Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) - A Study Guide for Men

Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) - A Study Guide for Men

by Joshua Harris

Celebrate Purity

Overcoming lust is a process that requires diligent focus and accountability from others, and these in-depth guides help establish both. They’re designed for a variety of settings, from one-on-one accountability partnerships to Sunday school classes. Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) made the statement that lust is a human


Celebrate Purity

Overcoming lust is a process that requires diligent focus and accountability from others, and these in-depth guides help establish both. They’re designed for a variety of settings, from one-on-one accountability partnerships to Sunday school classes. Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) made the statement that lust is a human problem (not just a guy problem) and that Jesus can free anyone from its power. Going further, these gender-specific study guides feature questions and discussion starters that directly address the temptations unique to men and women. These resources are a must-have for anyone challenged to defeat lust and celebrate purity in their lives.

Experience Victory Along the Journey to Holiness

Based on his bestselling message in Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), Joshua Harris offers a companion study guide specifically designed to address the issues men face. Versatile in nature, this study guide can be used in one-on-one accountability or in a church group setting.

“ Joshua Harris has done it again. Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) contains the undiluted biblical truth on a vital topic, served up with honesty and humility.”
—C. J. Mahaney
Author of The Cross Centered Life

Each of the ten small-group sessions includes:

   • Easy Review: A quick chapter summary makes review simple.
   • Discussion Questions: Questions that serve as icebreakers, and then lead to deeper discussion and personal application.
   • Accountability Follow-Up: Questions to help check each other’s progress in a truthful and caring setting.
   • Meditate and Memorize: Key Scriptures that will help men gain victory over lust.
   • Custom-Tailored Action Plan: Men will be led in a step-by-step formulation of an Action Plan, uniquely tailored to combat their specific battles.
Story Behind the Book

“I was preparing a message on lust when I realized that the book I wanted to consult hadn’t been written. That book would make it clear that only Jesus Christ can free us from the hopeless treadmill of shame and guilt that so many well-intentioned people end up on. It would instill a love for holiness and a hatred for sin without dragging the reader’s imagination through the gutter. And it would be for both men and women, because I’ve learned that lust isn’t just a guy problem—it’s a human problem.”
—Joshua Harris

Product Details

The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.23(d)

Read an Excerpt

sex is not the problem (lust is): study guide for men

Sexual Purity in a Lust Saturated World
By Joshua Harris Brian Smith

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2004 Joshua Harris
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-610-4

Chapter One

Not Even a Hint

Why Can't I Seem to Beat Lust?

Now that you've read chapter 1 of Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), we hope you realize that you're not alone. Almost everyone experiences frustration when dealing with lust. The enemy would like you to believe that you're isolated and unusual, but you're not. And you can find safety among carefully chosen brothers in Christ who are willing to honestly face their sin and together pursue holiness.

God offers real hope through the victory of Jesus Christ. Begin your study with a simple prayer expressing your trust in His death and resurrection. Thank Him for giving you the desire to change.


Lust defined: craving sexually what God has forbidden.

There are right and wrong standards for holiness, power sources for change, and motives for fighting sin.

We're not just against lust; we're for God's good plan for sex in marriage.


  • To establish that lust is something we all face in some form.

  • To understand why God's standard is "not even a hint" of impurity in our lives.

  • To realize that killing lust leads to the joy and freedom of holiness.

    1. Honestly, how realistic does the standard not even a hint seem to you with regard to sexual sin? Why did you choose this response?

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Are you crazy? We can do it!

    2. Whether you think this is a realistic standard or not, rate how strongly you desire to have not even a hint of sexual sin in your life. Why?

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Forget it! I can't wait!


    In Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), Josh writes, "I have a simple definition for lust: Lust is craving sexually what God has forbidden" (book 20).

    3. What is helpful to you in Josh's definition? What would you change in the definition, if anything? Why?

    4. Part of the challenge Christians face in a lust-filled world is remembering that neither sex nor sexuality is our enemy. Lust is our enemy and has hijacked sexuality. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our goal is to rescue our sexuality from lust so we can experience it the way God intended (book 12).

    Summarize from the following Scripture passages God's thinking about the differences between lust and pure sexuality (see also book 27-29).

    Lust-Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

    Sexuality-Genesis 2:22-25; Proverbs 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

    5. God never calls us to sacrifice as an end in itself, but only through sacrifice on the way to great joy. On the other side of the seeming loss and denial is always reward and pleasure so deep and so intense that it's almost impossible to call what you gave up a sacrifice at all (book 28).

    If this is true, then describe what is really happening ... ... when you give in to lust.

    ... when you resist lust.

    6. What is an example of you (or someone you know) passing up the instant pleasure offered by lust for a deeper, more lasting pleasure later? What sacrifice do you think God is calling you through for the sake of true joy and godly pleasure?


    7. At the beginning of chapter 1, Josh describes his futile efforts to live up to "the contract":

    The year that followed was a very humbling lesson in how utterly incapable I was of being righteous in my own strength.... All my great ambitions, all my vows, all my self-efforts were revealed to be worthless (book 20).

    Describe a time when you tried to accomplish something good on your own when you actually needed outside help.

    8. God's standard of not even a hint quickly brings me to the end of my own ability and effort. It reminds me that God's standard is so much higher than the standards I place for myself that only the victory of Christ's death and resurrection can provide the right power and the right motive needed to change me (book 27).

    Why was each element of God's plan better than Josh's original plan (see book 24-27)?


    Standard not even no masturbating of holiness a hint for a year

    Power source the cross his own for holiness of Christ willpower

    Motivation God's to show God that for holiness grace he was good


    In the preface, Josh writes, "I've learned that I can only fight lust in the confidence of my total forgiveness before God because of Jesus' death for me" (book 13). If you have put your faith in Christ as your Savior, are you confident of your total forgiveness before God? Do you believe He loves and accepts you because of Jesus' sacrifice for you? Without this confidence, it will be difficult to be honest about lust in your life with other carefully selected Christian brothers.

    9. Summarize the central point of each of these statements from God to you:

    1 Timothy 1:15-16

    Psalm 103:8-13

    1 Corinthians 10:13

    1 John 1:6-9

    10. Honesty with others takes courage. Take a minute to talk with God the Father about any fear you have about discussing the topic of lust. Ask His Holy Spirit for courage and a deep hunger for holiness.


    Starting with lesson 2, this section will guide your group to review commitments or action points from preceding lessons in order to evaluate your progress and to encourage you toward greater obedience in God's strength. In this first lesson (especially if you're with a group of guys you don't know well), use the following questions to begin your journey.

    11. What is one question you would like us to ask you on a regular basis?

    12. What is one way you want us to pray for you this week in keeping with this lesson? (Write down each other's requests and take a few minutes to pray for each other.)


    But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Ephesians 5:3


    Excerpted from sex is not the problem (lust is): study guide for men by Joshua Harris Brian Smith Copyright © 2004 by Joshua Harris . Excerpted by permission.
    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.

  • Meet the Author

    Joshua Harris

    Joshua Harris lives outside Washington, D.C., in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where he is a pastor at Covenant Life Church. He speaks nationally and leads an annual conference for college students called New Attitude. Joshua and his wife, Shannon, have two children.

    Brian Smith

    (no bio for Brian went in the catalog)

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