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If you have struggled personally against the powerful draw of pornography, or if you have ever tried to help someone fighting this battle, you know how hard it is to break free. But real freedom isn’t found by trying harder to change. Nor is it found in a particular method or program. Only Jesus Christ has the power to free people from the enslaving power of pornography.
In Finally Free, Dr. Heath Lambert, a leader in the biblical counseling movement, lays out eight ...
If you have struggled personally against the powerful draw of pornography, or if you have ever tried to help someone fighting this battle, you know how hard it is to break free. But real freedom isn’t found by trying harder to change. Nor is it found in a particular method or program. Only Jesus Christ has the power to free people from the enslaving power of pornography.
In Finally Free, Dr. Heath Lambert, a leader in the biblical counseling movement, lays out eight gospel-centered strategies for overcoming the deceitful lure of pornography. Each chapter clearly demonstrates how the gospel applies to this particular battle and how Jesus can move readers from a life of struggle to a life of purity.
If you or someone you care about is fighting this battle, there is good news: No matter how intense or long-standing the struggle, Jesus Christ can, will, and does set people free from the power of pornography.
“I’ve read just about every Christian book on the topic of pornography. Finally Free is now the number one book I will recommend to pastors, counselors, strugglers, and those who love them.
- Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Biblical Counseling Coalition; Author, Sexual Abuse: Beauty for Ashes
“This book is richly biblical, soundly Christian, and centered in the gospel. Christians should read it and quickly pass it to others. It will be of enormous help to pastors, youth ministers, college ministers, and the Christians of all ages struggling against the tide of our pornographic age.”
- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Grace as the Foundation in the Fight against Pornography
Matt is a nineteen-year-old college student who discovered pornography at the age of eight when his uncle showed him a video and told him not to tell anybody. Taylor is thirty and never even thought about pornography until succumbing to the temptation of an advertisement in a hotel room on a trip out of town. Ethan has been married for ten years and saw a report on the news about the pornography industry one evening. His curiosity was piqued, and he searched the Internet "just to see what all the fuss was about." Sarah is a single thirty-five-year-old who began looking at pornography as a way to fantasize and get her mind off her loneliness.
I know dozens of people (men and women) who struggle with pornography. Each was introduced to pornography in a different way. Some people sought it out, while others were introduced to it by sinful people. Regardless, pornography has now chewed them up and spit them out. At the beginning of the journey, watching people commit acts of sexual immorality seemed fun, intriguing, comforting, and exhilarating. Now, the sin has bitten back hard. Their hearts are weighed down with guilt, their relationships are strained, their view of sex is corrupted, and their Christian witness is marred.
I know these people. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have sat with them, cried with them, and talked with them for hours. I have seen firsthand the carnage that pornography has inflicted on their lives. Perhaps you or someone God has given to you to help can identify with their stories.
Perhaps you, like them, began to look at pornography with rationalizations that made a certain amount of twisted sense at the time. How bad can it be? It's just this once, then never again. My spouse doesn't seem that interested in me. It might actually help our marriage for me to have another sexual outlet. I'm sick of feeling lonely. I deserve this. Now, the sandy foundation holding up those lies has eroded, and you are in turmoil. You desperately want help to get out of the mess, but you don't know how—or even where to begin. In fact, you are deeply afraid you're so trapped that there may be no means of escape.
If this describes you, then I have breathtakingly good news to offer: Jesus Christ died to set you free from every sin that can be committed. That includes pornography.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
It is possible to be free from pornography. Because of his grace, God sent his Son to pay the just penalty for the sins we all commit. When you believe in God's grace toward you, you get God's righteousness. You can be forgiven and free when you trust in Christ and what he has done for you, no matter how many times you have looked at pornography and how hopeless the struggle can feel. When this seems like it isn't true, it's because you are thinking more about yourself and your porn than you are about Jesus and his grace. You can be free, but freedom requires grace.
It is a wonderful blessing to live in a time and place in which large numbers of Christian leaders and laypeople are focusing on the gospel of Jesus in new, fresh, and powerful ways. Multiple books, sermons, and blogs describe the rich resources of grace that overflow from the good news about Jesus. While this current emphasis is admirable, there is a danger that grace can become a topic we discuss rather than a power we experience. We can never be saturated with too much grace. The danger in our day is taking grace for granted and not considering how to make it practical.
I want to heed my own warning. I don't want to just talk about grace in this book; I want to show you how you can make use of the grace of Jesus in your fight against pornography. In Romans 1:5, Paul writes, "Through [Jesus Christ] we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name's sake." Here Paul is teaching that God has given his people grace so that they are able to obey and bring honor to the name of Christ among the nations. Grace is not merely "unmerited favor" — that God has a pleasing disposition toward us; grace is also power. Grace is divine strength given to us so we can live in ways that please God. God is calling Christians to obedience in Romans 1:5. He is also promising that we will have the power to accomplish this obedience. God's gift of grace is the power to obey.
I want to show you how to seize two important aspects of God's grace in your struggle against pornography.
The first thing you absolutely must know about God's powerful grace is that through grace God forgives our sins. Listen to what the Bible says about this forgiving grace in Colossians 2:13–14: "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross."
God describes in shocking terms how we can have these amazing blessings. We have life and forgiveness—but these things do not come cheaply.
