first thing I notice is his humility. He is also a person who is wise and purposeful about his speech. I admire people with these character traits. It makes me want to lean in closer to listen.

Some examples of points he made that were important:
•Every moment of our life is spent in a battle for lordship of our lives. Who we will serve?
•Satan’s attacks are untruths about God.
•The main Bible passage is Ephesians 6:10-20, but other passages are used. For example, John 8:43-44; 1 John 5:19; Ephesians 2:1-3; Isaiah 59; 2 Peter 1:1; and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
•Anxiety is a lie. A lie about everything that we perceive as something to worry about.
•Thankfulness and gratitude is at the heart of the counterattack in spiritual warfare.
•A chapter on the occult and exorcism. “A person’s sins are dealt with through repentance.” He disagrees about the use of exorcisms. He believes in focusing on the heart of the person.

This book is deeply personal for Powlison. During the writing of the book, Powlison knows he has cancer. He doesn’t know how much longer he will live. In fact, he died this past June. He expresses that he had moments of escapism and he’s tempted to be discouraged. When a person is transparent about their struggles, we identify with them in some way, because we all have struggles in this life. I’m thankful for this book. I’m thankful for authors who share their tears.

 

 

 

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