If you are looking for a good book to give away for FREE to those who struggle with the sins of lust and pornography, you’ll want to pick up Jarrod Jones’ 13 Ways to Ruin Your Life. You can download it from his website.
Using Proverbs 7 as the backbone of his book, Jarrod unpacks 13 key points we can learn from the life of the “fool” who found himself lying in the arms of a prostitute.
Jarrod’s simple, candid approach to this subject is refreshing and powerful. He writes from a place of wisdom and experience, confessing his own sins and blunders along the road to living in purity. He gives 13 sure-fire ways to ruin your life in sexual sin:
1. Be Unresolved (Proverbs 7:7)
Too many men today, like the foolish man in Proverbs 7, lack resolve. Jarrod says that resolve is “sticking the flag into the soil of your heart and not looking back. It’s driving home a vow to God to stay committed to your intended purpose” (13 Ways, p.13). Jarrod writes of the resolve of King David who said that he would walk within his house in the integrity of his heart and set no worthless thing before his eyes (Psalm 101). He calls men to clean out private places where they have let sin get a foothold and nurse a holy hatred of lust.
2. Flirt With Temptation (Proverbs 7:8)
Too many men have the attitude that they can “look at the menu” as much as they want, as long as they don’t order anything. Jarrod exposes the ignorance of this attitude with shrewd accuracy. He talks about how the “innocent” looks and playful conversations can lead to bigger problems way too easily, how single men and women live on a razor’s edge of how far is too far. He calls men away from their flirtations with “emotional adultery” and “anything-but-intercourse” boundary lines Christians often set.
3. Feel You’re In Control (Proverbs 7:12,25)
Many men feel they can tame the beast of lust, not considering the enemy they fight. You don’t have to go looking for pornography and lustful images—they will find you. Temptations to sexual immorality are aggressive, accessible, available, and appealing. We can never choose to go toe-to-toe with them and expect to come through them: to choose this is prideful, foolish, and unbiblical. Jarrod talks about how to take God’s way of escape from these temptations.
4. Believe No One Will Know (Proverbs 7:18-20)
The fool of Proverbs 7 believes no one will catch him in his act of adultery—another foolish attitude of someone who constantly gives into porn. Jarrod warns his readers that instead of letting their sin be exposed to others in shame, to live lives of confession, exposing their sin to trusted friends, pastors, or mentors.
5. Take Just One More Look (Proverbs 7:22-23)
Jarrod writes, “The crystal-meth of sexual obsession is Internet sex” (13 Ways, p.45). He talks about the escalation of sexual addiction today due to the prevalence of pornography online, and he explains some of the hormonal reasons behind addiction. Drawing on his own experience with addiction to cigarettes, he shares how God breaks a person of their addictions, and shares about the power of accountability in a person’s life. Ultimately he points his readers to the cross of Christ (Romans 6) as the way to slay the power of sin slavery:
“When the ‘one more look’ drags you toward the sexual sin, take ten long looks at the cross of Jesus. Think about Jesus’ stunning sacrifice, His great love, His awesome freedom, and His gripping grace gifted to you when He saved you by His death on the cross. You are free from addiction and free from struggle and free from sin because He beat it all on the cross. You are no longer a slave to your lusts. You are a son of His love and glory. So embrace the truth and live it by constant repentance and faith.”
6. Act Without Thinking (Proverbs 7:22)
The man of Proverbs 7 is impulsive, which is what leads him to follow the prostitute without thinking. Jarrod calls us to take a serious inventory of our lives, to really think about what we are doing and how we might be crossing the line. When an impulsive heart meets with pornography or with an all-too-vulnerable friendship with someone of the opposite sex, this is the first step on the road to immorality. Jarrod reminds us that we will not stumble into purity or trip into godliness. We must aim for it.
7. Think You’re the Exception (Proverbs 7:26-27)
Men who think that they are somehow different than all other men are either guilty of incredible pride or incredible ignorance (or both). Sexual sin is a road to spiritual death: no exceptions. Jarrod gives his readers another perspective: You don’t want to be the exception. Being the exception means that God never brings your sins to light, never brings you to conviction, and thus never leads to repentance. He speaks to those who feel they are “just in a season” of weakness to be honest with themselves and with God, to admit their selfishness and seek God’s mercy.
8. Learn By Experience (Proverbs 7:1-2)
The fool learned by experience: don’t touch the fire or you will get burned. The very reason why Proverbs 7 was written was so that we never need to learn this lesson by experience. We, all too often, want to learn by experience, even if we are told by wiser people not to do it. Jarrod encourages his readers to take Solomon’s warnings to heart.
9. Live in Denial (Proverbs 7:9,21,25-26)
We all have the tendency to rationalize sin. Jarrod talks about the vulnerable moments when we are likely to want to rationalize: when we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. He gives practical tips about these moments of vulnerability.
10. Deny the Obvious (Proverbs 7:10,13,16)
There are many red flags about the woman in Proverbs 7: she is aggressive, manipulative, scandalous, and seductive. Jarrod powerfully warns his male readers about not getting emotionally or physically involved with certain kinds of women. He teaches men how to handle seductive clothing, sensualized media, and a woman’s sexual advances.
11. Be Gullible (Proverbs 7:13-18)
This chapter is all about not being emotionally gullible or naïve when it comes to getting close to women. Jarrod pokes holes in those seemingly unimportant conversations that can eventually lead to sin. Whether you are single or married, this chapter speaks specifically to your situation. He sets some great boundaries for married men and some great standards for single guys.
12. Make Excuses (Proverbs 7:13,15)
Until we learn to stop making excuses for our sin, we will never find the freedom we want from sin. The man of Proverbs 7 could have easily tried making excuses for himself about how this seductive woman preyed upon him, but in the end he was to blame for his own actions. Jarrod prepares his readers for those difficult confrontations with seductive people and situations. Instead of playing the victim of sexual temptation, Jarrod talks about rejecting all attempts to excuse our sin.
13. Get Hardened to God’s Truth (Proverbs 7:1)
Jarrod reminds us that the book of Proverbs is words of wisdom written by Solomon to his son, but Solomon himself did not deed his own God-given wisdom. In this last chapter, Jarrod warns us about how easily we can become hardened to God’s words and not obey them. He talks about reading, studying, meditating on, and memorizing the Word of God with diligence.
Overall Jarrod’s book is entertaining, refreshing, hard-hitting, cross-centered, and extremely practical. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any Christian man.