Paul gives a sobering illustration of this when he compares the sins we have committed to a credit card bill—a "charge of our legal indebtedness." The sins we commit do not vanish into the air, but are documented and preserved. Just like we must pay our credit card bills to avoid legal penalties, so the record of our sin debt makes demands on us that are legally binding. The legal demand of our sin debt is divine punishment. Sin must be paid for. But here we discover a glorious truth: even though you and I are entirely and solely responsible for our sin debt, God makes provision for the debt himself by nailing that debt to the cross of Christ and satisfying its demands. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, he paid for all of our sin. Every instance of treasuring images of sexual immorality in our hearts, every eager glance at pornography, all of our lustful gawking—everything—is paid for by Jesus in his death for sinners.
The news gets even better. Forgiving grace is only one part of the power Jesus gives. God's powerful grace also gives us strength to live in new ways. Forgiving grace is wonderful and essential, but sinners need more than forgiveness. It's not enough that our record of debt is paid; we also need grace to live like Jesus; we need grace that changes us so we can be like him in his holiness and love. In Romans 6:4, Paul declares, "We were therefore buried with [Christ] through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
Paul is talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. For all who trust in Jesus, his death and resurrection is also our death and resurrection. Jesus' death and resurrection not only pays off our record of debt and gives us forgiving grace; Jesus' death and resurrection leads to our transformation. Through God's transforming grace we can live a new life because of what Jesus has done for us.
Many people spend a lot of time pursuing forgiveness. They beg and plead for forgiveness after indulging in pornography, but they don't know what to do next. The Bible teaches that in addition to confessing sin and seeking God's forgiveness, you need to pursue God's powerful transforming grace by believing the good news and walking in faith and obedience to the gospel. God's grace pardons you and forgives your sin, and God's grace empowers you to live differently and be obedient to him.
Oh, how you must treasure the sweetness of this grace! You need to ask for forgiving grace after you look at pornography, but don't stop there! Ask for God's transforming grace, his power to change you from the inside out. Because God is faithful to his Word and his promises, over time you will receive God's power to never look at pornography again. God's powerful transforming grace can give you a pure heart, and you can subdue your desires for pornography. You can honor your brothers and sisters in Christ when you look at them instead of dishonoring them. You can have all of this, and more. You just can't get it in your own strength and effort. You need the powerful transforming grace of Jesus.
God's powerful transforming grace is available to you, but many people don't know how to make use of it. Having the power of Jesus to change without knowing how to use that power is almost like not having the power at all. It's like being stranded on an island with a fueled-up airplane you don't know how to fly. It is crucial to discover how to grasp God's grace if you are going to benefit from it. If you want to use Jesus' transforming grace, you have to do something so easy that many people find it impossible.
You have to believe it.
Transforming grace works when you believe that Jesus gives it to you. The moment you believe in Jesus' grace to change you, you are changing. The more you continue to believe it, the more you will continue to change.
Paul writes, "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). Paul is saying that you are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ when you count it to be true; that is, when you believe it. If you want to change and be like Christ—whether in the area of pornography or anything else—you must believe that in Jesus you have the power to change. When you believe the power is yours, it is yours.
Repentance and Grace
Forgiving grace and transforming grace are crucial for Christians to embrace. Repentance is the way we grasp and unite these two essential aspects of God's grace. In the aftermath of sin, we must learn to interact with God through repentance. In the Bible, repentance describes the process of moving from sinful living to obedient living. When we repent, we must always take at least three clear steps. You can remember these three essential steps by using the acronym CAR.
The first step in the process of repentance is to confess your sin. The apostle John writes, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8–9). Sinners need grace more than anything else, including the grace to recognize and admit our sin. We reject grace when we deny our sin, according to John. When you deny your sin, you deny yourself access to God's grace. When you admit your sin to God, you access his grace. The first step in repentance is to talk to God and tell him about your sin. He already knows this, of course, but we still need to tell God about the sin we are aware of in our life. In a marriage, when a husband has an angry outburst and speaks harshly to his wife, he must still admit his wrong and seek forgiveness—even though she experienced it and knows it happened. In the same way, every Christian who struggles with sexual immorality needs to humble himself or herself before God, telling God what he already knows.
The second step in the process of repentance is to affirm God's forgiveness of your sin. John provides two directions to follow (see 1 John 1:8–9). First, he gives a command to obey: you must confess your sins. Second, he gives a message to believe: when you confess your sin, God is faithful to forgive and cleanse you. It is easier to talk to God about your sin than it is to believe you are forgiven. Perhaps this is your struggle.
You may find yourself thinking about all the pornographic images you've seen, the lustful heart you've nurtured, or the number of people broken by your immorality. These sorrows are part of the consequence of sin. When you dwell disproportionately on your sin and its consequences, however, you are neglecting God's grace. There is a time and a place to be broken over your sin and to soberly consider its consequences (the next chapter is devoted to this topic). After you have confessed your sin, however, you must fight to affirm what God says about you. For all who confess their sin, God pronounces the verdict "forgiven" and "clean." If God pronounces you forgiven and clean, you are forgiven and clean. While it may seem humble and modest to question God's forgiveness, it is actually prideful and arrogant to refuse to believe what God declares to be true about you. Repentance means affirming what God says about you.
The third step in the process of repentance is to request Jesus' grace to change. We have already seen the amazing power available to Christians in the work of Jesus. We must also recognize the biblical warning that is too often true of us as prayerless followers of Jesus: "You do not have because you do not ask God" (James 4:2). Having confessed your sin and trusted in God's forgiveness, you now need to ask God for the specific grace to be different.
