Part 2 HOW
FAR IS TOO FAR
We talked quite a deal about God’s
plan for us in our single-hood regarding sexuality. We looked at the importance
of and place for purity in any Christian relationship with the opposite sex.
After writing that article, many friends, directly and subtly asked another
question. A question that I find to be most important especially for our
post-modern youth. It was actually a number of questions. Sex is literally
everywhere. The billboard in your neighborhood. The radio. The TV. The paper
you buy. The internet you browse. The books you read. The stories you hear. It’s
like the air we breathe! So the question was, I’ve already gone too far. Is there hope for me? Does God hate me? Will I ever
come out of this rut of regret?
The answer to those in order is yes,
no and yes.
look at the first. Is there hope for me?
They say that the Christian army is
the only army that kills its wounded. I first laughed when I heard that but it
struck me cold to realize that I could be one of the people who actually pull
the trigger. Why do we come to Jesus? Why do we accept him as Lord of our
lives? The answer. BECAUSE WE ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE!! Anyone who comes to Christ
gets to the realization that they are a mess. They tend to forget that as they
stay longer in the faith. Christ died for sins once for all to bring us to God.
He was put to death in the body and made alive by the spirit. That does not
mean that we are better people. It means that we are just forgiven! Our lives
do change yes and we become new beings with a desire to please God. But just
because we changed and became better because we found Christ, gives us no
jurisdiction to think we are better than others.
Paul put it like this. “Do nothing out
of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility,
consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)”
The moment you became a follower of
Jesus, you made a statement.”I admit that I am weak, morally terrible and I
need help from a God who is greater than anything I know or will ever know.”
The moment you think, you’re not that bad
you are the number one prime candidate for pride beloved. Jesus was God yet the
Bible tells us “Yet he did not consider
equality with God something to be grasped.”
If Christ did not consider
himself of rank, why would you?
How does that tie with sex and having
messed up? Like this. We will sneer at Carol the innocent-looking choir member
who got pregnant and thank God that we are still virgins. At least as far as
intercourse is concerned. God says in Ephesians 5:3. Not even a hint of sexual immorality should be
present in the believer. So if you watched the Spanish soap opera last night
with Alejandro and Maria locking lips, I hate it to break it to you that you
and Carol are in the same league as far as sin is concerned. We however, do not
justify Carol’s actions but we accept her as a fallen soldier.
Jesus tends the flock that was lost
all night and has found its way home. If the shepherd accepts the lost sheep,
why should I, a fellow sheep, reject them? The moment fellow sheep accept fallen
fellow sheep, we have a fellowship. If your fellowship is made of perfect
people, there might be a problem. The smiles are too wide. The grins are too
hard and the hearts are probably hurting. Stained glass masquerades, Mark Hall
Therefore should everyone in the
fellowship have had a sexual experience? No, beloved. I actually thank God for
believers who have a testimony that says in a perishing decadent world where
their peers fell, they stood strong. I believe this is the greatest of
testimonies. There’s nothing to celebrate about having messed up in life.
There’s only celebration in returning to the first love; Jesus, whether we have
“messed up” or not, we are still messed up people. Jesus is coming for a clean,
pure bride. He is not coming for a self-righteous bride who thinks she is
better because she hasn’t messed up. Neither is he coming for a bride who is
too proud to accept his forgiveness because she is wallowing in the self pity
of having messed up. He is coming for a Christ-righteous bride.
God hate me?
The answer is no. He hates the sin in
you. The true sign of repentance is change. If sexual sin is a problem or
constant temptation, you need to make intentional decisions. Those things don’t
go away naturally. We need to be very intentional in our dealing with
temptation. John says “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the
darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as
he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another and the blood of
Jesus his son purifies us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:6-7)
I ever come out of this rut?
If you have accepted Christ, you have
already won. You see, God fights our battles but we still need to go to war.
How will he win a battle if the vessel is not wielding a sword? When temptation
is knocking, our consciences play a good part in telling us that we shouldn’t
answer the door. This conscience many a times is God talking to us. These steps
have proved useful in my life when dealing with temptation.
set yourself up for an ambush.
James 1:14-16 tells us that temptation
comes when we are lured by our own evil desires. One of the best ways to avoid
temptation is to stay away from it in the first place. Don’t go to her house.
Don’t go to his place even when people are around. Don’t go online past 6pm or
if you’re alone in the room. Don’t light the candles and say it’s just a
special dinner to celebrate your dating anniversary. Don’t pray with her in the
closet. Don’t listen to his sorry life story and comfort him. We must find out
our weaknesses and be careful not to set ourselves up. Stay out of wrong
conversations, wrong company and situations that will put you in an awkward
Another super counter attack against
temptation is to commit yourself to a small group of friends who are willing to
ask you the kind of hard questions that make you squirm sometimes: “Are you
still using an internet enabled phone yet you’re struggling with porn?” “Isn’t
this the same kind of decision that got you into a bad situation before?”
who your friends are.
If you sleep with dogs you will get up
with fleas! If you find yourself itching maybe it’s time to start thinking
about the kind of friends you have. Are they helping you in your walk with
Christ, or are they making it tougher. Good water + Bad water= Bad water. Good
water will never change bad water, no matter how much you pour of it. God puts
it like this in 1Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company ruins good
up your mind BEFORE you’re under pressure.
Don’t wait until you’re in the back
seat to start thinking about your sexual standards. When the heat’s on and the
hormones are screaming, it’s not a very good time to start deciding if you
should kiss on the first date. Those kinds of decisions are worked out when you
have time to think, time to pray-and with lights on!
importantly pray, read the word and practice it
Jesus said in Luke 11:28 that blessed
are those who PRACTICE the word of God. He said in John 13:17 “Now that you
know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” If you don’t do it, you
might as well forget about defeating any form of temptation because it won’t
work. By praying and spending time with God, Jesus prepared to defeat
temptation. By practicing Jesus defeated temptation. Reading and practicing are
inseparable. You have to practice after you read and you can’t practice if you
don’t read. If we keep in close touch with God through prayer, quiet time and
Bible study, it will be a lot tougher to wander off without some bells ringing.
David wrote in Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man [or woman] keep his [or her]
way pure? By living according to your word.” Basically, what this means is that
the best defense is a good offense. Don’t just spend time running from
temptation. Think in terms of running towards righteousness. 2nd
Timothy 2:22-Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and
peace together with those with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help.
James 1:12-18, 1st Corinthians 10: 12-13, 2nd
Timothy 2: 22, Luke 4: 1-13, Deuteronomy 8:3, Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 4:15