The books reviewed in this issue are not written for pleasure reading. They are not written by Reformed authors. The problems they address cross denominational lines. They are difficult reading, not because the words are big or because they tackle great theological issues. They are difficult reading because they confront sexual impurity head-on—sometimes in a very graphic manner. They are meant for the everyday battle that men and women fight against their own fleshly desires. And they offer perhaps not solutions but helpful methods to use as you engage in this battle.
Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time
By Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
Waterbrook Press, 2009
Paperback, 336 pages
Perhaps one of the finest resources, Every Man’s Battle explains how easily and how quickly men can fall into the sin of lust. Our society is saturated with female exploitation and often expects men fall prey to it. After all, you’re a male, and what’s wrong with looking? Arterburn and Stoeker explain the false premise behind such thinking. They invite men to choose true manhood by turning away from taking the second look and looking to the Lord. In Him there is strength.
Every time I have used this book to help men get beyond their “just one more look” mentality, I find out that the devil is also very strong. Most men who acknowledge that they have a problem with pornography can throw away their magazines. They can monitor more carefully the websites they visit. By the time we get to section four, they gratefully receive the instruction that teaches them to “bounce” and “starve” their eyes.
I am convinced that it is at this point the devil begins to realize that he is losing the battle. The men are learning to bounce their eyes (look the other way). With mutual encouragement and accountability, they are making progress. It is always at this point that the devil seems to turn up the heat. One truck driver said that he had never been flashed by more women than when we went through this section of the book. Once there was a fundraising bikini car wash just down the road from where we met.
The devil certainly knows how powerful the sin of the eye can be. Eve fell because the forbidden fruit was appealing to her eyes. Men, who are very visual, can quickly fall back into the sin of lust. Every Man’s Battle can help you gain victory over your roving eyes by teaching you how to have victory over your mind and over your heart.
Also in the series:
Every Young Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker. This book has many of the same ideas as Every Man’s Battle, but focuses on some of the problems faced by young men in high school. This book is very straightforward. Filled with examples, it teaches more than abstinence. It provides an understanding for the need for sexual purity.
Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn. Although there are some similarities in the battle for purity shared by men and women, there are also huge differences. Ethridge and Arterburn tackle these differences in a positive way. Giving good instruction that helps young women understand their battle, the authors approach sexual purity from emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical perspectives in a very frank manner, covering material such as abuse, attraction, and attire. They go on to explain how young women can guard their minds, their hearts, and their bodies as they wait for Mr. Right.
Every Woman’s Battle Promise Book by Shannon Ethridge. This book isn’t actually a part of the series, but is a very handy follow-up to Every Young Woman’s Battle. After Every Young Woman’s Battle brings a young woman to a point where she is ready to love Jesus as she waits for Mr. Right, this easy-to-carry volume provides promises that God gives while she waits. Each promise from God is broken down into several sections; each section has a short introduction and then lists various verses from Scripture where God gives those particular promises. How wonderful that, while in the midst of the battle to remain sexually pure, the promises of God to help in the battle can be right at your fingertips!
If you find these helpful, you may also consider the following:
Every Heart Restored by Stephen Arterburn and Fred and Brenda Stoker
Every Man’s Marriage by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker
Every Man’s Challenge by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker
Every Man, God’s Man by Stephen Arterburn and Kenny Luck
Every Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge
Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker
Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a
Joshua Harris | Multnomah Books, 2005 | 192 pages, hardcover
Especially helpful for teens, best-selling author Joshua Harris’s book tackles sexual purity in a lust-saturated world. Harris begins by writing about the truth about lust and how there should not be as much as a hint of immorality in the Christian. After acknowledging the difficulty of the task set before us, Harris explains how those fighting against lust in their lives cannot win the battle by themselves—they must have the forgiving power of Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
Harris goes on to propose methods for fighting against the battle that rages within us and how we can help each other. Harris frankly discusses topics such as masturbation, media, and abstinence. He concludes the book by encouraging accountability partners who work together to grow in truth and holiness.
The volume ends with seven helpful tips for fighting Internet porn. This is by far one of the greatest battlegrounds we face. Pornography on the Internet is readily accessible and private. Setting up guards against the temptation to visit these sights has become necessary.
Wait for Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance
Rebecca St. James | Thomas Nelson, 2008 | Paperback, 208 pages
Using the same title as her recording, Grammy winner Rebecca St. James has penned a book designed to help teenage girls discover the joy of purity in romance in a sex-consumed society. Clearly, men are not the only ones who struggle with purity. More and more women are using pornography; teenage girls look to Lady Gaga and the like as their role models. In a culture where “friends with benefits” has become the norm, the pressure for sex is overwhelming.
St. James writes about what true romance should be, how to guard one’s thoughts in order to make wise decisions, and practical ways to wait for marriage. In one chapter, “The Ecstasy (or Agony) of Sex,” St. James writes about the heartache experienced by young teens who gave themselves to someone they thought loved them. She goes on to explain mental, physical, and spiritual consequences of premarital sex.
Near the end of the book, St. James writes a beautiful chapter about forgiveness and hope for those who are already riddled with guilt and shame. She also provides a chapter where she answers blunt frequently asked questions such as “How far is too far?” to “How do you talk to someone about sexual purity without sounding like you think you are better than you are?”
Sexual Healing: God’s Plan for the Sanctification
of Broken Lives
David Kyle Foster | Regal Books, 2005 | Paperback, 250 pages
This is a frightening book! It was written by a man who was in bondage to various sexually addictive behaviors. God took David Kyle Foster out of his bondage and made him the founder and director of Mastering Life Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida where he ministers to those who are where he once was.
In graphic terms, Foster lays down the foundation for healing—God. Only He can restore a person and make him whole again. Only He can lead you to live by grace rather than performance. Once you understand that, only He can give you a proper focus for sexuality.
After laying down the foundation for sexuality, Foster tackles specific areas of sexual impurity including homosexuality, child sexual abuse, sexual addition, pornography, and masturbation. In each area, Foster shows how quickly and easily addiction can occur.
While the graphic nature of the book can be very disturbing, it does illustrate the horror of sexual impurity. Those who are not convinced as to the depth of depravity to which sexual sins lead need only read this book. If, however, you are entangled by this sin already, Foster offers good, solid advice for how to escape. At the end of each chapter in which Foster seeks to build our foundation for purity, he offers positive exercises for the reader to use in building a solid foundation in God to help in the battle. Then, in the chapters that detail the horror of the various sexual addictions, Foster gives one-page, detailed exercises for getting beyond the sin. Even if you never read the chapter, the exercises at the end of the chapter can prove to be very beneficial.