Christian men need help in their fight for sexual purity. But not just any kind of help. We need help that is rooted in the gospel, saturated in the Word of God, balanced well between theological principles and practical strategies, and conveyed in a way that doesn’t inflame the very lust it seeks to remedy.
Heath Lambert’s book offers that kind of help. From beginning to end, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, offers solid hope to any man wrestling with lust, pornography use, and masturbation. Lambert grounds his instructions in the good news of God’s free and total forgiveness in Christ while carefully blending strong exhortations with warm encouragement throughout the book.
Specifically, Lambert discusses the nature of true repentance, the need for effective accountability, the necessity of confession and humility, the role of marriage in the battle against lust, and how Christians cannot simply “use” Jesus to rid their life of pornography, but rather treasure communion with him above all else if they ever hope to make genuine progress.
Lambert also considers the place of thanksgiving in the fight for purity. In chapter 8, Lambert exhorts his readers to “Us[e] Gratitude to Fight Pornography.” Lambert notes that in Scripture, the opposite of gratitude is greed. But greed doesn’t only manifest itself in an inordinate desire for money and possessions. Greed lies at the heart of sexual lust, too. We lust (after money and women) when we are discontent with what we have. In order to cut this greed at the root, we must cultivate consistent thankfulness to God for all he has done for us in Christ. Lambert comments,
In Ephesians 5, we see that God forbids all kinds of sexual immorality. He forbids sexually immoral speech, sexually immoral acts, the impure behaviors that push the lines toward those acts, and the greedy hearts that desire those acts. But God does not just forbid in this passage; he also commends. God says that in place of immorality there should be something else, and that something else is thankfulness.Finally Free, 124-25
Don’t skip past this. Settle in on this idea, and let it sink down deep for a few minutes. It may be the key strategy God wants to use to set you free from your addition to pornography….[God] could have inspired the apostle Paul to write any number of things here: “but rather love or mercy or self-control or joy. instead of any of these wonderful things, God wanted Paul to tel Christians to replace immorality with thanksgiving.
Lambert goes on to show us that lust cannot dwell in a heart that is thankful. How can this be? Lambert explains:
You are grateful when you are glad for and content with what you have. Thankfulness is the opposite of lust because the thankful heart has stopped prowling around for everything it doesn’t have and is overwhelmed with appreciation for all the good things it already possesses. The logic of lust requires you to be discontent with what you have and pay attention to all the things you don’t have. The logical of thankfulness requires you to focus on what you have already received and to be overcome with thanks. Gratitude is the opposite of greed.Finally Free, 126.
How can we start to nurture a heart of thankfulness to God? Consider all that he has blessed you with. He’s given you Christ and the forgiveness of your sins. He’s given you eternal life. He’s blessed you with family and friends that he wants you to love and minister to. He’s given you a job and various responsibilities that he calls you to steward for your glory. He’s given you opportunities to use your gifts inside and outside the church for the good of others. He’s provided for your needs and even given you many things to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17). If you’re married, he’s given you a wife to love and cherish.
In other words, God has poured countless blessings into your life for which you can thank him. As you cultivate a heart of consistent thankfulness, you will find your contentment growing and your lust weakening. While this weapon is not the only one we must employ in our fight for purity, it is a powerful one, and one that will start having an immediate effect.
Brothers, in your fight for sexual purity, I highly recommend you arm yourself with this excellent book.