Prayer & Discernment 

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Morning Devotion: Give it 12 months and pray (talk about relationships (friendships and marriage)). Prayer at the end. 

I grew up in the church, my dad is a pastor/evangelist/chaplain. My mom prophetic, a teacher, preacher, and quite discerning. They taught me oh so very much. One of the greatest things they taught and modeled was agape love and prayer. I was taught to pray expecting God to show up. He has! My word, He has. My parents also modeled sacrificial, lavish love. We were taught to love everyone and be generous. They are part of my family culture. 

One thing I will add to what they taught me is look at the fruit of someone’s life who wishes to connect with you. The character and fruit matter so much more than their words, gifting, or performance. Jesus said you will know a tree by its fruit, not it’s gifting, words, church attendance, performance. 

How many of you pray about the people who want to befriend you or for singles, date you? 

How many pray about the opportunities presented? 

How many look for good fruit in the person’s life or with that business, church, or organization? 

How do they treat people? What is their track record? 

Some Good Fruit: Love, respect, honor, taking responsibility for actions, honesty, integrity, kindness, self control, wisdom, peace, handles conflict instead of avoids it, keeps their word, keeps confidences, loyalty, things bloom/get better with their addition, value added, you are better because of the situation, seeks to build up instead of perpetually tear down, tells you what you need to hear, not just what tickles your ears, treats your heart like it’s theirs, unselfish, fair/just, free of control and manipulation. 

You see there is good, and there is God. There is good, and there is His very best. God gives good gifts. 

I am not stating run from every person who is not perfect; there are no perfect people btw. I am not saying run from broken people either. Everyone has something God is working on in their lives. I am saying look for some good fruit, examine character; prayer may save you some unnecessary drama and trauma. 

We are called to love everyone. We are not required to be best friends, confidants, or partners with everyone. 

Every opportunity is not God sent. Every cute or handsome person may not make a great spouse. Every person who tries to befriend you at church does not make a good friend. Every person who says, “I love you. You are like family or my best friend,” does not necessarily mean those words. You must look for fruit. Actions scream over words. 

It’s easy for people to put their best foot forward at first. The goal is (maybe) to impress the other person, connect, and for some to latch on to the other person. The trouble comes when masks fall off and you see the real deal. We are still to love people (seek to do no intentional harm, look for ways to bless them). Yet it is better to know before your heart is entangled or connected if that person is going to put your heart through a meat shredder. 

I placed 12 months on relationships (trial period) because, from experience, you begin to see more of the real person after a year. Some people can pretend for much longer. Yet I have noticed after a year the guard is lowered a bit and you get to see more transparency. Each person do what is best for you. It is not a law, just an observation. 

God wants you and me treated with respect, love, honor, and dignity. 

When I meet people and they have this toxic relationship going on, some will say, “God brought this person into my life.” So I ask, “Would you set someone you love to be in a relationship with someone who treated them this way?” The answer is normally no. Yet there is a belief that God desires less for His kids. 

There is a misbelief that God enjoys the hurt, heartache, abuse, and suffering of His children. He does not. This is a lie based off the treatment of Jesus. The Father delighted in the redemption of mankind through His Son. He did not delight in watching humanity mistreat Jesus. God loves His Son. He also loves you. 

So, with many learning bumps on this heart I have learned and am learning to do the following. 

1. Pray. 

Lord You know this person and their heart/character. Please reveal it to me. Help me not to connect with people who will leave my heart shattered or beat up. You bring in the people who are loving, trustworthy, good, kind, and will leave my heart better than before. 

Lord show me who this person really is. 

Lord is this opportunity a blessing from You or just a distraction or a setup to be mistreated/used? 

2. Pay attention. 

I am speaking from experience, not “Thus sayeth the Lord.” God does not always come out and tell me, “This person is up to no good.” Mostly they show me through their actions. Their words and actions conflict. They reveal two faces. There is disparity between what they say and live. If you remove their words and just look at their actions, you see their character. God will also sometimes reveal their heart/character in dreams. 

