Every Man’s Battle (2000) is aimed at Christian men who want to live a sexually pure life. It explains what that means and how to do it, giving practical tips for rising above temptation.
Introduction: Break your bad habits and become pure.
For Christian men, it often feels like temptation is everywhere.
No matter how strong your faith, and no matter how much you love your wife, it’s hard to ignore what’s around you: provocative ads, the attractive women you encounter each day, and porn that’s available 24/7.
If you feel you’re alone in your struggle – know that you’re not.
And if you feel like there’s something wrong with you – there isn’t.
While you shouldn’t feel ashamed of your urges, if you’re a Christian, you should want to change.
In this Blink, you’ll learn some simple, practical ways to break unhelpful sexual habits. And as part of the process, you’ll discover how to rekindle the spark with your wife.
Keep in mind that this Blink contains some explicit content. You can’t tackle the issue unless you face it openly and honestly.
So, if you’re ready for some frank discussion, and a bit of self-reflection, let’s get into it …
Christians should aim for sexual purity
As a man, you can’t help but look. When an attractive woman jogs past, or your co-worker wears a low-cut top, of course you’re going to notice.
Maybe you look at porn too, and try to justify it to yourself afterwards. Surely it’s not that bad. Or is it?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a moment to acknowledge something. Yes, it’s normal for men to look at women – to seek sexual gratification from a visual source.
We’re wired that way. The sight of nudity, or even just the hint of nudity, goes straight to the pleasure center in our brains. While women are stimulated by touch and relationships, men are visual creatures.
So, it’s natural to eye up that attractive jogger. And it’s natural to get turned on by the sight of a woman in lingerie, whether or not she’s your wife.
But just because it’s natural, that doesn’t make it right. As Christians, we should be holding ourselves to a higher standard – God’s standard.
In other words, the goal is sexual purity.
You may be wondering what that means in practical terms.
Well, it means you should get your sexual gratification from your wife – and only your wife. No one else, and nothing else.
So no, you can’t ogle other women, or masturbate, or look at porn and tell yourself it’s okay. When it comes to sexual purity, the Bible is clear. There are no exceptions, and there’s no middle ground.
In the New Testament, there are countless references to God’s standard of purity. According to Corinthians, the body isn’t meant for sexual immorality – it’s intended for Lord God and His work. And in Matthew, Jesus says that simply looking at a woman with desire is a form of adultery.
These are just two of many examples. So, as you can see, there’s no ambiguity. God wants us to avoid any kind of sexual immorality, and be pure in our thoughts, words and actions.
But even with the best intentions, it can be hard for Christians to stick to these standards.
We live in a sex-obsessed society. And we have access to a plethora of images and videos, 24 hours a day. With your smartphone in hand, how do you resist the urge to look?
Well, it’s not easy. But with willpower and persistence, any man can win the battle.
Let’s explore how you can improve your defenses for the battle you face every day.
Use your brain’s neuroplasticity to break bad habits
Let’s begin by looking at a case study.
Ethan was a happily married father and Christian who spent Mondays at home with his toddler daughter. Around lunchtime, when his daughter took a nap – he’d feel drawn towards the computer for a session of porn and masturbation.
The urge was irresistible. So how could Ethan break the habit?
Well, consider that it was precisely that: a habit – one he had created.
Through repeated behavior, Ethan had essentially programmed himself. Each session at the computer gave him a surge of dopamine, affecting the pleasure centers in his brain.
Soon, Ethan’s brain started to expect this dopamine boost on Mondays at lunchtime, making it increasingly difficult for him to resist the temptation of online porn.
In order to break the habit, Ethan had to work on rewiring his neural pathways. Luckily, that’s a lot simpler than it sounds.
You see, the brain is surprisingly flexible. Thanks to something called neuroplasticity, we can actually mold our brains through our behavior.
That’s what Ethan had done in the first place, through his porn habit. But we can mold our brains in positive ways too.
Remember this – we have control. We’re not helpless victims of our habits.
Once Ethan realized this, things became easier. He wrote a list of other things he could do on Mondays while his daughter took her nap – doing the dishes, calling a friend, or listening to a sermon on a podcast.
Week after week, he consciously decided to do something else, instead of sitting in front of the computer.
After a while, Ethan no longer associated Monday lunchtimes with sexual pleasure. He had effectively changed his neural pathways, and his brain had unlearned the habit.
