Tribe: A Warrior's Battles

Overview

In today's sex-crazed culture, the battle for purity is growing increasingly difficult—especially for young men. But there is hope. This book offers guys can't-lose strategies for holding their ground on the front lines of sexual purity. Tyndale House Publishers

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Overview

In today's sex-crazed culture, the battle for purity is growing increasingly difficult—especially for young men. But there is hope. This book offers guys can't-lose strategies for holding their ground on the front lines of sexual purity. Tyndale House Publishers

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589971882
  • Publisher: Focus Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Breakaway Devotional Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 - 16 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

TRIBE

A WARRIOR'S BATTLES
By MICHAEL ROSS Manfred Koehler

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Ross
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-58997-188-4


Chapter One

DAY 1: THE BATTLE BEGINS

SURVIVOR SECRETS

>>> WEEKLY MEMORY VERSE: Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12

TRIBAL QUEST

Accept the truth about your sexuality: Most healthy males have powerful desires for sex. (It's nothing to be ashamed of.) But understand that it's a part of your life that you must bring under God's control.


EXPLORE THE WORD: Galatians 5:16-26

TRIBAL TRUTH

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. -Galatians 5:16-18

TRIBAL FACE

Josh, 15 Shoreview, Minn. Striving for Freedom from Lust

Josh sits across the kitchen table from his father, his face strained with sadness. The teen is convinced that God has made a huge mistake with his life.

"I can't stop thinking about sex," he confesses. "It's like, the minute I became a teenager, my brain and my body launched a war against lust. Every day I catch myself having thoughts about girls I know I shouldn't have."

Josh's father nods his head reassuringly and listens.

Josh slumps back in his chair. "But it gets worse."

"You can tell me anything-you do know that, don't you, son?"

Josh looks up and nods. "Of course, but this isn't exactly easy to talk about-especially with my dad."

The teen pauses, trying to muster up courage. Then the words he never imagined telling another soul suddenly roll out of his mouth. "For the past few years, I've had some private struggles," he says. "Stuff I'm ashamed to admit. Stuff like pornography ... and masturbation."

Josh glances at his father again, fearing condemnation. But instead his eyes are met with compassion.

"You're not alone," his father says. "Many Christian guys share these battles. What sets you apart is your courage to speak up."

"I'm just sick of struggling," Josh says, "and I hate what lust is doing to my relationship with God. I really need help."

Josh then describes three battlegrounds where he has suffered brutal defeat.


BATTLEGROUND 1: Cyberporn

On most weekday nights I don't even bother to switch on the TV. After glancing at my watch, then making some excuse-like having to do algebra and grammatical structures-I leave the dinner table and race upstairs.

I've heard Mom say that she's so "proud of her grown-up son for behaving responsibly and doing his homework." But if she knew what I was really up to, her heart would be broken.

Once upstairs, my actions are anything but responsible-and homework is the last thing on my mind. What I once used as a tool for learning has, lately, become a tool for lust. It's as if cyberporn owns me. And with each click of my mouse, I feel as if I'm being pulled deeper into an evil "web."


BATTLEGROUND 2: Masturbation

My time on the computer is nearly always cut short by a tap, tap, tap on my bedroom door, then a friendly voice: "Shut down and hit the sack," Mom tells me. Every night she pokes her head into my room to say good night.

At that point, I'm usually scrambling to maintain my cover. I turn off the monitor, flash a phony smile, and tell an outright lie: "Uhhh-thanks, Mom. Homework's done, and I'm headin' to bed." When the door shuts behind her, I usually feel like throwing up. I'm such a hypocrite. I can't continue this double life.

But when I click off my light and slide between the sheets, my brain replays the images I'd just looked at. Then I get weak and end up giving into another private struggle: masturbation.


BATTLEGROUND 3: Out-of-Control Thought Life

The next morning, I awaken with a knot in my gut. Despite reading a passage of Scripture and praying, feelings of shame add another layer to a wall that's growing higher between Jesus and me.

But by midday the guilt fades, and just being smiled at by a pretty girl churns up a bunch of "mental porn shows." Conversations in the locker room fuel even more messed-up thoughts.

I hear one off-color joke after another-along with crude remarks about sex and body parts. I admit, I even take part in the so-called guy talk.

By the time I arrive home, the ugly lust cycle begins all over again.


* * *

Josh looks his father in the eyes. "Dad, I need you to be honest with me," he states sternly. "Am I normal sexually?"

His father grips his son's hand and shares a comforting truth: "Believe it or not, I asked this same question when I was a teen, and here's what my dad told me: 'The average teen guy thinks about sex one minute out of every five-then spends the other four minutes waiting for the one minute to come around again!'"