3. Love the person with appropriate boundaries. 

It’s easy to throw people in the garbage. We throw trash in the garbage, not people. Just because someone is not the best fit for us, does not make them worthless. No one is worthless. Pray for the person. You may seek ways to bless them. It does not mean you tell them the inner parts of your world or bond like besties. It does not mean you are forced to spend time with them or give them access to you. 

There are people I love, yet my connection with them is limited based on their behavior that brings drama, trauma, chaos. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, I would clothe them. I pray for them. I am not inclined to treat them like my confidant. 

Papa God thank You that You love us all. Thank You that You are good. Thank You that you answer prayers and we can trust You. You know the perfect matches and opportunities for us. You know it all. Give us Your eyes and discernment. Cast out fear and suspicion by Your great love. Help us to make wise choices in relationships. Help us to be a tremendous blessing to everyone. Bring in Your choices for friends, mates, opportunities. Thank You for the ability to choose ourselves, yet we invite You in as the One who knows all and loves us more than anyone else. You desire Your very best for us. Heal any wounds from the not so great connections, make us whole. In Jesus mighty name amen. 

Choosing the Right Mate (Sacred Sex Series Part VI) 

  

  

Morning Devotion: God loves to pair people for mutual blessing and a catapulting of destiny. A look at Godly connections for marriage. 

Marriage is more than sex and fun, it’s a Kingdom partnership to help establish God’s Kingdom on earth. 

When people look for a car or to buy a house, they do some research. Most homebuyers do a home inspection. Car buyers may get a Carfax report. They examine the condition of the inside. Yet when people are thinking about marriage or even friendship, there can be minimal to no research on the character or inner workings of a person. There may be an assessment of 1. Do we have fun? 2. Do I like this person? 3. Am I attracted to what is on the outside? 

Here are some problems with ignoring what’s inside. 

1. When storms come and they do, pretty/handsome and fun mean nothing. Beauty fades. What happens if your significant other is injured, their beauty taken away, and you have to care for them. A shallow person may jump ship, abandon, or leave you hanging. Why? Challenges and storms are not fun. To be in a place to care for someone who can do nothing for you is not fun to the flesh. 

What happens if that person can no longer meet your physical needs? Will you abandon them to get your needs met someplace else. Covenant says, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I am going to love you and stand by you.” 

Our culture focuses so much on chemistry, sex, fun, and the flesh. I am so not against those things. Yet if they are the foundation, they are a very shaky foundation. 

The married couples I know who lasted 40-55 years focused on friendship, learning to love, forgiveness, compromise, and doing what was best for the other person. They sought to honor God through their interactions with the other person. Even when they did not like the other person, they chose love. 

Does the person you are interested in demonstrate noble character and unselfish love? Do they exhibit faithfulness? Are they loyal? How do they treat people who can do nothing for them? How do they love God? How do they handle finances? How do they spend their free time? How do they feel about themselves? 

If they are unloving, unkind to other people and loving to you, that is a red flag. If they only connect with God for what they can get, they will do the same to you. If they are unfaithful in other areas of their life, that’s something to investigate. 

The flesh will easily go along with what it thinks will please it. Flesh does not do so well when it is challenged, there is pain, delayed gratification, or challenges. The flesh tries to avoid pain or challenges. You will be surprised how many divorces or infidelity happen after a major sickness, trauma, or tragedy in a marriage. 

2. After all the hormones subside and the flesh is gratified, you are left to live with their character. 

When we first meet someone and we like them, hormones are high. If there is chemistry it makes a person feel on top of the world. The hormone high does not last. Scientists have studied the hormones involved in attraction. After a year, the intense high starts to lower. After 7 years your body becomes accustomed to them. Hence the phrase “The 7 year itch.” Then if you do not have real love, many jump ship for what’s new. The first year, after the 7th year, after kids, and after kids leave the nest are markers for marriage. If you only have lust and fun, your building will not stand. 

3. Destiny is not examined. 

Every person has a divine purpose for being born. Some seek God for destiny, some choose their own. Yet examining a potential life partner just for what’s outside and fun can lead to a wrong choice. 