It is important to talk about repentance because repentance is the means by which you lay hold of Jesus' forgiving and transforming grace. It is possible to talk about how grace forgives and transforms us but never actually experience those graces. God does not just want us to know about these graces; he wants us to live them out. The way we practically live, experience, and are transformed by the grace of Jesus is to talk to God about it. Asking for and believing in God's forgiveness of our sin and his power to change us is essential to experiencing it.
Knowing this changes the way we will respond to failure in the battle against pornography. We typically respond to moral failures with mental punishments. You've probably experienced this. You sin and look at pornography. Then you start thinking, I'm terrible. I'm awful. What was I thinking? If my friends knew what I was doing, they would never talk to me again. I can never be in ministry if I don't quit doing this. What if my spouse finds out? What if my girlfriend finds out? What if my parents find out? What if my pastor finds out? What if people at church find out? I don't deserve to be a Christian. Maybe I'm not a Christian. On and on and on it goes. You cycle through these mental punishments that grow out of guilt and fuel even more guilt.
None of this is helpful, but it's what most people do in their struggle with pornography and lust. Mental punishments are not helpful because they deal with sin in a self-centered way instead of a Christ-centered way. Meditating on how miserable and pathetic you are only perpetuates the sinful self-centeredness that led you to look at pornography in the first place. Condemning self-talk still has you standing center stage as you reflect on what you think about what you have done, and as you describe what you think you deserve because of what you did. It's all about you. The problem is there is too much you in all this. You need Christ. And the only way to break the vicious cycle is to get outside of yourself to Jesus. You need to stop talking to yourself in categories of condemnation and begin talking to God in categories of confession.
What I just shared with you is a big deal. You should pay attention to it and reread it if you didn't catch it. As the Lord sets you free from the sin of pornography, this will be one of the biggest changes he will make in your life. You will learn to stop responding to pornography by talking to yourself with condemning words and thoughts and start responding to your sin by talking to God with prayers of confession. Self-talk and self-condemnation do nothing to lay hold of God's forgiving and transforming grace. Repentance does.
The tide will begin to turn in your struggle against pornography when you begin to grasp forgiving grace and transforming grace, as you learn to repent. To experience freedom, you must repent. You will need to come to Christ in your brokenness, frustration, disgust, and shame. You must talk to him about it. Tell him what you did. Tell him what you were thinking and wanting. Be honest. Cry and ask him to forgive you. Ask him for grace to be different. As you do this, you are moving away from trusting in yourself as the solution to your sin and approaching the throne of grace where Jesus is ready to respond with mercy to help you in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Hope and Grace
God's grace gives birth to hope. There is a good chance you've picked up this book in despair. Perhaps you recently indulged in pornography for the zillionth time and have finally had enough. Perhaps a spouse, parent, coworker, or law enforcement authority discovered your secret indulgence and now you're in trouble at home, church, or work, or with the law. Regardless of your exact circumstances, you're despairing that change can ever be possible.
It's not as though despair is unreasonable. It makes sense to despair as you look at a devastating problem that has hooked millions of people before you and will trap millions more after you. It makes sense to despair as you look at life-altering consequences—a broken relationship with the Lord, a damaged relationship with your spouse, suspicions from your children, parents, or friends, and a lost job or ministry position. It makes sense to despair as you look within and see a total inability to change by means of your own resources. There are many legitimate reasons to despair when you consider these bleak realities.
Excerpted from Finally Free by Heath B. Lambert. Copyright © 2013 Heath B. Lambert. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted September 12, 2013
Heath Lambert says he did not write Finally Free to address the dangers of pornography–how it poisons relationships, isolates individuals and victimizes those in the industry. There are other books on the market which discuss this at length. Many people who struggle with pornography know the problems associated with it but still live in bondage. Leath wrote Finally Free to proclaim that real freedom is possible through grace through Jesus Christ.
Leath applies the Bible to the problem of porn first by sharing the way grace enables us to live free from this sin and secondly, he presents eight measures to ensure that we live out that freedom.
Grace is foundational. Jesus died for you because of this sin. Jesus came to set you free. In Christ, we who were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) have been set free!
Real freedom from pornography is possible in Christ! I appreciate that he doesn’t assume every struggler with pornography is male. In his opening chapter on grace he writes, “I know dozens of people (men and women) who struggle with pornography. Each was introduced to pornography in a different way. (17)” One problem I have with a lot of Christian books dealing with pornography, is that they assume it is an exclusively male sin. This compounds the isolation and shame of female strugglers. I loved that Lambert was conscious enough of this to offer his pastoral counsel to both men and women. Unfortunately after the first page, all the examples focus on male struggle (these are mostly anecdotes drawn from Lambert’s own counseling ministry), but the intention is there.
I also think that the advice in this book is sound and applicable not only to the sin of pornography, but other vices as well. Gamblers, drug addicts and perfectionists can apply the principles in this book to their own problems. The specific topic of this book is pornography, but because Lambert roots his approach to counseling in biblical counsel, he is necessarily applying biblical principles to a specific twenty-first century context. These principles can just as easily can be applied to other sins, and help Christians strive towards greater freedom and holiness.