For a split second, Josh cracks a smile. Then a worried expression washes over his face again. "But this is messed up, Dad-it can't be right. Lust causes so much guilt."

"I didn't say lust is right," his father points out. "I'm telling you that your appetite for sex is a very normal, God-given thing. It's your sinful nature that warps what is good. Yet that 'voice' deep inside telling you 'something's wrong' is your conscience ... and the work of the Holy Spirit."

Suddenly, Josh's father begins to smile, and his eyes seem to sparkle with joy. "I'm so proud of you for hearing that voice," he says. "Too many young men are spiritually deaf. They selfishly focus on what feels good at the moment. But not you! Sensing that something is wrong means that you've already taken the first step toward healing. Now you must take the second step-and many more after that."

Hope replaces the worry on Josh's face. "I'm ready for change," he says. "So, what's next?"

"Prayer," says his father. "Pour out your heart to God. Thank Him for your sexuality, and tell the Lord you want Him to take control of this part of your life. Explain that you're sorry for the sins you've committed, and ask God to heal your heart and to help you change."

Josh nods his head.

Then father and son get on their knees and talk to God.


* * *

A huge weight of guilt lifted from Josh's life that day, and the wall he sensed between the Lord and him began to crumble. Yet this young man knows that the battle has just begun. His appetite for sex is stronger than ever, and on occasion, temptation still seems to get the best of him. But Josh isn't about to give up. He knows that he's not alone, which helps him to press on in his fight for purity.

Take a look at another guy-16-year-old Eric of Dallas, Texas. Here's how he describes his battles:

I talk to my dad all of the time about my struggles, and he's very supportive and forgiving. Yet I've still messed up a few times and have surfed Internet porn sites and have fallen into my old habits of fantasizing about sex. Each time after I've lusted, I feel horrible. I promise God that it won't happen again. Then a few days later, I end up doing the same things. I feel like the apostle Paul: "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15). Sometimes I feel as if I'm in a big hole, and I keep digging in deeper. Yet I'm determined to find freedom from lust.

Why didn't God make the quest for purity easier for guys? Why didn't He give you sexual desires on your wedding night-and not a moment before?

Could it be that our Creator wants to take you on a journey into authentic masculinity? I think so. I'm convinced that He wants to embrace that weak, self-centered kid you see in the mirror and transform him into a warrior fit to wear His badge: "a workman approved by God" (see 2 Timothy 2:15).

This transformation-like anything worthwhile in life-involves struggle. Just ask Josh and Eric.

No doubt, you yearn for freedom from lust. (That's why you're reading this book, right?) In the weeks ahead, we'll arm you with some powerful ammunition, as well as a realistic battle plan to strengthen you in your fight for sexual purity. Today, we'll begin with the first crucial steps: (1) cluing into how God wired guys sexually, and (2) striving for self control.

TRIBAL TRAINING


Understand the "sex-in-your-head" struggle. When I sat down to write this book, I counted hundreds of e-mails I've received from guys who feel defeated by lust. Like Josh and Eric, most young men feel alone in their struggles and ashamed of their sexual desires. Yet even though they may be hard to believe, accept these truths: (1) "YOU'RE NORMAL!" and (2) your appetite for sex truly is a good, healthy, God-given thing! The Lord doesn't want you to turn off these desires (as if you could). Instead, He wants to help you control them. How? Keep reading ...


Take an honest look at your sexuality. In the story above, you read how Josh began to sense that "something's wrong." He knew deep inside that God was working on his heart, pointing out behaviors he needed to change. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart today. Get alone and ponder this question: Do I sense the Lord revealing habits and behaviors in my life that need His healing touch?


Bring your sexual struggles into the light. Don't try to hide from them. (God already knows what you think and do in private, and He understands your struggles better than you do.) Pray and confess your sins and weaknesses to God. Acknowledge before Him your lack of power to control your sexual urges.


Ask God to heal your sexuality, making it the awesome thing He intends it to be. The key to healthy sexuality is outlined in Scripture. Here's what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5: "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God." Bottom line: With God's help, every teen boy must seek self-control over his sexuality. Our Lord requires it, girls have a right to it, and above all, it enables you to develop into the godly man you were created to be.


Be sincere with your prayers. Consider this: We will all give account for our choices. This reality actually terrified Paul and motivated him to strive to please God in everything he did (see 2 Corinthians 5:9-11). Christian author Henry Blackaby has also wrestled with this issue. In his book Experiencing God, here's what he concludes: "God does not force His will upon us. He will ask us to answer for the way we responded to Him. Christians have been pardoned by the sacrifice of Jesus. We are not condemned. But because God is absolutely just, we will be called on to give an account of our actions."


