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5 Stars Out Of 5
The Importance of Sexual Purity
January 5, 2012
I have had this book sitting on my shelf for probably five months. After I received this book, I was wondering why on earth I would bother choosing this book to read. Then just the previous day, I was talking to a friend of mine about needing to read this book, and I was informed that Stephen Arterburn went through a divorce. This meant that I was even more hesitant to read a book, because after all, if it didn't work for him, why read it? As soon as I read over the introduction I knew I wasn't giving Mr. Arterburn a fair chance. I have now read this book, and will share my thoughts with you all.
Before you read any further I want to put in a warning right here. This book review is not meant for children. I will be willingly addressing the issues that Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey address. I will also be honest in this review as I see things that I can directly relate to and share my own insights and experiences. In this review, I will be direct but not graphic.
The backdrop to Every Single Man's Battle is Stephen Arterburn's reentry into the dating world. Stephen writes this book to aid fellow brothers in Christ who may be single or recently divorced by challenging them to be men who flee from sexual temptation and pursue integrity. The author writes not from a place of superiority or strength, but to walk alongside men who may be struggling with sexual sin. In a society that devalues marriage, and the marriage bed, and instead advocates for shacking up, Mr. Arterburn in this book provides a helpful defense, and response to the sacredness of sex between one man and one woman in marriage.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Every Single Man's Battle is Stephen, Fred and Mike's courage in dealing with issues such as masturbation and porn. Many men struggle in silence with these issues but the authors provide helpful answers by highlighting how the point of intimacy is to grow closer together with our spouse not to fulfill our fantasies. On this point Stephen and Fred helpfully teach that when sexual intensity supersedes our sexual intimacy the marriage bed becomes defiled (Arterburn, Stoeker, Yorkey, 25).
Although I was raised in a solid, Biblically based, Christian home, I allowed myself to fall right into sexual temptation many times, and in many different ways. I participated in pornography, masturbation, and premarital sex. Even after being married for over a decade, I continue to struggle with sexual purity and integrity. Rather than fleeing from sexual sin, I allowed myself to fill my mind with the drug of sex, and sought not my wife, but my fill of adultery.
The authors in this book do not dance around the issues but press the reader to understand the issues they examine from a biblical worldview. For example in the first two chapters they cover the issue of sex, masturbation, and pornography, as well as accountability. They quote one pastor, Mason, who is in his thirties and single who says: "Single men should not live alone" (28). Chapter two makes the point that all Christian men should have godly male friends who pray with them and hold them accountable to the Word of God as they wage war against the sins of the flesh (Romans 13:11-14).
In September, I choose not to be accountable in my war against sexual sin, and decided that I didn't need anyone to help me. In reflecting on this time in my life, I realized I acted like a fool. At this time, I was blessed with some money coming in from some work that I was doing, and instead of being wise with my money, I gave into my sin and went to a strip club.
At least one of my friends knows about that night where I gave in and chose to sin. On that night I was thinking about calling someone to talk to about my sinful thoughts, but ultimately talked myself out of calling one of my friends and instead gave in fully to my sin. Embracing my sin rather than forsaking my sin that night burned a lot of bridges that I had been working hard to build for a number of years.
Men need accountability it really is that simple. Men need godly brothers to come along side of us, and to, quite frankly, give us a smack upside the head like Gibbs does to his fellow-team members in the original NCIS show. The Christian life is not a war we can engage in on our own. Men need to rise up and link arms with our brothers, and keep fighting. Some people may say, "It was only a strip club", but that strip club took my thoughts off the LORD, off my wife, and put them on an idol. For a moment I chose to love my sin more then I love my Savior. As a result of this occurring, I have resolved in my heart to no more love my sin but to genuinely turn from my sin to Jesus Christ. I now have godly brothers whom I will call, men who will hold me accountable, and smack me upside the head if I screw up again. I'm very blessed by these brothers, these comrades!
Every Single Man's Battle is only three chapters plus an introduction covering pages 6-54. The remaining 129pages are a study guide for Every Man's Battle which serves as an eight week study. Even though this turned out more to be a Study then a book, the value of this book is great.
I rate this book as a must read for every Man, married or not! The topics covered will address some topics that men have often preferred to keep secret. I will actually be purchasing a copy of Every Man's Battle in the near future with the intention of using this study guide as a spring board, not only for my own use, but one I plan to recommend to the men of my Church as well.
Men the battle for our integrity and our sexual purity is a must win battle, and one we cannot escape. The Gospel provides the foundational reason why as men we can overcome sexual sin and be pure. Jesus died to give sinners new life, and as men who are redeemed through the blood of Jesus, and adopted as His sons, we have the ability through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit to put sin to death and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. As men we desperately need to rise up to the challenge to love our wives as Christ loves the Church, and be men of integrity. Men love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, and mind! Let us fight this battle together!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
About a year ago, I read "Every Man's Battle" by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey. I read the book with six other guys in a single men's small group through my church. The overall message was much appreciated, but we found out the book was geared more toward married men. When I found out about "Every Single Man's Battle" (by the same authors) I was very excited, that was until I actually read the book. To my dismay, I was disappointed for a few reasons.
1) "Every Single Man's Battle" constantly refers to "Every Man's Battle." What gets me is there wasn't a whole lot of information from that book that was geared toward single men. They should have just taken what little information that was for single men in "Every Man's Battle" and just put the information in "Every Single Man's Battle" instead of saying "read chapters 1-5 of Every Man's Battle." It's like the sole purpose they did this was to sell more books and I have a big problem with that.
2) The author's writing style was a little bothersome as well. Everything was "you need to do_" or "you should_" which comes across as if the authors were not single men, but married men who are not currently experiencing the whole issues trying to be a sexually pure single adult male. I would have liked it a lot more if the authors changed the wording to "we as single Christian men should_" or "we should_" that way it doesn't come across like the authors have no idea what single men are going through or like they don't sympathize for them.
3) This book is better suited as a small group study curriculum, otherwise it is a very difficult read.
The message of the book is a good one that is definitely need for all single Christian men and I found several take away items including:
* "Actually, sexual impurity is a series of bad decisions on our part - as a result of immature character - and deliverance won't deliver you into instant maturity. Character work needs to be done."
* Our sexuality is not just about obeying God's commands but also a way to honor our relationship with Him.
* "When you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13
* "Being about our Father's business is our rite of passage into manhood."
* Single men should not live alone, but have at least one male roommate to help provide accountability in the area of sexual temptation.
I definitely recommend this book (with the above disclaimers) and even though it is a challenge at times to abide by this, the long term rewards are well worth it.