I commend this book. I think it is one of the better books on helping Christians gain freedom from pornography. There are places I want to nuance what Lambert says. For example, he tends to talk about pornography in terms of lust and adultery (which it is), but he says little about the desire for relationship and connection which both drives strugglers to pornography and causes them to feel profound shame and isolation. I also do not share his general suspicion of psychology which drives the Nouthetic Counseling approach. I do agree that much of the psychological literature is written from a secular and materialist bias, and that the fundamental problem humans face is Sin. So my view is probably closer to Lambert’s than most psychology. Yet I also appreciate some psychological insights and think that it would complement this book well.
I give this book four stars and recommend it for those who are struggling with pornography, those who are ministering to others, and other strugglers. I believe if you put these principles into practice, taking care that you are rooted in an experience of God’s grace, you will experience freedom in Christ.
Thank you to Zondervan and Cross Focused Reviews for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Posted October 5, 2013
As many books have been written on this topic from a Christian perspective, it’s still not enough. With the epidemic that is pornography addiction among men, there needs to be more resources, low cost and within the reach of the everyday man. Finally Free by Heath Lambert is a most excellent guide through the process of undoing the damage that addiction to pornography has done. Heath writes very practically and does not pull any punches when it comes to speaking frankly about this topic and each chapter has very concise and did I say practical? steps that must be completed. Commitments to prayer, seeking God, removing suggestive or weak points (removing the computer from the bedroom, locking down the internet or removing the computer and/or internet from the home altogether in extreme cases) and seeking accountability male accountability partners who are strong in these areas are all important aspects of this book. ¿¿What I most appreciated about this book was simply it’s practicality. There are few resources out there that speak simply and tangibly about how to get free from this addiction. Each chapter is clearly articulated and laid out and although there is no group guide and leader’s manual, This could be a value added resource.
What I was not impressed with (and these are very minor issues) was the forward by Josh Harris. I don’t buy into a lot of what Josh Harris writes about and was not on board with his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. The other thing that I found lacking was the absence of group and leader’s guides. If it hasn’t already, this book should quickly be adapted to a small group study. I know this would be a huge resource for men’s groups and a book like this would adapt very well to this type of format. ¿¿Overall, a delicate subject handled very well by Heath Lambert. I would like to see more along this subject line from him in the future.
Posted September 30, 2013
Porn addiction is a growing problem in America, for both Christians and non-Christians alike. The ability to access pornographic images on cell phones and computers without having to actually go out and purchase dvds or magazines, has given society a whole new level of anonymity when it comes to sexual addictions. The Grace of God and a Savior who can help you overcome ANY sin is much bigger than porn though, and author Heath Lambert covers this well in his new book “Finally Free.” Written not only for those addicted to pornography, but also for friends, family members, spouses and counselors, Lambert covers multiple ways in which a relationship with Jesus can help one overcome this addiction.
Although this book is aimed at those who struggle with pornography, the methods and ideas suggested in his book could bless many of us who need to overcome any manner of addictions—or any number of sins for that matter. The author speaks from experience, not only his own struggle with addiction, but from many years of counseling individuals who are desperately breaking out of their addiction to pornography. Although he condemns the action of pornography consumption, he very much takes up the attitude of, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” which would make this book much easier to recommend to a friend who struggled with porn.
The real life examples (with names changed of course), involve men he has counseled over the years, and lend an air of understanding that a typical counselor might not convey. You feel for these men, their wives and families and I even found myself praying for them as I read their stories played out on the pages of “Finally Free.” The end of the book thoughtfully includes a chapter devoted to wives and girlfriends, validating what they might be feeling and explaining the best way they might be able to help their husband.
Overall, I was very impressed with this book, especially compared to others on the market, geared towards those with sexual addictions. I would recommend Mr. Lambert’s new book “Finally Free” to anyone with an addiction to pornography, a spouse involved with porn or simply those who wish to better understand how to help those trapped in the web of sexual addiction. This book gives you the tools to help others (or yourself) with a compassionate heart, rather than focusing on the enormity of the sin itself.
(In accordance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, the publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Cross Focused Reviews.)
Posted September 28, 2013
Cross Focused Reviews provided me with the opportunity to review this book. Finally Free is gospel centered, practical and spiritually uplifting. While the author addresses pornography in sufficient detail, I found this book an excellent primer on Christian discipleship as well. If you go with Lambert's advice, you will continue to grow long after you no longer feel trapped by pornography. This book is hopeful. Buy it, read it, be blessed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2013
Pornography is major issue among Christians today. I will admit to knowing quite a few people that have struggled with this, and also point to this reality: porn exists because people support it. We can fume about the ‘industry’ all day long, the ready availability on the Internet all we want, but consumers stopped paying to see people participate in sexual activity, then it wouldn’t be there.
And the reality is, there are far too many of us who claim to walk with God that support pornography. At the core of this is our addiction to evil. Some people cannot see the attraction to pornography, and then return to another sin that they cannot shake. It’s not about the porn, really, it is truly about being hooked on sin.
Onto this stage comes Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert. This is a short read, addressing eight major strategies for fighting away from pornography in your life.
The opening and closing chapters, though, are the most valuable. Lambert’s basis in Finally Free is that of God’s grace. We can fight sin, of any kind, by the power of God’s grace. Lusting after pornography certainly fits that category.
Some of Lambert’s concepts are not new here. Most of us have heard that accountability partners, blocking software, and honesty with our spouses will help fight pornography. These tools are valuable and should not be neglected. Finally Free touches on these and others.
