Adultery of the Heart

                          

                  

 

Did you know that we “singles” are able to commit adultery?

 

God has chosen our future husbands, and one day we will give ourselves – our whole heart – to that man. Or will we? As Christians, many of us have decided to save our bodies for our man, but what about the rest of who we are? It is possible to have an emotional affair without any physical relationship. If we believe that God has already chosen our future spouse, then to have a relationship with someone other than our man is to render ourselves unfaithful, which in essence is the definition of adultery; whether it’s physical or emotional.

 

I am seeing it happen to many Christian girls who hold a standard of no physical relations before marriage….but unfortunately the enemy has besieged the heart – the emotions.

 

If your experiences are anything like mine, the subtle “attack” normally comes in many different ways. Sometimes it comes through well meaning people, who want to see me happily involved in a relationship. They question why a “nice girl” could possibly still be single. I don’t know if twenty-two is the magical age of match-making…but it seems like this summer I’ve been matched with every eligible young man (and sometimes not so young!) in Northern Idaho.

 

Sometimes it comes in the form of an actual someone that we can’t help but feel attracted to. Feeling attracted towards someone is not a sin. But how we behave is crucial. Suddenly there are endless opportunities to catch this guy’s attention. You know….laugh at a certain time, say something, sit somewhere, tease… Or there are plenty of people who suddenly pop into our life to let us know that maybe this guy “is it”. As if it isn’t hard enough to keep our own thoughts pure and not to give in to daydreaming, let alone THEIR added thoughts and dreams.

 

Sometimes it can be media. Romance novels. Romance movies…magazines…music. They can become mental escapes where the emotions run wild in our imagination.

 

All of these can lead to emotional adultery. And they all share a similar process that I would like to share. I am seeing it over and over again in the lives of Christian young women around me.

 

Adultery (physical and emotional) always starts out with a friendship. We let our guard down with friends. It’s so important who our friends are! Also, it’s beneficial to realize that guys and girls really are unable to become close friends without forming some sort of relationship beyond casual friendship. Even if it’s one sided, it always happens. And outside of God’s timing it’s always unhealthy. Our best friend should not be a guy. It will lead us down a path we really didn’t intend.

 

I admit it is sad not to be able to share my heart with guys sometimes. There are sweet young men out there that would make great friends. But, as girls, our hearts are made to be given. It’s natural to give our hearts away. But our heart is meant only to be given to one man, and at marriage. Anything outside of this God-given plan is detrimental. Not to mention that the reward to following this plan is also incomparable.

 

My family is really close to another family that lives near us and goes to our church. We do EVERYTHING together. We might as well be one family (almost!). 🙂 We even have people meeting us for the first time who think we are all one family. This family is one of those rare families that can come over uninvited…and no one cares that the house happens to be a disaster….you just add some plates to the dinner table and call it good. Anyway, I consider the “boys” of this family to be like brothers. And I know they consider me like a sister. But, there have been times where I could tell they were hurting…having a hard time….and I knew I couldn’t go have a one-on-one with them and ask what was wrong and talk it over. Why? Because a heart to heart is deeply personal…it’s what best friends do…it’s a sharing of the heart..a deeply personal part of me that is to be saved for only one man.

 

Is it sad to have to guard my heart in this? Even to where I render myself unable to “be there” for my brother in Christ? Honestly, yes. I have felt twinges of remorse. But is it worth it? Yes! I can pray for that brother and be just as “helpful” to them. I don’t need to know what is hurting them…we share a Father who already knows. I will be able to be my man’s best friend, without having previously given that part of my heart away to another guy. Even those guys that feel like brothers.

 

Friends….we have to be extra careful with friends. Communication is a way of expressing our heart. Girls, we’ve got to be careful. Who do we text, email, call, write? How often? What’s our motive? Really, motive actually has very little to do with it….because our intentions may be innocent, but we don’t know what emotions we may be stirring in the other person. Many affairs start with “just” texting a friend. Relating, sharing, expressing through words.

 

Do I sound radical? Are you thinking, “This girl is actually encouraging me to limit my time of communication with guys!”. Yes, I guess I am radical in this day and age. But I’m not the only one. Have you ever heard of Joshua Harris (author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye) or Eric and Leslie Ludy (co-authors of “When God Writes Your Love Story). These young christian men and women took a radical stand and were later rewarded with a spouse who had kept their heart as equally pure. I have met young couples who waited until their wedding day to share their hearts. They have all encouraged me and others to keep it all for “the one”. The more you have to give, the better! It goes beyond physical purity.

