Editor’s note: All men have the common ground of facing some level of sexual temptation or discontent — whether married or single. In the brand new book Beyond the Battle, pastor Noah Filipiak offers up an accessible, effective, go-to resource for individual or small group use that brings freedom from sexual temptations and connects men deeply to Jesus. Today’s excerpt comes from the book’s introduction, outlining what makes this message different from others on the subject and how to use its resources to begin walking toward freedom.
Win Not the Battle but the War
The Lord of the Rings story comes to a climax in the final battle at Mordor as the forces of good square off against the insurmountable legions of evil. The king Aragorn, the dwarf Gimli, the elf Legolas, and the wizard Gandalf represent the best and strongest warriors for good in Middle Earth. These heroes huddle with their followers in the middle of a plain, while countless foes of darkness close in around them. For every one hero, there seem to be a million enemies.
This is the type of scene that comes to mind for Christian men seeking to fight off the temptations of an oversexualized world. Most men are taught simply to be better warriors — better Gandalfs, Aragorns, Legolases, and Gimlis. Well-meaning advisors and experts teach men how to try harder, think better, manage behavior through mental tricks, and even physically beat themselves into submission. The problem is, no matter how strong the hero in the middle, the enemy continues its barrage with no end in sight.
What Aragorn and his company knew is that no matter how strong they were as fighters, they were destined to lose. It is the same with men fighting against sin. When we adopt a symptoms-based or behavior-management approach to sin, we eventually wear down and lose. The key to victory in The Lord of the Rings story is found not in the mighty warriors’ skill and tactics but in a small and meek hobbit named Frodo. Frodo isn’t a mighty warrior but holds a different type of power. He has a subversive inner power because he knows that the way to defeat the enemy is not to attack his army but to go to the source of his strength. While Aragorn and his mighty company distract the enemy’s eye, Frodo sneaks silently to the enemy’s heart, the core of Mount Doom. This unanticipated move destroys the enemy once and for all — not with a sword but with a surrender of power.
The point to this metaphor is that while the short-term tactics of learning to be a better warrior play a necessary role in the war against sin and should not be dismissed, they must be undergirded with the power that kills the enemy once and for all. If this never happens, defeat is inevitable.
Beyond the Battle sets out to win not the battle but the war. Or rather, we will discover that the war has already been won in Jesus, and we will be guided through the process of learning to rely on and rest in his victory.
This book is written to married and single men. Most of it will apply equally to both, while some sections will feel heavily weighted to one or the other. I don’t want you to be blindsided by this, and I ask that you glean what you can from these sections and stick with the book, knowing it will come back around soon enough.
You’ll get the most transformation in your life if you read this book as a daily devotional. Stop after each section of reading when you see the day number cue and flip to that day’s entry in the “Forty-Day Devotional Guide” in the back of the book for Scripture references, questions for reflection, and a prayer. These are often organized with unique content for married men and single men. You can use this devotional any way you want. You can keep this book next to your Bible and pull both out daily for the next forty days. Or if you’d rather read the book uninterrupted and in longer chunks, by all means do so. You can bypass the devotionals altogether and then do a second round of the book where you focus on the daily devotional exercises and revisit the chapters when needed.
The book is also best read with other men and we’ve made it as easy as possible for that to happen. Visit www.beyondthebattle.net/videos for free small group video curriculum that includes everything you need to run your own seven-week small group with your friends or men’s group.
You can also visit www.beyondthebattle.net if you’d like to go through this curriculum with me and my Beyond the Battle team leading you. Alumni of the beyondthebattle.net online groups are invited into a free weekly video call with me and other alumni to review the truths of the book and for prayer, community, and accountability.
Excerpted with permission from Beyond the Battle: A Man’s Guide to His Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World by Noah Filipiak, copyright Noah Filipiak.
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How does the idea of a “surrender of power” resonate with you as an alternative to fighting harder, thinking better, or just managing behavior when it comes to sin in our lives? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
“In a world communicating many messages regarding sexuality, this book is an excellent resource to keep men of God entrenched in the freedom & power of the gospel. It’s a great resource for those looking to honor Christ with their lives.”
— Kirk Cousins, NFL Pro Bowl Quarterback
“To any Christian, married or single, who longs for sexual integrity, this book is a godsend. Noah Filipiak flips the script on contemporary “purity culture,” offering a refreshing and intensely practical gospel-driven way to find serenity in our sexuality. I highly recommend it!”
— Nate Larkin, founder of the Samson Society, author of Samson and the Pirate Monks
“In an age of purity movements on the one hand and sexual indulgence on the other, Noah focuses on the gospel and how it’s essential for understanding our sexual brokenness. This book is brimming with gospel-centered wisdom!”
— Preston Sprinkle, President of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender and New York Times Best-selling Author