I do find Finally Free to be over-focused on married men. Information shows that women also struggle with pornography, and single folks have temptations too. Unfortunately, the bulk of the suggestions for the single person seem to hinge on how porn will affect their marriage later, rather than how to deal with it as they are. This also leads to an undercurrent of seeing marriage as something to enter into just to avoid sexual sin, when that is not the best approach to marriage.
In all, Finally Free is a useful little book, but I think its applicability is a little more limited than intended. The content is straightforward, which is helpful. I would hesitate, though, to push it as a must-read. Not due to any errors but simply due to what feels like a lopsided look at the problem.
Summary? 3 stars. I’m not sure there’s anything better on the market, but I’m not convinced this one fills the hole, either.
Free book provided by publisher in exchange for review.
Posted September 12, 2013
What an incredible book! Let's start right off with the fact that this is like no other book on pornography I have ever read. Instead of being about statistics, guilt and strategies to keep pornography away from yourself, it is a book about what is more excellent. I am reminded of a famous sermon by Puritan Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, which says it does no good to remove idols and sinful acts from our lives if we do not replace them with something greater. And this is what Heath Lambert does here. He begins the book with the introduction and first chapter setting out what matters most, God's grace. And only this will save a person out of pornography. Lambert does it like an experienced theologian. His explanation of what it means to have God's grace given to you not because of what you have done but because of what Christ has done for us, is some of the best writing I have read over the past year on this topic. Short, succinct and powerful! This combined with the final chapter and conclusion make up the true heart of this book. Whether you are struggling with pornography right now or not these sections are incredible and should be read by all. Chapters 2-8 deal with strategies based on God's grace for dealing with pornography. Chapter 4 is the most powerful chapter of these in that it lays out why we must cut ourselves off from pornography before we can truly understand God's grace for us.
Overall I would highly recommend this book for everyone. Especially those addicted to pornography and for those who may not be addicted but are struggling with lust that has not manifested itself yet as true addiction.
Posted September 11, 2013
"Finally Free" by Heath Lambert is a book that I imagine many, many people need to read. The subtitle of this book is "Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace". This is the concept with which people must face their temptations in life. And it is the foundation of this incredible book.
Heath Lambert will take you on a journey in this book of self-discovery and getting closer to God. If you have an issue with pornography, this is the book to read. Lambert asserts in the very beginning of the book that the only way you can get through your struggle, as a Christian, is by grace that forgives you and grace that transforms you.
Lambert goes through several methods which can help you in your struggle against pornography. This could include having an accountability partner, including your spouse in your fight, or even throwing out your computer as a drastic measure. He also talks about internal things you will need to use to fight the pornography, like humility and sorrow. Questions are included at the end of each chapter for self-reflection.
I think this is a great book. Lambert doesn't bash Christians with this issue, but guides them on a true path to repentance and change. What's more, he speaks from personal experience, so he really knows what he is talking about. I would highly recommend this book if you struggle with pornography, or any addiction, really, or if you know someone who does.
Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Zondervan for providing me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Posted September 11, 2013
Let me begin my review by saying this has just become my 'Go To' book in helping anyone deal with sexual sins like pornography. However, don't let the word 'pornography' scare you off. These strategies Lambert lays out would be great in the fight for faith against so many other sins: jealousy, envy, greed, discontentment, anxiety, fear, worry, covetousness, gluttony and any number of other sins.
How can I claim a book that clear has as it's subtitle 'Fighting For Purity With the Power of Grace' be for anything other than sexual sin? Because of the emphasis upon Jesus' grace and it's power to transform. Heath Lambert writes with power because he writes about grace. He offers tremendous hope to sinners like me & you because he writes about the grace of God in Christ Jesus. He doesn't offer a program. This isn't some 40-days to purity methodology that's doomed to fail on day 45! This is the life-changing, life-shaping, life-long-fulfilling grace of God in Jesus.
I took notes as I read this book; eight typed pages of notes, in fact. I wanted to include them as part of this review, but I normally try to stick to about 250-300 words. So instead, I'll list the eight strategies first and if I have space, I'll make a few more comments:
Using Sorrow to Fight Pornography
Using Accountability to Fight Pornography
Using Radical Measures to Fight Pornography
Using Confession to Fight Pornography
Using Your Spouse (or Your Singleness) to Fight Pornography
Using Humility to Fight Pornography
Using Gratitude to Fight Pornography
Using a Dynamic Relationship with Jesus to Fight Pornography
In all of this, Lambert is quick to start out emphasizing over and over: Grace is the foundation in this fight. Without it, you won't change; not truly. Without it, you have no hope, and if there's anything you need in this kind of fight, it's hope that it can happen. But with grace, with Jesus, well, all things are possible and you can do all things in and through Jesus Christ.
I know several people I need to whom I need to commend this book. And there are probably many others I'm not aware of who need to read this book. Perhaps my church, or your church, need to invest in multiple copies of this book and give it to the men, whether they struggle against pornography or not. I wonder if God just might use it to transform His church into the pure, spotless, unwrinkled bride she is meant to be.
Posted September 10, 2013
There are many books on pornography. I should know. As an author of one of them, I have read the lion's share of them.