 

Time we spend with someone, words we express, feelings we share, are all investments. We are actually withdrawing from our love account and investing in that other person. A guy friend must be on a totally different level than our girl friends or our family members.

 

Our best friend ought to be Christ. Who do we run to with our little dilemmas in life? Who comforts us when we’re hurting? Some girls escape to their fantasy world of romance. Whether that means in a novel or over the phone or on the computer with someone.

 

We don’t have to be giving ourselves physically in order to be giving our heart away.

 

Some girls already know they are in the wrong. They tell themselves that it isn’t right. But when the guy comes around, they give in again. Adultery is addicting. How many times can we tell ourselves, or even promise God, “Never again”?

 

If you have sincerely decided you won’t give in to these temptations and attacks; if you’ve moved on from admitting it’s only a “struggle”, then let me encourage you. It is good that you have determined to win this war, but you must rely on His provided grace for every battle.

 

It’s work to be separate, to be different than the world. But He makes it worthwhile. We won’t regret it when our man comes.

 

Some people will see us as a prude. It’s inevitable. But you might be pleasantly surprised. A lot of people that I have had to “stand my ground” with have actually respected my convictions. I recently had to do this very thing with my employer. I felt a little awkward explaining to this innocent match-maker where I stood. Mostly because she is my elder. But I was amazed that she actually agreed with me and told me that she admired my stand. And it has opened up so many good edifying conversations, even opportunities to share Christ, and I also found out that we could encourage each other in this area since she is “single” as well.

 

Having others know our convictions will also help us keep them. It holds us accountable. If we keep our convictions secret we will be easily tempted to give in. But if our friends know where God has convicted us to stand, we won’t be able to back down. That includes that guy that is attracted to us or vice versa. If he really cares about us, he will respect our convictions. Our convictions will honestly do a lot of weeding out of the worthless guys. If we take the time to think about it, a guy that doesn’t respect our convictions isn’t going to be the guy we hope to marry someday, right?

 

Faithful is He that calleth us to purity. He also will do it, if we allow Him to. We are to do our man good ALL the days of his life. (Proverbs 31). That includes right now. Let’s not only save our bodies but also our emotions. Someday we will be glad we did….and so will our man.  

  

Stuck Between Friendship and Matrimony

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Stuck Between Friendship and Matrimony 

So he is a friend. At least, he started out as a friend. But now it’s deeper than that. Or at least it feels that way. You really think he is the most amazing guy in the world, and you’re ready to say “I do”.

But there’s a slight problem: He hasn’t asked. You’re sure he enjoys you and you’re not like other girl friends of his. There’s something different about him and you, but nothing has been said. No pursuing has been initiated. Now what?

I know several young women in this situation. In one circumstance the couple have nothing standing in there way other than the guy simply hasn’t asked. In another situation the young man has made an attempt to “get to know” the young woman, but they are just “friends” because marriage isn’t really an option for her yet. How awkward is it to be stuck between friendship and marriage? Really awkward.

I just wanted to take the time to write a short post of encouragement to you if this speaks of your circumstance.

Firstly, you have no reason to feel ashamed of how you feel. Ignoring and denying your emotions won’t help; neither does feeling guilty about them. They are genuine emotions – accept that.

But with no commitment established you have no ties, no obligations and no entitlements to this man. He isn’t yours and you aren’t his. He is God’s child. You’re job is to allow God to guard your heart and to simply treat him as a friend and sister in Christ, just like you have been. You have no idea where this young man is at. Perhaps God has asked him to wait? Maybe his parents have asked him to wait? Maybe he is securing the means to get married? Your impatience will help no-one. You are expected to remain faithful in what God has set before you. And as long as He hasn’t asked you to pursue a mate, you can rest assured He is working in your behalf. If it’s any consolation, God moves far more quickly with patient surrendered children, than rash self-willed ones.

I’ve met several young women who have based their self-worth on how many young men have asked to start a relationship with them. For some women they have a lot to boost their ego. For others this is disastrous blow to their perceived worth. I want to encourage you that God has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). He is a master at the art of orchestrating your life. You are worth the shedding of His only begotten son. That means you’re priceless.

If the guy of your dreams isn’t moving forward, that may be a good sign that you aren’t meant to be married yet. It has no bearing on your worth and it has no indication of your capability to be a wife.

