God’s Safeguards for Life’s Dangerous Trails


Randy Alcorn

Multnomah, 2003, 93 pp.   ISBN 1-59052-195-1


Like The Treasure Principle, this book is small, compact, and hard-hitting.  You may not like Alcorn’s recommendations because he is uncompromising.  But in this critical area Christians are failing so fast that we must take his suggestions seriously.  This month a missions leader I highly respected resigned from the ministry and initiated divorce proceedings to marry another woman.  We must take whatever steps are needed to protect our families and ministries!


“How many of us Christians hope God will guard us from calamity and misery, while every day we make small, seemingly inconsequential immoral choices that inch us toward bigger immoralities?”  (10)


“Every day, Christian men and women forfeit future happiness for the sake of temporary sexual stimulation.” (13)


The Purity Principle:  Purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid.  Always.” (16)


“A holy God made the universe in such a way that actions true to His character, and the laws derived from His character, are always rewarded.  Actions that violate His character, however, are always punished.  He rewards every act of justice; He punishes every act of injustice.  This doesn’t mean God always intervenes directly.  This moral law is like the law of gravity.  God has set it in place.”  The punishment is built into the sin.  (16)


“God loves us enough to place warning signs: ‘Don’t commit adultery’ and ‘No sex before marriage.’” (17)


“We can also argue for purity because God is by nature a Rewarder (see Hebrews 11:6), and He will surely reward us for making choices that please him.” (19)


“We can choose blessings: joy, peace, life, hope, and laughter.  Or we can choose curses: misery, scars, a handful of ashes.” (19)


“Surveys indicate that the sexual morality of today’s Christians has become almost indistinguishable from that of non-Christians.” (24)


“An unholy world will never by won to Christ by an unholy church.” (24)


“Sex is the means by which children are conceived and marital intimacy is expressed.  Both are very important to God.  When sexual union takes place in its proper context, in a spirit of giving, the Creator smiles.” (26)


“Sex is incredibly powerful; it’s able to do immense good…or immense harm.” (26)


“According to the Bible, the boundaries of sex are the boundaries of marriage.  Sex and marriage go together.” (27)


“God’s guardrails are His moral laws.  They stand between us and destruction.  They are there not to punish or deprive us, but to protect us.” (28)


“We are his by creation, and again by redemption.  He has every right to tell me what to do with my mind and body.  I have no right to do whatever I want with my body.” (31)


“Don’t kid yourself that it can never happen to you—it can.  And if you don’t think it can, it almost certainly will.” (33)


“Medical science may eliminate some consequences of my sin.  It cannot remove my accountability to God.” (35)


“The truth is, sexual sin never comes out of the blue.  It is the predictable result of natural processes.  Relationships are neglected and a mind gets exposed to impurity.  Tomorrow’s character is made out of today’s thoughts.”  “We become what we think.”  “The battle is in our minds.” (41)


“To protect our purity, we need to set mental boundaries.”  “Boundaries will vary from person to person.  A boundary may be not standing in a checkout line where certain magazines are displayed.  Or not driving in a certain part of town.  Or never going on a business trip alone.  Boundaries keep temptation from getting a foothold.” (43-44)


“Have you made a contract with your eyes, not to look where they shouldn’t?”  (49)


“…sincere intentions, and even prayers, are not enough.  To have victory over temptation, we must have clear goals and strategies, and we must diligently carry them out.” (52)  “…it pays to be a coward.  He who hesitates (and rationalizes) is lost.  He who runs, lives.” (53)


“It’s always easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.” (55)


“How does something shocking and shameful somehow become acceptable because we watch it though a television instead of a window?”  “We peek on people committing fornication and adultery, which our God calls an abomination.  We’ve become voyeurs, Peeping Toms, entertained by sin.” (62)


“The enemy’s strategy is to normalize evil.”  “Not only we, but our children become desensitized to immorality.” (62)


“How can we be pure when we amuse ourselves with impurity?” (65)


How do our favorite dramas and sitcoms stand up to Ephesians 5:3-4?  (63)


If you can’t keep your eyes away from those explicit images, don’t ever go to a video rental store.  (64)


“Some men fall into mental adultery through lingerie ads, billboards, women joggers in tight pants, women with low cut blouses or short skirts, cheerleaders or dancers, movies, TV shows, and commercials of the beer-and-bikini variety.  Some men’s weakness is the Sunday newspaper’s ad inserts or nearly any magazine.  So, STOP LOOKINGS.  And then STOP PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE POSITION TO LOOK!  If you have to get rid of your TV to guard your purity, do it.” (61)


“It’s a sin to deliberately put ourselves in a position where we’ll likely commit sin.” (66)


Sound drastic?  Compare it to gouging out an eye or cutting off a hand!” (67)


If web porn is your temptation, don’t stay up later than your wife, or no internet after your wife’s in bed. (67)


“Do whatever it takes to walk in purity!” (68)


“Drop cable, HBO, your satellite dish, or your TV if it is promoting ungodliness in your home.  (This isn’t legalism—it’s discipleship.)” (70)


“We must develop an early detection system to spot moral danger before we’re sinking in quicksand.  A relationship can be inappropriate long before it becomes sexual.” (77)


“If you are married, regularly evaluate your relationships with your mate.  Watch for the red flags of discontentment and a diminishing sexual relationship.  Talk openly.  Work it through, even if it’s painful.”  “Date your spouse—put it in your schedule.”  “Be fiercely loyal to your spouse; speak highly of them.” (77)


“Lust thrives on secrecy.  Nothing defuses it like exposure.”  (80)


“Wives, ask your husband about his temptations.  What can you do for him?  Be grateful if he’s open with you.  Don’t be naïve.  Too many women are ignorant of the battle in male minds.”  (81)


“Parents need to screen their children’s clothing.  Men are responsible to help their wives and daughters understand why this is so important.  Women, please believe us—when we say a prom dress, shorts, top or swimsuit is inappropriate, we know exactly what we’re talking about.” (82)


“True repentance means removing temptation and changing the choices that unnecessarily expose us.”  “Repentance mans not just turning from impurity, but keeping ourselves from where we’ll have to turn.” (85)


“Left alone you cannot win the battle.  Use the buddy system.  Have someone you can call day or night for help and prayer.”  Meet with one or more others weekly and ask hard questions.  (86) 


“I need accountability, you need it, your pastor needs it, your spouse needs it, and your kids need it.  Everyone does.” (87)


“Live in such a way as to hear your Lord say to you one day, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant!’” (93)


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For a list of accountability questions, see


Reading for Women:

The Look – Does God Really Care What I Wear?, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Life Action Ministries,  ISBN 0-940110-43-1