Example (names changed): 

Lisa and John met. John loved her beauty and love for Jesus. Lisa married John. Lisa always felt called to teach and impact the world through teaching children. John after several years of marriage makes Lisa quit teaching school and stay home. They have over a half dozen children and it leads her to have a total mental breakdown. She recovers, yet feels her dreams are not even considered. They are not considered. John is about building his Kingdom. Lisa is there to serve him. She can do nothing without John’s approval. Lisa eventually dies. She was happy to die, she was tired of being drug around by her husband. 

Some may say this was a good marriage. I disagree. God looks to advance and enhance our destiny, not diminish our destiny. Lisa wanted to teach. She taught John many things. He, however, felt men are the only ones to work. He also felt headship meant boss instead of support/servant/the one who sacrifices the most. He modeled worldly dictatorship not the Christlike love of Jesus that seeks to elevate, sacrificially serve, empower. 

I believe Jesus would have empowered Lisa to teach, cheer for her dream, support her, and be her greatest support. Head also means source or support. Yet many use head to mean dictator, boss, parent. Jesus did (does) not model dictatorship. He modeled support, a source of life/encouragement, and sacrificial love. Jesus never tries to kill my dreams to benefit himself. Why? Jesus is not selfish nor insecure. 

I have had people try to push me into marrying a certain person, yet I know part of my destiny. When I was quite young God told me why I was born, some of the countries I would travel to, and my purpose. He has confirmed His words through many people and it matches my heart desires. When men come wanting to diminish who God says I am or negate what He told me to do, I say no. Why? A man is not more important than God. 

Any person who wants to diminish who you are is insecure and insecure people make relationships challenging and in many cases toxic or one sided. Insecurity is self focused, “What about me? Me! Me! Me!“. It’s fruits are jealousy, constantly needing affirmation/validation, easily offended, suspicion, selfishness, rejection/self rejection, emotional instability and can cause abuse (verbal, physical, or sexual). 

How can two be joined together lest they agree? I know part of my destiny involves global missions and actually going into other countries to share the Gospel, part of my destiny involves evangelism/teaching/and doing what Jesus did. 

Men who think women can not do those things is not for me. Men who believe women were only created to be their slaves and sex partners are not for me. Men who care nothing about who I am and focus only on their fleshly attraction are not for me. Men who do not truly love God and seek to honor Him are not for me. Men who are grossly selfish and do not care about the poor are not for me. My life is centered around a passionate love for God and intimacy with Him. My ministry in the world is seeking to heal, feed, deliver the oppressed, least, last, lost. 

May all the singles spend time with God when choosing a life partner. It is a more important decision than buying a car or house. Everything that glitters is not God. The flesh will say, “Pick the fun, super attractive one.” The Spirit will say, “Pay attention to their character. What will you build together?” 

May singles look with eyes of the Spirit. This person will either draw you closer to God and help catapult your destiny or diminish it. 

Know Your True Enemy 

  
Morning Devotion: Understand your opponent. The key to continual victory is understanding your true enemy. 

People are not the enemy, though there are people who cooperate with the devil to accomplish his will on earth. He requires human agreement. 

People say Eve was gullible and that’s why the serpent chose to go to her first. I disagree. Eve was given the same mandate as Adam; fill and subdue the earth, have dominion (Genesis 1). She had authority. God did not say, “Adam have dominion, Eve go pick berries, clean the Garden, do whatever Adam tells you to do.” God said to both of them to have domion. 

God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”~Genesis 1:28. Notice He said, “Them” plural. 

Dominion Definition: sovereignty; control, authority, mastery, power, rule, government. 

The serpent did not need to deceive Adam. Scripture says Adam was with Eve when she ate from the tree (Genesis 3:6). Adam knowingly betrayed God, committed treason, and then blamed Eve. Why not go for the one who will knowingly betray God? 

Eve represented a part of what the devil hates; life, relationship. She was bone of Adam’s bone, flesh of his flesh. He would cleave to her. They would together enter into the first covenant between humans. They would together be fruitful and multiply, fill and subdue the earth, and have dominion together (Genesis 1). 

