In Sexual Sanity for Men: Re-Creating Your Mind in a Crazy Culture, David White of Harvest USA writes a book for men about their struggles with sexual immorality. White’s book is needed in the midst of a culture with expanding opportunities for sexual sin and a church whose skills to address those temptations have, at times, appeared weak. As White seeks to expand the church’s wisdom to address men’s sexual struggles, there is much to commend.
The most important thing that can be said of White’s effort is that he repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ for change. The most significant element of the church’s approach in the battle against sexual immorality does not consist in any process or procedure, but rather in a person whose name is Jesus.
White not only understands the importance of Christ’s power, he also underlines the necessity of connecting that power to the tangible categories of life in the midst of powerful enemies in the culture, the dark desires of humanity, and the prince of the power of the air. Furthermore, White explains that, in his great gospel, God not only forgives us but also gives us actual power to change (91). Readers of White’s book will be frequently encouraged at his wonderful instruction about the power of Jesus to bring strong help in the midst of a problem that can seem overwhelmingly hopeless.
This is the greatest strength of the book, but there are many others. White rightly understands that Christians must battle pride as the primary fuel for sexual immorality, and he has some helpful recommendations for accountability relationships. Additionally, he presents his material in short, easily digestible daily readings spread out over 14 weeks.
Though White’s book is helpful, I wonder how practically accessible it is for those in the midst of an intense struggle with pornography. Though full of wonderful instruction about Christ, the local church, and the way the human heart works, I kept waiting for White to connect this to practical strategies for men locked in a deadly battle against sin.
I read Sexual Sanity for Men as a counselor who has walked with many men along a path from impurity to purity. The Christian men I’ve counseled believe in the power of the gospel and want to lean on it to be different. They agree with me (and White) that the Christian’s pathway to change isn’t fundamentally about a process, but a person. But they also desire to see how the person of Christ connects to an actual strategy for change. In fact, many feel so hopeless because they want to see how their belief in Jesus’ infinite resources actually empowers new behavior. Hope is what happens in the lives of struggling men when a deep awareness of gospel truths leads to tangible differences in behavior.
Men, you can make sexually sane choices! Written for Christian men struggling with any form of sexual brokenness, Sexual Sanity for Men: Re-Creating Your Mind in a Crazy Culture by David White helps men understand that sexual sin starts in their minds and hearts. It shows them how knowing Christ breaks their chains, builds spiritual brotherhood, and helps them take practical steps to re-create their minds in a God-focused direction.
On my reading, White’s first attempt to instruct his readers regarding how gospel belief should translate into gospel behavior happened on Day 2 of Week 12 (pp. 202-03). That’s two-and-a-half months of powerful gospel instruction without clarity on what to do with all that power. In those months, many will be fighting to believe in Jesus, but, without more instruction about what to do with it, will be frustrated in their efforts toward holiness. I’m afraid many men I know wouldn’t make it that far into the book before losing heart.
I’ve read every Christian book and article about pornography of which I’m aware, and I find that Christian writing about pornography falls into one of three categories. Some primarily describe the pervasive problem that pornography poses to our culture. Others seek to provide insight into why men look at pornography. Finally, a few works offer strategies to change. I think most of the Christian material I’ve encountered falls into the first category (descriptions of the problem), while the last category (practical strategies) has the least material. I’m not sure there’s a book available that combines all three. Not fitting neatly into any of these categories, Sexual Sanity for Men offers reflections on the gospel that White wants strugglers to consider.
You should be encouraged to read Sexual Sanity for Men to learn that the power of Christ can bring change into the lives of men with even the most serious sexual struggles. It’s probably most effective to read along with someone who has already done so and would be able to frontload some of the helpful strategies in the back of the book (and to add others) with the wonderful Christ-centered instruction in the beginning of it.