Author and professor of Biblical Counseling, Dr. Heath Lambert, also admits there are many books out there on pornography. Many focus on the information about the industry--money spent, number of movies made, people involved, etc. Other books focus on the devastating impact pornography has on the person entrenched in pornography, including how it can impact their marriage, employment and their loved ones. Yet others focus on the spiritual impact pornography has on these people, harmful impacts on their ministry and the tarnished impact on their witness to others as a Christian (pp. 11-12). So what else is there to say?
In his book Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, Lambert wants his reader to know his book is going to be different. He focuses on the grace and power of Jesus Christ and how his reader can set them free from the chains of pornography. Lambert sets out to provide tools that are based on Biblical principles and rooted in Scripture.
The Bottom Line
Finally Free accomplishes its desired impact--being a grace-filled, scripturally sound book that points its reader to the tools for fighting for purity. Lambert has chapters based on each tool for his reader to aid his reader in breaking out of the web of pornography. These include using the message of grace in the Gospel as the very foundation of the fight against pornography along with eight tools for the fight. He further points his reader to be aware of the sorrow created by viewing pornography. The need for accountability and the book is specifically designed so that accountability would be possible through following its format. He also supports radical measures such as cutting off contact with the means of gaining access to pornography (Internet, smart phone, etc.). He promotes using the spouse (or future spouse) to fight pornography, but not through accountability; rather through understanding the marriage relationship and harm pornography is having on the spouse. He encourages confession and making amends as a means of fighting and recovery from pornography use. He also suggests that Humility and Gratitude have a place in fighting pornography. Ultimately, one's relationship with Christ is the very foundation for fighting porn. Lambert focuses on the specifics in attaining the relationship with Christ that will successfully free a person from pornography.
This is a very practical, easy to use guide. It would best be used in a small group or in an accountability relationship with two or more. It is designed for men or for women, but may have more of a bend towards men. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as an aid in fighting and freeing oneself from pornography. It is a solid biblical guide, and grace filled source to encourage anyone in their battle. I think it could also be a help to spouses in understanding the fight and encouraging her husband in fighting pornography. This of course is no substitute for her working through her own impact as my book states, but I believe many will be richly impacted by this useful source. I give this book five of five stars.
Posted September 10, 2013
Addictions dot the landscape of our homes, families, businesses, schools, and churches today. Everyday people battle enslavement to everything from alcohol to drugs, food to work, success to sex. In his new book, “Finally Free; Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace”, author Heath Lambert deals head-on with an addiction that is destroying the moral fabric of America today; pornography. This book is not about pornography, per se. This is not a book that will tell how many are involved in the industry. This is not a book that will reveal how many billions of dollars the porn industry generates every year. This book will not tell you anything about the avenues by which individuals view pornography every day. The purpose of this book, in Lambert’s own words, “is about something much better than pornography. This book is about the amazing power of Jesus Christ to free you from pornography. In this book, I want to share with you the amazing depth and affect of Christ’s power to eradicate pornography from your life”.
In Finally Free, Lambert lays out a series of practical steps for those who are struggling with pornography. His book contains nine chapters in which he lays out eight methods meant to help a person battling pornography. Lambert begins with the pivotal aspect of this battle; God’s grace. He speaks of the forgiving and transforming graces of God that make freedom possible. His forgiving grace forgives the individual of partaking in pornography and His transforming grace takes away the desire to view by filling the individual with more of Christ Himself. Lambert speaks of eight methods of battle. He writes of using sorrow, accountability, confession, humility, gratitude, and several others to fight off the desires to engage in pornography. It is not a matter of “check all boxes and be free”; rather, his book leaves the reader with practical means of applying God’s grace to their life. His theology is so solid that the eight methods could be applied against any addiction with positive results.
Of all the books that have been written recently in the “resist pornography” arena, Finally Free is head and shoulders above the rest. His book is practical, humble, loving and balances scripture, personal stories, and humor perfectly. This book will help those struggling with pornography, as well as those who are walking along side someone in the battle. Smart. Powerful. This will be one of those books that will remain at the front of the pornography addiction conversation for years to come. I highly recommend.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from CrossFocused Reviews as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted September 9, 2013
Pornography is a big problem in the Christian community. You knew that, right? It used to be that a guy had to face the shame of going into a porn store to get it. Now it's widely available through the internet, can be viewed in the secrecy of the home, and a lot of it is free. Studies have shown that 30 to 50% of Christian men are looking a porn on a regular basis.
Lambert is Exec. Director of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, Asst. Professor of Biblical Counseling at Boyce College, a teacher at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a paostor.. In these roles he has extensive experience dealing with the scourge of pornography, and out of that experience and biblical knowledge has written a very good book on achieving freedom from porn.
There are lots of books out on overcoming porn. Most of them condemn the behavior as sin and point out its disastrous effects on users' spiritual lives and marriages. This one also does that. Many books offer techniques to overcome the sin, such as accountability partners, porn-blocking software, etc. This one also does that. However, there are not many books out that point to understanding God's GRACE, learning deep gratitude for that grace and increasing love and passion for Jesus, as the keys to freedom. This one does that!
"Transforming grace works when you believe that Jesus gives it to you.....If you want to change and be like Christ - whether in the area of pornography or anything else - you must believe that in Jesus you have the power to change. when you believe the power is yours, it is yours." (page 23)
"No matter how terrible pornography is, no matter how much trouble you are in, no matter ow flimsy and weak your resources are, you are never in a pit so deep that the grace of Jesus cannot lift you out. The great danger in your struggle is that you will devote all our your energy to thinking true and awful things about pornography and spend no time dwelling on the true and wonderful things about Jesus." (page 28)
I was impressed by the book's exposition of the connection between porn addiction and pride, and the value of HUMILITY in overcoming sin.