God had given them (Adam and Eve) a mandate that would continually crush the head of the serpent. They would together fill the earth with the glory of God and create more humans to worship God. 

The devil abhors the true worship of God. 

If you turn them against each other, it is the perfect set up for chaos, disorder, and dysfunction. Adam blamed Eve, and today women are one of the most persecuted people groups. It is challenging to see in America-though we have stats that show the validity of an issue. If you look to other parts of the world, you can see horrific abuse of women. 

If the one chosen to carry life (Eve) is turned on by the one chosen to protect life (Adam) you can destroy civilization. When a woman is pregnant she carries two lives, and one is quite vulnerable (baby). The mother is also going through some challenges as her body is changing to carry a life. God seeks to protect life. Satan desires to steal, kill, and destroy lives. 

Knowing your opponent…

Lucifer (the devil) is not God’s equal, he is far below God. He is a created being who turned evil due to pride (Isaiah 14:12-14). He had the ability to choose, just as we do. He was not created evil. 

He is to be under the feet of the born again believer. So no glory to him. He is a defeated, losing loser. Yet he is still deceiving the world, turning allies into enemies, trying to hijack identity, and use human authority. 

There are women today who are still living under the curse of Eve; stripped of Godly authority, feeling shamed, gullible, less than, and naive. Women who have been silenced or their voices condemned because of the actions of one woman. Jesus nailed the sins of Eve to the cross and took on every curse to restore what was lost in the Garden. Women believers are redeemed, joint heirs with Jesus, empowered, and have the same access to God as their male counterparts. 

There are men today who are still living under the curse Adam; stripped of Godly authority, betraying God and looking after their own interests. Men who have had Godly masculinity replaced with with worldly masculinity, pride, lust, and ego. Jesus nailed the sins of Adam to the cross and took on every curse to restore what was lost in the Garden. Men believers are redeemed, and can walk in the same character traits of Jesus through abiding and intimacy with God (John 15:4-5). 

It is a good time for men and women to be restored to Godly identity pre the fall, to work as allies, and see the fulfillment of God’s mandate on earth. No us vs. them. It’s team Jesus; unified allies representing God in the earth. Each created in the unique expression of God. Each uniquely and passionately loved. Each redeemed through the blood of Jesus. 

Let’s end with a look at the nature of our true enemy, the fallen angel Lucifer-also known as the devil. 

He is: 

  • A liar 
  • A deceiver 
  • A murderer 
  • A control freak 
  • A pervert (twisting God’s trust and will) 
  • A divider (he loves division) 
  • A manipulator 
  • An imitator (he takes what God has created and perverts it into something unintended or wrong) 
  • A coward 
  • A user and abuser 
  • A destroyer 
  • A thief 
  • A blasphemer 
  • An accuser 
  • An instigator
  • A bully 

He is: 

  • Full of pride, self exaltation
  • Full of ego 
  • Full of selfishness (he would be considered a narcissist or sociopath) 
  • Full of jealousy and envy 
  • Full of hatred (there is no love in him) 
  • Full of lust/immorality/lawlessness/sexual perversion
  • Full of deceit (he is the Father of lies) 
  • Full of desire to dominate, force his will on people 
  • Full of fear  
  • Full of anger and rage
  • Full of offense 
  • Full of criticism  

He hates: 

  • God 
  • Humans 
  • Women (targets women/motherhood/identity/authority/purity)
  • Men (targets men to lead them to surrender their Godly masculinity/authority to lust, anger, selfishness, pride, independence from God and others) 
  • Life
  • Unity 
  • Relationship/community 
  • Purity 
  • Hope
  • Encouragement
  • Godly prayer/intercession 
  • Holiness 
  • Humility 
  • Love 
  • Godly covenant
  • Holy sex (inside covenant between a natural born man and woman)  
  • Family 
  • The True Body of Christ 
  • True disciples of Jesus 
  • Intimacy with God 
  • Worship of God 
  • Exaltation of Jesus 

He lacks: 

  • Genuine compassion
  • Agape love (unselfish, sacrificial, unselfish love) 

He enjoys: 