Diligently set your heart before your Creator. He knows. He understands. He is able to keep your heart and He will guide you. Moving beyond friendship with a young man is a serious thing. It can either be beautiful because it’s in His time, or it can be the worse mistake you’ll ever make in your life. Trust the godly authorities He has placed in your life. Run to the One who knows you best.

Marriage is a gift, not a goal. You haven’t failed just because you’re in your mid twenties (or older) and you haven’t “achieved” marriage status. Has it ever occurred to you that your singleness is a gift? That He expects you to use your singleness to give Him glory and to serve Him and His kingdom with? Have you been faithful in your singleness?

Life is a shining adventure. There’s no better way to squelch your joy and miss opportunities, than to wait for life to begin at marriage. Obviously if He has set before you marriage as an open door, take it courageously and confidently. But if you’re stuck between friendship and matrimony, be encouraged that your part is to simply obey God and charitably treat this young man as a sister in Christ. If you really love him, you will not seek and pursue in impatience. You will not vaunt yourself and make yourself obviously available. You will not hold your breath with little longsuffering. You aren’t waiting on him – you’re waiting on Him. In fact, love would wish the best for who it loves, even if this means, in the end, your desires aren’t granted.

You’re not stuck. You’re just in an amazing journey. Embrace it! He will guide you.

What to do With a Helpless Heart?

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Feelings: I love him! I know I do. There’s times when I look up and he’s smiling at me I feel the world move. He is sweet, and kind…

Conscience: Whoa! Okay, you need to put on the brakes. Think of your purity. Take every thought captive, remember?

Feelings: Yes! But I can’t help it! I go to bed and I lay there and he comes to mind. I pray, and he comes to mind. I wake up, and he comes to mind. I sing, talk, watch movies, work….and he comes to mind.

Conscience: Okay, take a deep breath, you can get through this. Focus on other stuff, something worth doing. Run after Jesus, and someday the right man will come knocking at your heart’s door.

Feelings: But what do I do with myself? When we’re together I want to enjoy him. I enjoy his friendship. What about the times I get butterflies?

What to do when you find yourself attracted to someone? There is a constant war between the rational conscientious side of you, and the powerful emotional side. What if that someone isn’t just a nice guy you happened to feel a twinge of attraction for. What about the godly young man you’d actually consider marrying?

I just wanted to encourage you, that you can remain pure, while still having those feelings and appreciating the godly young man. Someday God will equip this young man with a helpmeet. In His timing. And if God hasn’t opened that door for you, it means this young man doesn’t need you. Not now, not yet, and perhaps never. Be content to be this young man’s friend! That’s exactly all you should be, and all He has thus far allowed you to be. We are doing our brothers in Christ a disservice when we try to move forward in a deeper relationship. Love doesn’t vaunt herself, doesn’t seek her own.

Can we enjoy this person’s company? Certainly! It’s actually inevitable. When you are attracted to someone, everything about them is enjoyable. And it’s okay. You can enjoy them in purity. But any closeness, learning of their heart, fellowship, even friendship must be directed by Jesus. We don’t need to initiate anything. If our future includes this man, Jesus wills see to it. Love doesn’t give to get. So next time we interact, we should be alert to our motives. Do we tell them we respect them to encourage or to spark a fire? What is behind the smile we give them?

But what about those times when we innocently look up and find him smiling at us? What about those moments you feel “butterflies”? The moments when you feel you could wrap your heart up in a box and give it away…what then?

To react with guilt is only self inflicted abuse. But then to swing to the other extreme and revel in it and look for, or initiate, that experience again is taking matters into our own hands and reacting selfishly. To decide to ignore their existence or your emotion’s existence is foolish and impractical, but then to focus on that person to the point that our duties and friendships are neglected or halfheartedly invested in, is also wrong.

There is a balance! There is a way to love this person, even with all the emotions, the right way. We humbly accept the feelings and give it to Jesus, by letting Him know, and letting Him dictate. To deny ourselves the reveling in the feelings is to think highly of him, and a lesson in love. We respect him too much to give in to our emotions. Do we honestly want to gain attraction by mere flirtatious acts? Of course not! We want him to fall in love with us for who we are, not what we give.

He isn’t ours. Even if somehow Jesus promised him to us, he still isn’t ours. We know this, but what do our actions show? We might not think we are being possessive, but we should act with this young man, how we’d hope other girls would treat him. Why? He doesn’t belong to them either! If we stirred up desires in a man that were more than brotherly, we have caused him to lust! It doesn’t matter if he will someday be your man. Today isn’t someday – he isn’t yours anymore than the other girls in his life.