Ethan broke his habit through a series of conscious decisions. And by using a similar strategy, you can too.
Take a moment to think about your own bad habits – behaviors inconsistent with sexual purity. It might be watching porn, or fantasizing about other women. You might even remember how it became a habit in the first place. But regardless, now it’s time for a change.
Of course, change takes time, so don’t expect instant results. You’ll usually start to see your habits shift after six weeks of consistent effort and determination.
But the point is, you can do it. You just have to make the decision to change, then follow through. And you can take comfort in knowing that every time you make a better choice, you’re living God’s word.
So what are you waiting for?
Learn to look away
In a moment, we’ll explore a strategy you can use on your path to purity. But first, let’s look at the reasoning behind it.
To reiterate, our aim here is sexual purity. That means the only thing that should give you gratification is your wife.
But there are other potential sources of gratification. Some might be visual, such as images, videos, or the sight of women in real life. Or they might be mental – like your private thoughts and fantasies.
If you think about it, masturbation is the symptom of impurity, not the root cause. The root is usually a visual source, like online porn, or a mental source, like an erotic fantasy.
To achieve purity then, we must protect our eyes and minds from these forms of stimulation. So, we need to set up a defense, starting with the eyes. To do this, you can use a practice called bouncing your eyes.
This is what you’re going to do – you’re going to train your eyes to “bounce away” from sensual sights and images.
You see a woman in a skimpy dress … You look away immediately.
You see a provocative image on a billboard … You look away immediately.
Basically, you bounce your eyes, over and over again, until it becomes automatic. With practice, it should turn into a reflex, like when you get too close to a hot stove – you instantly snap your hand away.
Of course, you’re probably used to bouncing your eyes towards women and sensual images. That’s how men are programmed.
And while society acts like it’s harmless behavior, it’s not. It leads to men objectifying women. And it’s certainly not how God wants us to behave. So, this is another habit you’ll have to unlearn.
To help you with this practice, become aware of your personal triggers. Where do you find yourself looking most often? Reflect on this and make a list of specific visuals. For example, your trigger might be certain types of ads, women in tight sportswear, or online porn.
Once you’ve identified your triggers, you need to come up with a line of defense. What are you going to do when you encounter a trigger?
For instance, say you find yourself looking at female joggers. This was the predicament one of the authors found himself in. In order to break the habit, he tried a couple of tactics that you could use too.
First, he would bounce his eyes away. If he saw a jogger while he was driving, he would look to the other side of the road. Turns out, lusting with your peripheral vision is pretty much impossible.
Second, whenever he was tempted to look at the jogger, he would instantly tell himself off for breaking a covenant – an agreement he’d made between himself and God.
The author used this concept of the covenant to keep himself on the path to purity. Whenever he felt the urge to look in the wrong direction, he’d remind himself of the promise he’d made.
You can use these strategies for your own triggers, in any situation. With time and practice, it will become easier. And eventually, the temptation might even fade altogether.
Give up porn, and rediscover intimacy with your wife
Let’s look at one of the most problematic temptations men face today – pornography.
Porn is more prevalent than ever before. Thanks to technology, we have unprecedented access to hardcore images and videos.
At the same time, the very definition of “hardcore” has evolved into something disturbing that often involves sadomasochism and misogyny.
In short, porn is readily available, and it’s getting more extreme.
On top of that, studies show that habitual use of porn can change our brains. It alters our neural pathways, so it becomes easier to get turned on by a video than by a real-life partner.
As a result, there’s now an epidemic of erectile dysfunction among young men.
So while some men try to convince themselves that porn is harmless, clearly, that’s not the case.
If you repeatedly view pornographic imagery, your sexual tastes will change. You may even struggle to be intimate with your wife.
Pretty alarming, right? But the solution is simple.
You need to break the habit. Treat it like an addiction – which it may well be – and go cold turkey. Give up porn once and for all.
You won’t regret your decision; the benefits aren’t just spiritual. There’s also a sexual payoff for breaking these bad habits. A natural consequence of quitting porn is that you’ll start to feel more desire for your wife.
That’s what happened to one of the authors when he stopped looking at other women, or fantasizing about them. All of a sudden, he found that he couldn’t take his eyes off his wife. After years of marriage, she suddenly became more attractive to him, and their sex life was transformed.