  • Starting fights/strife
  • Death
  • Religious activities void of the power and love of God 
  • Perversion
  • Sexual sin 
  • Oppression 
  • Stealing joy, hope from people 
  • Doing bad things and watching people blame God or each other 
  • Activity not birthed from intimacy with God 
  • Insecurity 
  • Guilt, shame 
  • Rejection 
  • Torment 
  • Affliction 
  • Embarrassing people/humiliation 
  • Using people 
  • Depression 
  • Poverty/lack 

God is 100% good. We see the true nature of the Father in His Son Jesus. God is love. He is for humanity. May you and I know our true enemy. May we walk in the Spirit and be allies with other believers. May our identities be restored to their pre-fall state. May we rise up in our God given authority and stand with God for holy dominion and expanse of His Kingdom on earth. 

10 Commandments of Self Care 

Created with WordSwag, used with permission.

Life requires balance. Only God can continuously pour out without depletion. Only God can meet everyone’s needs. He is not asking us to be Him. He gives each of us specific things to do and a season to do them. 

For all the givers in the world here are my 10 commandments of self care. If you just take from people and invest zero, these apply solely to givers/investors. 

Self care: putting your needs above another’s wants. 

Selfishness: putting your wants above another’s needs.”

1. It’s okay to say no. 

I like the word no. Saying no enables you to say yes to what truly matters. 

Every assignment, opportunity, relationship is not your assignment. Ask God where to invest. God may have someone else better suited to do whatever it is or connect with that person. And do not feel guilty for placing people, situations in the hands of God. 

2. You are not God. 

Do not let people put you in His place. There are things they need to get straight from Him. I ask people sometimes-have you prayed about this? Talked to God? 

3. Rest is a weapon. 

Schedule rest if you need to. Turn off the phone, book a retreat, stay home, lock yourself in the bathroom, go for a long drive, take a sabbatical, book a vacation or staycation…

4. Assess the takers in your life. 

Are you enabling them? Has your desire to give merged into codependency? Say NO to enabling poor treatment. Say NOoooooo to codependency. I like the phrase, “Your crisis does not constitute my emergency.” 

Turn the other cheek is not about being a doormat or enabling poor treatment. Jesus corrected people. 

Every person is responsible for their own life and choices, unless it’s an infant. 

5. Do not let people guilt you into doing more than you can do, or anything at all. 

6. Find out who and what your priorities are. 

Once you know your best yes, you can say no to what is not. The goal is to honor God and prevent burnout. 

Cease making people a priority when they should not be. Big lesson learned for me the past few years. 

7. Can you meet the need? Should you? Is God asking you to? 

If it’s life or death, well get some help or help. Other things, well think about what you are saying yes to. 

8. Get the details? What does this assignment, opportunity, or relationship entail? 

Better to know up front than later. Pay attention. Some people will attach to you to meet a need. Once their need is gone they will ditch you for the next fix. Some will see your gifting, talent, skills, (fill in whatever you have to offer), who you know, and seek to cling to you for selfish motives. 

Are you a friend or simply a resource? Friendship involves mutual investment. If it’s one sided all the time, it’s not a friendship. 

9. Do nice things for you! ❤️💯

Love yourself. It’s okay to do nice things just for you. It is not selfish, it’s healthy. 

10. Tell people what your needs are/have some investors in your life. 

If people are accustomed to you being there for them, they may never ask if you need something or how you are doing. Have a circle that is invested in you and care about your needs/desires. 

Allow God to Meet Your Needs (Sacred Sex Series Part V)

  
Good morning beautiful people. 

You are loved! 

Today I wanted to chat with you about needs. We, as humans, have needs. Those needs left unmet can lead to soul wounds, despair, discouragement, hurt, unhealthy relationships, or addictions. 

What are our basic needs. Well, other than food and water, we need: 

  • Affection
  • Affirmation
  • Encouragement
  • Family (does not have to be natural) 
  • Sense of Belonging 
  • Unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial (Agape) Love: we were created by love, to be loved, and to love.

God is the primary Source of these things. If we bypass Him to try to get those needs met by others, well it brings problems. God loves purely. There is no bias. 

