Archives For August 2014

Vicky BeechingJoining Ray Boltz and Jennifer Knapp, Vicky Beeching is the latest Christian music artist that has come out as gay. Her story starts in childhood, 12-years-old and fighting feelings for other girls. Confused and ashamed, she reached out to the church for help. Her testimony involves confessing to a Catholic priest and even an “exorcism” where a group of tongue-speaking radicals demanded that Satan leave her.

These futile attempts made no difference for the obvious reason that they had no power. That priest simply recited a memorized prayer and bid her adieu. These others rambled but didn’t pray in Christ’s name or for His will.

The heartbreaking part of her story is the moment she’s face down sobbing before the Lord to take her life or take away her attraction for girls because she couldn’t handle it any longer. But God didn’t. So she believes God made her that way and loves her. Now a leading advocate for same-sex marriage in the church, her testimony has inspired others to be comfortable in their sexual orientation as well.

My question is, “Why didn’t God remove her attraction for the same gender?”

Simply put, it wasn’t the right request.

She prayed that God would remove this attraction as if it was a tumor or a headache. Although as a believer we have power over sin and its temptations, they are not removed. It is a constant battle for purity with the world and our flesh combating us from every angle.

I’ve read numerous testimonies of people who struggled with homosexuality but realized its sinfulness when they believed in Christ. Although they are God’s child and striving for purity, those old feelings still surface at times. God never removed the attraction, but have given them the ability to withstand the temptations.

Alan Chambers, for example, said this, “As far as my life goes, I am married,” he said. “I am happily married. There’s not been one day in the course of our nearly 16 years of being married that I’ve been tempted to be unfaithful to my wife. I would say I have an orientation towards her. I do have same-sex attractions. But to say I have same-sex attractions would be the same as saying I was a married man with opposite-sex attractions.” *

Sixteen years! Even after sixteen years of a heterosexual marriage, those old sins are still haunting him, teasing him, tempting him to fall again.

A man addicted to porn will still feel the pull to those websites after coming to Christ. An alcoholic will still be beckoned by the bottle after giving his life to Jesus. A formerly promiscuous woman will still struggle with her identity even after becoming a child of God.

But, as a Christian, we’ve been given the Spirit of God to overcome these temptations.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

Our past isn’t obliterated at the moment of salvation, it simply loses its control and power. The presence of sinful temptations is not evidence of God’s stamp of approval but that we are still wrapped in flesh that opposes the truth of God. Even the Apostle Paul struggled in his flesh. He writes this in Romans 7.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

The problem inflates when Christians equate the presence of evil desires as God’s will because they were not removed when they were newly created in Christ Jesus. Yes, God loves Vicky Beeching. Yes, Christians ought also to love her. But no, God did not create her this way or approve of her homosexual lifestyle.

We need to beware of twisting Scripture based on feelings or experience. Truth is truth no matter what. Just because we are convinced that our worldview, mindset, or orientation is natural or born to us, doesn’t make it Biblical.

As believers in Christ, we are commanded to work out our salvation. This requires running away from temptation, praying for purity and sanctification, and trusting that God’s laws are for our benefit. I can’t relate to the homosexual struggle. I’ve never experience same-sex attractions. But other sins torment me and mercilessly disrupt my Christian life. In our love and devotion to Christ, we must flee these desires and cling to the holiness given to us by God.

 

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/04/alan-chambers-exodus-international-_n_3696750.html

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Opponents pack council meeting to decry nude Missoula bike ride.

This headline sparked massive interest in my local newspaper. Many comments degraded those who rallied against this citywide event. They mocked those trying to protect their children by saying, “Why protect them? They’re gonna see it sometime anyway. Plus, we were all born this way!”

The “highly anticipated” movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, based off the best-selling novel, is causing a stir. Described as erotic and “porn for moms”, it climbed to the top because of its graphic sexual descriptions.

One of the #1 shows on Netflix, Orange is the New Black, follows a women’s prison inmate and her relationships with a boyfriend, girlfriend, and fellow inmates. Graphic nudity showers this tale with deep roots in lesbianism.

I could go on and on how our culture is immunizing itself against purity through music, literature, television, and more. But the question is, Is it really  harmful? As Christians, can we dabble in these activities and still be OK?

Simply, the answer is “No.” In long, here’s why:

1. We have been made pure by the blood of Christ

God has made it abundantly clear.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV

God, in His endless love for mankind, couldn’t leave us in the mess we created. Sin separated us from our Creator and the only way to restore the relationship was by a perfect, eternal sacrifice. So He stepped down into His creation and offered Himself as the redemptive payment we desperately needed. If one believes in Christ, His sacrifice and resurrection, he his made a new creation. No longer is he dead in sin and impure in God’s eyes, but Christ’s righteousness and purity is imputed onto him.

So if we are forgiven and pure in God’s eyes, why can’t we just sin and rely on grace? The apostle Paul was asked the same thing.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 ESV

Our salvation through Christ ALWAYS leads to righteousness. To sin as a new created being is going against the very nature God made us to be. Holiness is eternal as a momentary titillation is temporary and costly.

2. Impurity offends God

When my children deliberately disobey me, it not only angers me, but hurts deeply. These children that I’ve loved and sacrificed for go against my rules because they think they know what is better for themselves.

How much more is God pained when we knowingly sample the world’s treasures at the expense of his glory? Jesus, being obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, tasted the wrath of the Father so we would no longer be under His righteous judgement.

And yet, even though our spirit is alive through the Holy Spirit, our flesh still longs for the carnal ways of our former lives. And when we give in to those temptations, the Spirit is grieved, Jesus is mocked, and our relationship with the Father is severed until we confess our sins.

3. Purity is our testimony

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and PURITY.”
1 Timothy 4:12

Even in the church, purity often sets us apart from the masses. When a believer takes a stand against the sexual perversions of the world, unfortunately they are often looked upon as legalistic or radical among the congregation. But its only because Godly living leaves sinners feeling guilty. Our purity can drive others to be passionate for Christ and commit to holy living as well.

But even bigger still is our testimony to the unbelieving world. Thought of as prude and religious, pure Christians leave their mark on society. People take notice and watch as their walk lines up with their talk. But to participate in impure activities, kills the message of the gospel as people see that Christians are no different and obviously don’t believe what they claim.

4. The pure receive blessings from the Lord

 “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully, he shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Psalm 24:4-5

The Bible often promises blessings for those who are holy, for those who are set apart from the world unto holiness. Eternal joy and peace overflow, an active and powerful prayer life accompanies, and great is their reward.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:8

5. Impurity will hurt you

Paul states in 1 Corinthians, that unlike all other sins, sexual sins are a sin against our own bodies. If you are unaware of the physical consequences of sexual immorality, please research it.

I will only concentrate on the mind and heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23 NIV

We may scoff at the idea that watching perverse television or reading sexually explicit content will hurt us at all. For nobody else is affected, and many times, nobody else even knows. But those images and creations that you’ve formed in your heart and mind will resurface. They will affect your thoughts toward sex and the opposite gender. Often times, these activities become habitual, becoming idols that replace God. They haunt us when we strive for holy living later in life.

Purity is not a command from God to keep us from having fun. It is who we are in Christ and should strive to be more everyday. It is a blessing to be pure. Without the redeeming work of Jesus, we would never have the opportunity or ability to be holy. It is a privilege and a treasure we need to protect.

This is the day we as Christians need to stand up together. Keep each other accountable and make a decision to live holy as God is holy. Pray that God will convict your heart and give you a passion to live righteously in this ungodly age. Be pure, church, just as Christ has already made you pure.