"If you look at pornography, you are arrogant....The choice is simple and clear: you can look at porn, or you can be humble. But you cannot do both." (pages 108-109)
"It's only when you rightly understand that selfish ambition is at the root of your sexual sin that the full power of grace will be set loose in your life to change you... As you fight to cultivate a heart of humility, you will also be severing the root of arrogance and selfish ambition that allows pornography to flourish in your life." (pages 110-111)
The emphasis on GRATITUDE as a weapon against sexual sin was also surprising and unique.
"Paul wants Christians to fight for thanksgiving in their struggle for purity because a greedy heart is at the root of sexual immorality and impurity" (page 125)
"Gratitude is the offensive weapon that destroys the enemy stronghold of greed that is at the source of your desire for pornography.' (page 126)
I believe that this book can be and will be a long-term key ingredient and resource in the counselling ministries of Christian leaders helping men (and women) get free from porn. I highly recommend it for men and women seeking freedom from porn, and for their spouses, friends and counselors who want to help them.
(Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review purposes)
Posted September 9, 2013
Pornography takes its toll on men and women all over the world everyday. Its effects can be seen in broken families, distorted self-images, and warped senses of self-satisfaction. Pornography has all of the promises of sin and all of the destruction. It is the promise of satisfaction that ultimately leaves the user and its actors completely unsatisfied. This epidemic has not avoided the church or the pastors that serve her. It seems everyone has been swept up into the web of this vicious lover and she does not let go easily. There is hope…
Heath Lambert has written a book that points readers to this hope in Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace. Lambert takes a bare knuckles approach to the fight against pornography in a way that also extends grace and mercy to the users and their families. In fact, the very center of Lambert’s approach is the grace of God that has been made known through Jesus Christ. From this center of God’s grace the fight is taken to the sin of self-satisfaction through pornography.
Lambert argues for eight areas where this sin must be attacked. He explains that sorrow, accountability, radial measures, confession, your spouse (or singleness), humility, gratitude, and a focus on the pure worth of Jesus Christ will allow you and your family to be finally free from the ravages of porn addiction.
If you are looking for someone to excuse the sin or to explain away the behavior by focusing on why so many are effected by porn then you need to look elsewhere. Lambert takes a hard line against the temptation of porn and explores the solutions with the basic premise that you have the power and means made available through God’s grace to be free from this sin.
Lambert’s work could have spent some time on giving a background and understanding on why we are seeing this addiction reach epidemic numbers. He could have shown the effects that involvement in this industry takes on daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers as the utter lack of recognition of God’s image as present in women. He opted for a very simple and straightforward punch in the face of pornography addiction.
When you or someone in your family is ready to get serious about a fight against pornography or if you are engaged in helping someone become free from this addiction then I highly recommend that you read this book.
* The publisher provided me a free copy of this book for purposes of review. I was not asked for a positive review.
Posted September 8, 2013
Sadly, too many pulpits have stopped preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have started preaching a gospel of moral conformity. They are in fact, going the wrong way. Current so-called ‘Christian Books’ are guilty of the same transgression. The simple, timeless fact remains-the propagation of a moral code will not actually solve the world’s problems. It may ease some of the symptoms, but it will not, because it cannot-solve the real problem. That problem of course, is our separation from God as a result of our sin. And it is in that motif that Heath Lambert offers his gift to the Body of Christ and to the world at large. Do you desire to be from the stranglehold of pornography? If so, you will not need statistics or anecdotes or biographical sketches of the harm that pornography has caused. You need the Gospel and you need to understand how the Gospel alone possess the power to free you from porn’s vice-like grip.
Lambert states, “You can try to remove porn’s availability. You can eliminate your time alone. Yet you will still seek out porn if you desire it. This is why Jesus and the good news of the gospel is the only sure hope for those who want to be free from porn. Only Jesus has the power to change your heart desires, and he does this as you believe in his forgiving and transforming grace.” Have truer words in this battle ever been penned?
Christians know they are losing. The political climate is increasingly hostile to the cause of the Gospel. The family institution has become a joke. Moral rebellion seems to be the zeitgeist. And all the while, we have been given the one weapon to cure it all-the Gospel, and yet it remains relatively ignored or repackaged in order to fill pew seats. That is a tragedy. Porn is suffocating the pulpits of our country and destroying families. We need real help, and Prof. Lambert has provided exactly that. ‘Finally Free’ is in fact a true, Gospel-centered approach to destroying the stronghold of porn addiction specifically and all addiction in general.
Christians love Saving Grace. We get, we love it, we even share it. But how many of us count on Transforming Grace to flow from that same fountain? And that is what this book is about. The Gospel is not just sufficient to save, but is also sufficient to transform as we journey to conform into the image of the one that saved us. We need that message. I need that message. And I rejoice that Prof. Lambert has packaged that message in a meaningful, practical way.
This book is for anyone that is sick and tired of being sick and tired. There is no doubt that pornography addiction is the intended target, but in a very real sense, serves only as the noun to many of these sentences. Should your vice or addiction be food or money or power or drugs, this book offers the same practical steps and transforming prescription. Because this book is designed to aid the reader in understanding what Christ has really completed on our behalf and how that impacts our day-to-day conduct, I emphatically recommend this book.