The emotions will be there. Don’t ignore or embrace. Acknowledge them but give them to Someone who can deal with them in righteousness. It does work. It can be done. And if that other person is also trying to treat you with all purity it becomes a mutual respect and love that goes beyond feelings and emotions.

This is something I recently felt encouraged in, and I hope I was able to convey it to you clearly so your heart might also be blessed.

Purity of Heart

Please be advised, some of the information shared in this post may not be appropriate for all ages. 


Over the past months, I had the opportunity of attending two  weddings. Both were beautiful in their own way. Both of which were ‘Christians’. Both of these brides wore beautiful white dresses. And neither of these couples had compromised their purity in a physical act of sexuality. But, one of these couples stood out far above the other in radiant purity. And I’d like to tell you why. I’d like to hopefully explain in words- what I was able to see.
Purity is more than the physical act of sexual contact. It is more than giving away your first kiss. It is even more than holding a guys hand or staring into his eyes. Purity begins in our hearts. It sounds so simple, but it really is true. Purity is a heart issue, not necessarily just a physical issue. In one of the training classes I’ve been taking recently for a Crisis Pregnancy Center, which includes Christian counseling, I had to take a class on “healthy sexuality”. And without going into much of the details, I was amazed and shocked by one of things I read.
“The brain has been called the largest sex organ in the body because sexual excitement is centered in the brain and begins in the brain even before the body is physically aroused.”
I honestly did not know that the brain was quite so involved. This should tell us something about the importance of our thought life. Of how incredibly important it is where we keep our minds and our thoughts, and our imaginations. Of where we allow them to go and what we choose to dwell on. Just as right thoughts can be nourished in our minds towards holiness and purity and godliness, so can wrong thoughts be nourished to our own destruction, and impurity, and disobedience.
Our thoughts are incredibly important and it certainly matters where our minds wander. The Lord cares about our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Where we allow our thoughts to dwell, says something about us. I am not talking, however, about the thoughts that suddenly come into our minds that were completely out of our control. The enemy will often attack us in our minds. But it is the thoughts that we nourish and keep and do not give over to Christ, that we are responsible for.
The battle for purity begins in our minds long before the actual physical temptation arrives. If you’ll freely give away your purity by feeding evil thoughts and imaginations, you will just as easily give that same purity away by your physical actions. Don’t fool yourself by saying that a habit of giving into wicked imaginations will not effect your ability to shut the door when physical temptation actually comes knocking. The thoughts we nurture, are the same thoughts we will eventually act on.
II Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
We are told to “Cast down imaginations”, and to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind”. Sometimes this means, choosing not to think on something that seems enjoyable, or even, innocent. To cast down. To push away. To give up. To turn our imaginations over to Christ. To allow the thoughts in our minds to be so, that we are comfortable with Him joining us. And Christ gives us His standard.
” Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
So…back to those two weddings. One was the wedding of a dear friend of mine. She, the bride, looked beautiful in her modest white dress and her long hair pinned back so eloquently. Her smile was pretty much contagious and I’ve never seen someone “glow” quite like she did. But it was even more than that. She was a pure bride, in the very meaning of the word. Christ shined through her and He was evident, not only in her life, but even in her eyes. This coupled courted. They kept close accountability. And they waited until their wedding day to share their first kiss. It was precious and very sweet. And I respect them both for it.
The other wedding, honestly, kind of made me sad. Christ was not so evidently seen. This couple did not have accountability in the same way. They also did not save their first kiss. And while they were still pure in an actual physical sense, it was obvious that they were quite familiar and comfortable with kissing and touching and caressing each other already. There just wasn’t the same level of purity. And it felt like a cheap substitute for what a Christian wedding is supposed to be, what it is supposed to portray, which is Christ.
So… purity. It begins in our hearts. It is cultivated and protected through our minds. It is revealed by our desires. Are our desires pure?
Proverbs 11:23 says, “The desire of the righteous is only good:”
And Proverbs 18:1 says, “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psalms 73:25-26)
Purity is Christ in us. Purity is allowing the desire of Christ’s righteousness and holiness to penetrate every area of our lives and every area of our emotional, mental, and physical person. And purity is possible, in the highest, most God honoring, and beautiful meaning of the word.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)