God is stable, consistent, and will not love you today and withhold love tomorrow. God comes to give and not consume. God comes with a heart of pure unconditional, sacrificial, and lavish love. 

People, substances, and things were never created to replace our need for God. When they replace Him, unhealthy habits, and unhealthy relationships form. It also leads to great disappointment. 

In our culture we have people looking for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong faces, in an attempt to fill a void only God can fill. 

So how do we deal? The world offers so many opportunities to get needs met in unhealthy ways. God offers healthy ways.

  1. Start with God. 
  2. Seek healthy community 
  3. Set boundaries for weaknesses

God tells us the following in His word. 

  • Mt 6:8…”your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
  • Ps 34:10…”…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
  • Ps 24:1…”The earth is the Lord’s, and all it’s fullness,…”
  • Ps 50:10…”…every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
  • Gen 18:14…”Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
  • Mt 7:7…”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
  • Rom 8:32…”He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?”

The love God has for us is pure, genuine, overflowing, and good. 

He is available 24/7 to provide love, encouragement, hope, joy, peace, and His goodness. He provides affirmation, healing, and affection. 

When we start with God we have a better idea of what genuine love is and what it is not. When we start with God, we leave full and have something to offer others. We enter relationships not out of great need, but to be a blessing. 

Community: 

We were designed to live and thrive in community. Community provides an outlet for family. God’s design was for everyone to have a family. Unfortunately our culture has models of brokeness. Some people are not loved by their natural families. 

God designed the Body of Christ to be a source of family for people. We are still working out the kinks of family in church, yet that was God’s design. 

Pray for God to place you in a family if you do not have one. He excels at divine connections. 

Family provides a safe place for some of those needs. A God given family is a blessing. 

Set Boundaries: 

Where do you turn when there is a need? To food, alcohol, the internet, a person? Knowing your triggers helps to prevent sin. If I know I am feeling down, where do I turn? God or people? 

I have found people are nice, but sometimes they make me feel worse. They offer scripture bandaids that often are not helpful. Or they have zero compassion or offer judgement. Or they blow me off because they are concerned about themselves. So, for the most part, I go to God. My boundary is set with “I will spend time with God, not seek help from people.” 

There are times I will solicite help from people, yet many learning bumps later I have seen and continue to see my best bet is God.

Your boundary may be different. It may be, “When I am hurting or in need, I turn to this person or thing.” You may need to set a boundary of, “I will not seek to connect with anyone before I connect with God.” 

You and I were designed for intimacy (knowing others and being known). We were created to be loved, affirmed, encouraged, and to have affection. Those needs are normal. The way we get those needs met is what leads us on a path of purity or unhealthy living. 

I bless you friends. You are prayed for and deeply loved. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

Hormones or Lust? (Sacred Sex Series Part IV) 

  
Image Credit: WordSwag, used with permission. 

Hello beautiful people. Today I wanted to unpack some truth on hormones to hopefully relieve some shame, provide insight, and offer tools for walking in purity. 

First things first. You are a human being who has hormones. These hormones do many things; regulate metabolism, body temperature, affect body shapes/sizes, regulate reproduction. 

Almost every human has been given the ability to reproduce after it’s own kind. Men have sperm. Women have eggs. They unit to create another human who shares their DNA. 

In the normal hormonal makeup of a human is the desire to mate and reproduce. No shame if you do not desire physical intimacy or children. My point is the desire for physical affection from the opposite sex and the desire to have children is God given. The human body has hormones that support these desires. 

The desire for physical affection is not evil. Things get out of hand when hormones partner with lust. What is lust? Here is my definition. 

Lust: 

  1. An unquencheable desire for what one does not have. 
  2. A desire to do whatever it takes to satisfy that desire. 
  3. A desire to take for selfish gain, self gratification. 

Lust is not from God. It is a result of the fall. Adam saw Eve naked and his first response was to speak life and prophesy over her. He was not seeking to take from her, nor was he singing, “Let’s get it on.” 