By way of disclosure, a copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in return for an honest evaluation, which I have provided.
Posted September 7, 2013
Mr. Lambert has written a much needed book dealing with an area of sin that has consumed a major portion of society. I like that he has used grace as a major theme of his counseling. Grace is something that doesn't come easy for most people. I would recommend this book for counselors, and those who know someone, or if you are someone dealing with this huge problem.
Posted September 7, 2013
"Finally Free; Fighting For Purity with the Power of Grace" is a much needed book for our time. Author Heath Lambert declares that the main reason men turn to pornography is because of arrogance. While many men may have past issues they need to deal with Author Lambert states that arrogance is the one facet that always appears when dealing with this subject matter.
This book is filled with examples of real stories of how men struggle with this horrible addiction. Many see nothing wrong with pornography; while others know the devastation first hand of how it has destroyed their marriages and certainly devalue women in the eyes of men. Feasting on porn not only affects the individual doing it, but their spouse (or future spouse), family, friends, etc... It is a very selfish act that is based upon feeding one's own fleshing desires. The way to overcome this addictive, controlling vice is to truly trust in Jesus and live your life completely devoted to Him. This book is a valuable tool for anyone caught in this awful web of deceit.
This book was provided by Cross Focused Reviews for my personal review.
Posted September 2, 2013
"A wicked world seeks to enslave your souls to pornography, the grace of Jesus Christ alone sets you free. Look to Him!"
Pornography is one of the most pervasive addictions faced by people of all economic, geographic, racial, personality, emotional and spiritual categories.
Much has been written about pornography and how to overcome its addictive nature. Some have even given up the battle and encourage others
to embrace it, and try to convince others within their sphere of influence to view it the same way.
The worldview in this book is the belief that pornography, like many other addictions, is a form of slavery, albeit sometimes invisible,
and something that needs to be overcome. The book doesn't just talk about pornography, however. And it doesn't offer trite
methodology in the form of steps for you to follow because most of the time that isn't effective. Instead, this book begins and ends
with God's Grace, the powerhouse that makes this book's tools work effectively.
"Jesus loves to cleanse those who love to look at pornography [or are fighting other addictions], and He loves to give them power
to change. Our sinfulness does not get the final word. Instead, Jesus justifies, washes, and sanctifies us. Our only hope is in a
risen Savior who has the power to bring us out of the pit of pornography. This book is a guide to the exciting process Jesus uses
to do this work." If some of these terms sound a bit unfamiliar to you, don't worry, the author explains them simply and clearly in the
first chapter. The central theme of this book is that "no strategy to combat [addictions such as pornography] can bring profound and
lasting change if it is disconnected from the power of Jesus."
Chapter 1 is the key to the recovery process. The remaining chapters depend on whether you grasp this key and accept it. The author
does a great job of simplifying the concept of God's grace and making it practical for his readers. If you feel you are just reading
about grace, then you missed the point. As Mr. Lambert has done, I encourage you to read this chapter over several times until
it becomes crystal clear to you. The person overcoming the addiction needs grace to be more than head knowledge. Grace must
be personal. The remaining chapters are strategies and concepts that build on it, so it's important to create a rock solid foundation
for the rest of the methods to work.
One of the first things I noticed about the book was its cover. The graphics and words on the cover tell me some important
information about this book. First, the title communicates the success of this program by an exclamatory statement: "Finally,
FREE!!!" This is what the person in treatment can expect to experience once they have overcome their addiction to pornography.
I am confident this is a program that will work, and that many participants will be using this statement with overwhelming relief
and jubilance. The picture emphasizes this feeling further--the man (or woman) who has been set free from his bondage to the
sin of pornography is going to want to scream his victory to the hills. Second, the subtitle, "Fighting for purity with the power
of grace" indicates that this is a fight. The struggle will not be easy. It will be long, ugly and dirty, and it will require time and
commitment. Third, God's grace is the power, but the power needs to go somewhere. The tools need this power, just as
physical tools need power to work. The remaining chapters of this book discuss the tools to use to blast out of the addiction
are the person is suffering from. If this is being read by a counselor, an accountability partner, a spouse, or other type of support
person for the one with the addiction, these chapters are essential for you to understand and assist the sufferer during this
After the first chapter, the author discusses the type of tools needed to eradicate the addiction. The right kind of sorrow: because
not just any kind of sorrow will help break the addiction. The right type of accountability: because some forms of accountability
aren't effective. The right use of radical measures: when everything else fails, what will help? How drastic do we need to be?
Confession: when is it appropriate and when is it not to be used? What type of assistance a spouse can offer and what a
spouse should not do to help. Humility: the missing ingredient in many "methods" that don't work. What kind of humility really
helps? Gratitude: another missing ingredient that digs down into the gut of the reasons why a person becomes addicted in the
first place. A dynamic relationship with Jesus: we're not talking about "religion" now. Dynamic means living; so a real, living,
breathing relationship with the Son of God who is not dead, but has been raised from the dead, is as key to success in overcoming
the powerful addiction of pornography as Grace is.
Each of these tools is equally important. Each helps the person to dig down deep to find the reasons for the addiction in the first
place and begin to slough out the slime pit to make it ready for a life freed from the sludge. This is a book of victory, a book of
hope. Its focus is on sexual immorality, but it can easily apply to any other addiction that afflicts and enslaves us.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Zondervan Publishing and Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused
Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.