Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Every Man's Battle book review

Sexual temptation
How many men struggle with this issue? Aside from those who always give in (no struggle there), nearly “every man” is tempted by attractive women or visual images. It’s no wonder this book has become so popular, selling more than 2.5 million copies. The topic could not be more relevant today, considering the explosion of pornography and use of sexuality to sell everything from beer to movies and television shows. How can men find the motivation and strategies to resist this fast rising flood? This book provides those things for Christian men who desire to overcome this temptation as well as other guys who want to remain faithful to their wives.

Three perimeters
Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker describe the goal as this: Sexual purity when no gratification is obtained from anyone or anything but one’s wife. To accomplish this, they outline where three perimeters which must be established:  eyes, mind, and heart. The eyes must bounce from objects of lust. The mind must evaluate and capture thoughts. The heart must honor and cherish one’s wife. These concepts are explained in more detail in the book. The authors make the point that impurity is not genetic (i.e., “I’m male, so I’ll have impure eyes and an impure mind”), but is a habit. And, if it lives like a habit, it can die like a habit (pp. 105-106). 

Your sword
When tempted by our own desires and/or Satan, we can counter these in the same manner as Jesus, with the word of God found in the Bible. By memorizing only a small number of key verses we can quickly utter when tempted, say the authors, we can fight off the attacks (p. 141). For example, when a situation arises, we can state as Job did, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” (Job 31:1). Or, we may have this statement of Jesus ready: “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

The mustang mind
Arterburn and Stoeker explain the natural male mind as like a free roaming mustang, mating with whomever it can. To be faithful to one wife and true to God, the mustang must be brought into a corral. Some proper mindsets are useful in bringing the mustang under control. Our first line of defense when tempted with another woman may include the realization that “This attraction threatens everything I hold dear” (p. 169). Involvement with another woman will ruin a marriage and family. A second line of defense is to declare, “I have no right to think these things.” I belong to another woman and am bought by God with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). 

Strategies and tactics
Once the decision has been made to choose excellence, specific tactics must be employed to achieve victory. The authors list two key strategies:  bouncing the eyes and starving the eyes. Immediately upon noticing an attractive woman, one must bounce the eyes away. If this strategy is consistently followed for six weeks, the authors state “you can win the war” (p. 125). To help accomplish this, two logical steps include studying oneself to determine weaknesses and defining defenses for these weaknesses (p. 126).

Sometimes men may find themselves in a situation in which a friendship begins to grow with another woman. Rather than waiting to see what might happen, we must prepare with “war game” simulations. What if she makes advances? What if you find yourself alone with her? As Josh McDowell advised teens to decide what to do before getting into the backseat of a car, we plan ahead (p. 173). Starving the eyes is part of the defense perimeter. By eliminating the “junk sex” of looking from one’s life, the “real food” – a wife – will be much more satisfying (p. 134).

The authors also provide some useful advice for women to help their husbands to overcome this addiction:
·         Watch what he watches on television
·         Help him to find the new equilibrium
·         Defuse the seventy-two hour cycle of heightened sexual arousal typical for men
·         Allow him to ogle you a bit
·         Do regular status checkups of the situation

The third and innermost perimeter involves “being consumed with God’s purpose to cherish your wife” (187). This can be difficult if she does not behave in a deserving manner. However, the authors make the admonition:  “If you don’t feel like cherishing, cherish anyway. Your right feelings will arrive soon enough” (198). If a man sees his wife as a precious gift and remembers to follow Christ’s example of demonstrating love before being loved in return, he will be more able to cherish her.

Arterburn and Stoeker provide inspiration and present some strategies to overcome sexual addiction. Additional practical, specific methods are available as well to those presented here. Some examples include:  internet filters, accountability partners, and recovery groups. While every man’s battle is not an all-inclusive, comprehensive guide to overcoming sexual temptation, it is motivating and provides much useful guidance.

The authors
Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Clinics and host of the popular New Life Live national radio program. He has authored more than 40 books and won three Gold Medallion awards. He has degrees from Baylor University and the University of North Texas. 
Fred Stoeker is the founder and chairman of Living True Ministries. He graduated from Stanford University with honors.

No comments: