Book Review: Passions of the Heart

Passions of the HeartIt can be easy to assume that the struggle with purity, lust, and sexual sin is primarily a man’s problem. I can assure you, it’s not. The struggle with sin (any kind of sin), and the temptation to follow our heart is common to all mankind – men and women.

In his newest book, Passions of the Heart: Biblical Counsel for Stubborn Sexual Sins, Dr. John Street, biblically addresses the motivations at the heart of sexual sin and temptation.

“He is a fool who believes in the goodness of his own heart. He is a fool who believes that the heart is a reliable guide for life. The biblical doctrine of total depravity means that every intention, plan, and purpose of the heart, no matter how good it may seem, is tainted by sin.” pg. 16

In the very first chapter, Dr. Street clearly lays out the true, deceitful nature of our hearts, and the catastrophic results of foolishly trusting our own hearts too much. He then goes on to contrast the differences between the genuine believer and the professing believer, and the distinctions between worldly sorrow and true repentance. This chapter should be required reading for every professing believer who struggles with sin (of any kind).

But, even if you do not believe that sexual sin is an area of struggle or temptation for you, personally, I would encourage you to keep reading.

“Your thought life reveals what you worship, what controls your passions, thereby revealing what you love the most (Matt. 22:37-40).” pg. 32

Each subsequent chapter offers insight into identifying the desires and longings that make the heart susceptible to the temptations of lust, and the bondage and enslavement that results when these desires are sinfully fueled. But, it doesn’t stop there. 

“This may come as a surprise to you, but your goal is not improvement – it is holiness.” pg. 223

In every chapter, this book is filled with biblical commands, exhortations, and admonitions to point the reader toward holiness and purity. But far from the cynical despair, resignation, and hopelessness that often characterizes this struggle for purity, Dr. Street consistently points the reader back to Scripture as the source of grace, hope, and sanctification.

Although this book focuses specifically on the struggle with sexual sin, the biblical principles, thought provoking questions, and recommendations for further reading are extremely helpful in identifying temptations, addressing areas of idolatry, and repenting of sins in every area of life.

I would highly recommend Passions of the Heart to anyone who desires to pursue purity and holiness. I believe it will be an invaluable resource for individuals, couples, families, pastoral counseling, one-on-one discipleship, or men’s or women’s small groups, as a means of biblical accountability in the battle against sexual sin.

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