Looking at porn? Mad about your marriage or singleness? Read the intro to Beyond the Battle here.

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 seemingly insurmountable forces 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 cluster 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 living in 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 was that, no matter how strong they were as fighters, they were destined to lose simply because of the overwhelming number of evil forces they faced. It is the same with men fighting against sin. When we adopt a symptom-based or behavior-management approach to sin, we will eventually wear down and lose. The key to victory in The Lord of the Rings story is not found 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, and he knows the way to defeat the enemy is not to attack the symptoms, but to go to the source. 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 will destroy the enemy once and for all—not with a sword, but with a surrender of power.

The point to this metaphor is to show 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 followed up with a cure that goes to the core of the disease. If this never happens, defeat is inevitable.

Beyond the Battle sets out to win not the battle, but the war. More accurately, readers will discover that the war has already been won in Jesus, and will be guided through the process of learning to rely on and rest in his victory.

Order Beyond the Battle: A Man’s Guide to his Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World here.

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