Accept God's forgiveness and stop flogging yourself for your sexual failures. Persistent guilt and shame will make it difficult to shed sexual problems. (We'll get more into this topic on Days 16 and 17.)


PRAY IT OUT: "Lord, I can't do this on my own. Free me from the chains of lust. Heal my sexuality, molding me into the godly man You want me to become." Pray that He will empower you to avoid temptation to sin by bringing all your sexual thoughts and fantasies under your conscious control. Ask God to remind you when your thoughts need controlling.

>>> CONSIDER TAKING TO HEART THIS PRAYER FROM RICHARD FOSTER:

Lord Jesus Christ, when I read the gospel stories, I am touched by Your healing power. You healed sick bodies to be sure, but You did so much more. You healed the spirit and the deep, inner mind. Most of all, I am touched by Your actions of acceptance that spoke healing into those who lived on the margins of life, shoved aside by the strong and the powerful.

Speak Your healing into me, Lord, body and mind and soul. Most of all, heal my sense of worthlessness. My head tells me that I am of infinite value to You, but my heart cannot believe it. Heal my heart, Jesus, heal my heart. Amen.

TRIBAL MARKS

A KEY POINT I LEARNED TODAY: ___________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________


HOW I WANT TO GROW: ________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________


MY PRAYER LIST: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Two

DAY 2: IS IT WEIRD TO WAIT?

SURVIVOR SECRETS

>>> WEEKLY MEMORY VERSE: Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12

TRIBAL QUEST

Trust that saving sex for marriage is God's perfect plan for your life-despite what your peers may believe.


EXPLORE THE WORD:-Colossians 3:1-10

TRIBAL TRUTH

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. -Colossians 3:5

TRIBAL FACE

Ryan, 16 Amarillo, Texas Locker-Room Slam

"She's so hot!" Matt says as he pulls off his practice jersey. He flings it into his locker, then pelts Ryan with a sweaty sock. "And she's going out with a dweeb like YOU!"

"Unreal," Chris chimes in. "If I dated her ... ooohhh, dude...." He falls to the floor, clutching his chest-faking a massive coronary.

Jason grins at Ryan. "So, you've been going out with her for a few weeks, huh?! Just what happens when you two are alone-totally alone?"

Ryan shrugs. "You know, stuff. We talk, watch TV ..."

"And," Jason presses.

"Eat, study, talk some more ..."

PLOP! THUD! SMACK!

The guys bomb Ryan with crusted gym clothes. Then Matt launches the ultimate question: "Give us all the details, dude. Has she let you have it yet?"

Ryan looks up and swallows, sirens blazing in his head: GEEK ALERT-COOLNESS ABOUT TO BE CRUSHED.

"Ahhh ... have what?" he asks nonchalantly (knowing full well which "it" his friend is referring to).

"'IT,' you idiot," Matt barks. "Whadda ya think?"

Of course, Ryan had never done it, and he wasn't going to-until marriage. In his eyes, moving too fast too soon spelled major headaches: pregnancy, sexual diseases, broken hearts. And as a committed Christian, he had an even better reason to wait: It was God's will for his life.

But the guys.... How on earth could he explain that to them?

Ryan looks Matt in the eye. "And I suppose you have?!"

Matt bristles. "Course I've done it ... lots of times. What normal guy hasn't?"

Ryan's stomach knots up. He hates locker-room talk-especially when his reputation is on the line. He doesn't want to lie, BUT ...

"Well ... ahhh ..." Ryan pauses. "Actually I ... or I mean we ... ahhh ..." (His internal "geek alert" suddenly reaches critical status.)

What do I tell them? he wonders as he frantically searches for the precise words. How do I stand for what's right without being laughed at ... and without looking like a total idiot?


* * *

There's no escape.

Hang out in the locker room or the halls at school-even some church youth groups-and you hear guys bragging about the so-called good times they have with girls.

Flip on the tube or crack open a magazine and someone's selling a lie about sex.

Step into some public restrooms and ... Huh? ... a strange little box on the wall conveniently offers condoms (that is, if you have some quarters to spare).

All this leads you to believe that waiting is just plain weird.

Guess what? Despite the sex-on-credit, play-now-pay-later culture we live in, not everyone is doing it. Lots of teens are saving up for good sex-when it's really safe and really right.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from TRIBE by MICHAEL ROSS Manfred Koehler Copyright © 2006 by Michael Ross. 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.

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