Fighting Temptation or Fighting God?

When you’re spacing out in class… what do you think about? When you’re laying awake at night and can’t sleep, what are consumes your dreams: video games, music, your friends, a “friend,” good grades, sports, achievements, or some other fantasy?

Those dreams and desires say a lot about who we are and what we desire.

Mark Twain said, “A human being has a natural desire for more than what he needs.” Whether it’s money, food, pleasure, whatever… we want as much of something as we can get.

But when good things becomes obsessions, they begin to control us. They become obsessions. We can even become prisoners to our own desires. We need to learn to say “No!” to ourselves, keeping good desires within healthy boundaries while refusing to entertain our bad desires which can cause us harm.

The Fireplace
If sex is like fire, then marriage is the fireplace. When fire leaves the boundaries of the fireplace, don’t be surprised if you get burned. See other posts from this conversation: Sex, Intimacy, & Healthy Boundaries, and  Secret Struggles & Building an Army (because no one needs to struggle alone). 

Continue reading

What Makes Porn So Harmful?

Pornography is never easy to talk about… it just makes everyone uncomfortable.

Maybe that’s because we all know that it’s wrong. Sometimes guilt is a good thing – in this case, it reminds us that we shouldn’t be doing something that we keep on doing! At the same time, let’s not allow our shame over pornography keep us from discussing a difficult topic. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more to pursue Christ, who purifies our hearts and gives us strength to resist temptation.

A lot of people might think, “What I do in private isn’t hurting anyone. Don’t tell me what to do.” That’s fine, except it’s not true. Porn causes harm. It rewires your brain and can be as addictive as heroin. It breaks relationships and changes how you view people of the other sex (whether you’re married or not, this is a very bad thing!). It can also lead to other emotional and mental problems, especially loneliness and depression. All those things aside, it is well documented that many of the women featured in pornographic videos have suffered physical and emotional abuse.

Shh Continue reading

Is This Love?!

I saw this online yesterday and couldn’t believe that this is what is being taught about love.  Now before you go off and tell me I’m exaggerating, I want you to seriously read this and just imagine what life would look like if the image below really painted a picture about love.  In many ways, this really is the image of love people would see if they watch a lot of TV and movies and don’t have any healthy examples to observe in their real lives.

Now compare that portrait of “love” to what the Apostle Paul says about love in 1 Corinthians 13.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

Tim Challies provides a really helpful blog post the other day that’s relevant here: 8 Bullet Points on Marriage.  Love and Marriage are not toys to play with, but deep and rich longings that must not be made cheap and easy.

Finally, I’d like to recommend you to read Jared Wilson’s post here named: “10 Things Young Singles in Romantic Relationships Ought to Know.”  Here’s a little taste of what he writes:

1. It’s not bad to want to have sex with your significant other. It’d be another sort of worry if you didn’t. The key is to want to glorify Christ more than you want to have sex with each other.

4. Nearly every Christian I know who is married to an unbeliever loves their spouse and does not necessarily regret marrying them, but has experienced deep pain and discontent in their marriage because of this unequal yoking and would now never advise a believer to marry an unbeliever.

8. Pre-marital sex wounds a young woman’s heart, perhaps imperceptibly at first but undeniably over time, as she trades in covenant benefits without covenant security. This is not the way God designed sex to fulfill us.

10. You are loved by God with abundant grace in Christ’s atoning work, and an embrace of this love by faith in Jesus provides Holy Spiritual power and satisfaction to pursue relationships that honor God and thereby maximize your joy.

What is Cellular Purity?

Below is a great video on the connection between cell phones and pornography, this is a “must watch” for every parent and youth worker!

For more posts on Sexual Purity and Moral Boundaries check these links out:

  • Previous post I’ve written entitled “Struggling against porn
  • Pornography Harms” is the name of a new site devoted to helpful, informative, credible information regarding the harmfulness of pornography.  Great site!
  • Link for Teens: Teens Against Porn – this is a GREAT site that deals with the allure and the effects of pornography while giving you encouragement that you’re not alone and that through Christ you can overcome this temptation!
  • Link for Parents: The Porn Talk – don’t know how to talk to your son or daughter about sex and pornography?  Check this site out for some ideas and resources.

Last Week at Youth Group: Moral Boundaries

What’s the difference between the fire in a fireplace and a fire that’s burning your house down?  Boundaries.

Is there such thing as a safe fire?  Yes.  And No.  Even a lit candle which is in a jar can burn your house down if that candle is bumped off the table and the flame spreads beyond it’s jar/boundary.

Sex and sexuality are the same way.  God made sex as a wonderful thing… but within its proper boundaries.  On television and in movies sex is used as a shortcut to deep relationships, but God gave us sex as the pinnacle expression of love and intimacy within marriage.

I know many people who have good marriages, but whose marriages are seriously affected because of the previous sexual experiences one or both members had before they got married.  Sexual purity paves the way to intimacy.

The best definition for intimacy I’ve come across is this: “Intimacy is the joy of knowing someone fully and being known by that person with no fear of rejection” (Andy Stanley, The Seven Checkpoints.  Howard Books, 2001. p.81).  I believe we all crave that kind of intimate relationship.  If we listened to the media, we’d think we get that kind of intimacy through sex.  But that intimate relationship comes from sexual purity!

So what are your Moral Boundaries?  Where is your “line” drawn?  How far is too far for you?

In General:

  • The further you go, the faster you go
  • The further you go, the further you want to go
  • The further you go, the more difficult it is to go back

So set clear Moral Boundaries TODAY!  If you wait until you’re alone with your boyfriend/girlfriend to define and defend those boundaries you will eventually go further than you originally want (and further than God wants too!).  Here are four keys to setting clear Moral Boundaries:

  1. Know your own boundaries first, and stick to them
  2. Discuss clear boundaries (if you can’t discuss boundaries, you probably shouldn’t be in this relationship)
  3. Agree on clear boundaries (if you can’t agree on boundaries, you definitely shouldn’t be in this relationship)
  4. Don’t sabotage yourself! (as in: Don’t “hang out” in a house all by yourselves and then wonder why you went too far)

So what do you do if you’ve already gone too far?

  1. Stop! Take a break in the relationship and evaluate whether you need to end it to save yourself.
  2. Drop! Pray.  Confess your sin to God and ask him daily to give you His strength to regain purity.
  3. Roll! Get away from bad influences and get closer to godly influences

Remember God’s love overcomes all sin when you confess and repent.

  • “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:11-12
  • “But God demonstrates is own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Struggling Against Porn

Puritan writer John Owen famously declared, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”

Porn is a serious struggle for many teens and college-aged men (and for all other ages too… but especially for young men).  It’s taboo to talk about and no one wants to admit their struggle to anyone else, especially if you’re a Christian.

Parents, here are some ways you can help:

  1. Don’t let your teen have a computer with internet access in his bedroom… especially at night!
  2. Install non-override filters with secure firewalls on all computers in your home.
  3. Fathers, talk to your sons about pornography.  Yes, it will be an uncomfortable conversation, but if you really want your son to walk with Jesus faithfully he should be able to come to you for support.
  4. Don’t add to the shame!  Don’t make him feel gross or like a freak… he already feels that way and needs to know that what he’s struggling against (sexual temptation) is normal, even though it’s not right or healthy.

Check out the link to “Teens Against Porn” under links on this site.  Boundless (a ministry of Focus on the Family) also has a number of helpful articles devoted to helping people overcome their struggles against pornography while helping others better understand this struggle at all… you can find those articles here.