That’s how it should be. It’s fine for men to have a sex drive and a sex life, but these must be expressed within God’s boundaries.
Once you’re free from distractions, you can dedicate your attention to your wife. And if you’ve been married for a while, this is a great opportunity to restore intimacy.
One of the best ways to do this is to slow things down using a process called skin to skin. This exercise is designed to remove any pressure and deepen intimacy.
Here’s how it works. Together with your wife, pick an old TV show to watch – ideally something funny, like a sitcom.
Then, get completely undressed. Make yourselves comfortable in the bedroom, lying down side by side as you watch the show together … but don’t touch. This will help you relax, and create a sense of real intimacy and connection.
Once the show is over, spend some time connecting with your wife. With her consent, touch her and kiss her, but slowly, and without trying to build sexual tension. All you’re looking for is intimacy. Pay attention to how she responds, and really focus on her. Any sexual experiences that follow will be much more intimate.
So, to sum up – cut out the porn, focus all your attention on your wife, and then take your time. By slowing sex down, you’ll speed up the process of rewiring your brain.
And in doing so you’ll experience true freedom – freedom from the habits you’ve been battling for so long.
As a Christian man, you might think sexual impurity is something outside your realm of influence. But even though society and your own brain can work against you, you still have control.
It all boils down to making decisions that are in line with God’s wishes, such as quitting porn.
Choose to break your habits, and commit to following through. Consistency is key. Over time, you can change your neural pathways so that making the right choice becomes easier and more natural.
You can achieve your goal of sexual purity, while nurturing intimacy with your wife. That’s what God wants. Let’s live our lives according to His standards, rather than society’s.
About the Author
Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
Sex, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality
Here’s a brief review of the book “Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time” by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey:
“Every Man’s Battle” is a Christian self-help book that addresses the issue of sexual temptation and how men can overcome it. The authors, Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey, argue that sexual temptation is a common struggle for men and that it can have serious consequences on their relationships, careers, and overall well-being.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part explores the nature of sexual temptation and how it can affect men. The authors argue that sexual temptation is not just a personal problem, but also a spiritual one, and that it can be fueled by various factors such as media, culture, and personal circumstances. They also emphasize the importance of understanding the differences between healthy and unhealthy sexuality.
The second part of the book provides practical strategies for overcoming sexual temptation. The authors suggest a three-step approach that includes recognizing and avoiding triggers, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and seeking help from God and other people. They also emphasize the importance of accountability and transparency in overcoming sexual temptation.
The third part of the book focuses on sustaining victory over sexual temptation. The authors argue that overcoming sexual temptation is not a one-time event, but a lifelong process that requires ongoing effort and commitment. They suggest various strategies for maintaining sexual purity, such as developing a healthy relationship with God, building strong relationships with others, and cultivating healthy habits and practices.
Throughout the book, the authors use real-life examples and stories to illustrate their points, making the book relatable and accessible to readers. They also provide practical tools and resources, such as self-assessment quizzes, discussion questions, and action plans, to help readers apply the principles they have learned.
One of the strengths of the book is its emphasis on the importance of spirituality and faith in overcoming sexual temptation. The authors recognize that sexual temptation is not just a personal issue, but also a spiritual one, and that it requires a spiritual solution. They encourage readers to seek help from God and to cultivate a deep relationship with Him as a way to overcome sexual temptation.
Another strength of the book is its practicality. The authors provide concrete strategies and tools that readers can use to overcome sexual temptation. They also emphasize the importance of accountability and transparency, which can be especially helpful for men who struggle with sexual temptation.
However, some readers may find the book’s approach to sexuality and gender roles to be somewhat traditional or conservative. The book emphasizes the importance of masculinity and femininity, and suggests that men should be strong leaders and providers, while women should be nurturing and supportive. Some readers may find this approach to be limiting or outdated.
In conclusion, “Every Man’s Battle” is a helpful book for men who struggle with sexual temptation. The book provides a comprehensive approach to overcoming sexual temptation, emphasizing the importance of spirituality, self-awareness, and healthy relationships. While some readers may find the book’s approach to gender roles to be traditional or conservative, the book’s practical strategies and tools can be helpful for anyone who wants to overcome sexual temptation and live a healthy and fulfilling life.