After reviewing the deeply flawed "Every Man's Battle I mentioned that I would read another book with the same theme of sexual purity. To that end I purchased "When Good Men Are Tempted" by Bill Perkins. It is an honest and often disturbing look at the subject. The book claims that "Bill Perkins details a plan for sexual integrity - one that works. He shows men how to achieve a purity that will preserve the sanctity of their marriages, the security of their families, the vitality of their walks with God, and the strength of their relationships with their brothers in Christ."
The book begins with an attempt to understand the struggle men face. Perkins shows why naked women look so good and why other naked women look even better than our wives. He speaks of the addictive cycle of trying to repeat "young love" or our first sexual experiences. We want to be able to relive the original excitement we felt during those often illicit experiences. He illustrates these concepts with the example of Samson.
The author's solution to this problem surrounding lust is simply to raise the white flag. We need to surrender to God and admit the problem rather than run from it or try to hide it. Lust, he says, cannot be overpowered, reformed or starved. It needs to be dealt with and dealt with now! To be dealt with it needs to be dragged into the light so we can deal with the shame and guilt. We need to admit specific sins to God and ask Him for His forgiveness.
The close of this section contains a chapter regarding families of origin. This chapter is confusing and often left me confused as the author discussed the codependent roles we assumed as part of our families and how this leads to problems with purity later in life.
Having admitted the struggle, we are now able to find freedom. To do this we must choose our master and count the cost of the one we will choose. To cease a lifestyle of lust the cost of continuing needs to be higher than the cost of quitting. We need to see that continuing in a lifestyle will have consequences in our relationships with our families, our spouses and most importantly, with God. We need to realize that God can fix us and that He wants to fix us. As He fixes us He will help us discover the new men we are through Him. Through Him we have a new perspective, new presence and new power. With these we can now begin to break the addictive cycle that continually leads us to sin. The practical suggestions the author provides are: memorize Scripture, call on God and find what rituals lead us to sin and learn to break those rituals.
The final section focuses mostly on building accountability relationships with other men. Every man needs ally himself with a small group of men who can help him win the battle against lust by holding him accountable. There is a small section about sex and ideas for spicing up a sex life, followed by a chapter detailing some "tools for tight corners" that can be used in a moment of weakness.
The book is written in a personable way that leaves the reader feeling like he has had a personal chat with the author. Perkins admits his own weaknesses, leaving the reader comfortable admitting his own. Perhaps the greatest strength in this book is the emphasis on the "why" of sexual temptation. Having an understanding of the reasons behind temptation gives a solid perspective on how to deal with it. The author does not attempt to blame our lust on Satan, but emphasizes that our sin is ultimately our own and we need to deal with it. If the emphasis on the "why" is the strong point of the book, I would suggest that the "how" is the weak point. It may be, though, that I am looking for a magical key to stopping sinful behavior. Still, as with Every Man's Battle I am left hoping that God truly can remove this sin, rather than just masking it and helping us deal with it time and time again.
In the end, this book does a far better job of dealing with the subject than "Every Man's Battle" and it receives my recommendation.
Title: When Good Men Are Tempted
Author: Bill Perkins