Yes, I have heard the song and hear the things men say about women. I am surrounded by men who sing “Let’s get it on,” like it is their theme song. I work with majority males. What they do not recognize is that they were created to love not lust. 

While men chant, “Men will be men. We just can not help ourselves,” God whispers back, “I created you in My image to agape love (unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional love).” Men were designed to unselfishly love (give), not take. 

Hormones (flesh) say, “I want to mate with someone, be physically intimate.

Lust says, “I desire to meet my own desires and I do not care how. I am here to be gratified and satisfied. People are objects to be used for my pleasure.” 

Lust is selfish. Lust wants to take for it’s own pleasure without regard for God, or others. Lust is never satisfied. It requires more and more while giving less and less. 

Love says, “I will walk in self control. I will seek to honor God and others. I will abort thoughts and images that are not holy. I am here to give, not take. It is not about feelings or hormones. It is about honor.” 

Love seeks holy connection in commitment/covenant. Love sees a person to be cherished, respected, honored…not an object to be used and discarded. 

So how does one walk in purity in a world where many things are set up to lure people into lust? 

Lust sells right? It sells because it becomes an addiction. People need more and more to feel good. The lust can be for sex, money, power, attention, affirmation, prestige. Lust always wants more! 

God has another plan, plan A. His plan involves agape love, receiving His love, knowing Him, and sharing His love with others. 

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

Stepd for walking in purity: 

I. Assess Your Needs 

  1. The need may be for intimacy-to be known. 
  • This need is normal and there are healthy ways to get this need met without falling into the trap of lust. 
  • Godly friendships and friendship with God are great ways to meet this need. 
  • Go to God with your desire for intimacy. 
  • God is faithful to listen and provide great holy connections.

All we need is love, right?

  1. Is the need for love? God is love. Unfortunately God does not embrace us the way a human being can, yet His embrace of our spirit is far more powerful. 
  • Godly community can also be a place for our love to be given and for love to be received. The hugs, smiles, laughter, shared experiences can help to keep us connected. 
  • Seek God and be in healthy commmunity. 
  • If you ask, God is faithful to provide a tribe. 

II. Set Boundaries

Okay so boundary is sometimes an overused word in Christian culture. Yet boundaries are important. They protect both people. 

What is appropriate for your relationship? Well, what honors God? Would you mind it being broadcast on tv for your parents, pastor, friends (unmarried peeps)? If not, cease the activity. 

Physical intimacy was intended to lead somewhere…to more physical intimacy. It was not designed to be cut on and off. That’s why you read stories of people who started something that seemed so innocent that led to far, far more. 

The Bible says, “It is not prudent to awaken love before it’s time.” Why? Because your body will move towards what it was designed to do…don’t go playing with matches. You will get burned. 🔥🔥🔥

It is also very imperative to not treat a boyfriend or girlfriend like a spouse, emotionally, spiritually, or  physically. 

Do not give yourself away to someone who is not your spouse. 

Many affairs or trails to a bedroom started with emotional or spiritual connection. How much time is being spent alone with this person? Talking on the phone? Sharing dreams, praying, emotions, struggles? These activities build intimacy. 

How much is shared too soon or without committment? It can be a set up for later heartache. 

Stories:  

I have been discipling for 12 years and have seen quite a bit. 

There was Marcus (not his real name). He connected with lots of women on an emotional and spiritual level. He was the handsome, seemingly “nice” Christian guy. He knew how to pray and say all the right things. 

The issue was Marcus had zero desire to love or commit to any of those ladies. The ones with little to no boundaries were greatly harmed by him. They opened their hearts and souls to someone not committed to love them. Some gave their bodies to him. He moved on to the next target. 

Marcus stated he only told women what he thought they wanted to hear so he could take from them. He was a predator. He was selfish. 

Ladies and gents, set boundaries. Do not give yourself away. You are a priceless treasure. Your future or current spouse will thank you. Your soul will too. 

There was Lisa (not her name). Lisa had a handsome boyfriend. They spent lots of time talking, connecting, being together. She lived alone so they would have hang outs at her place, some were evening hang outs. These hang out led to other things. 

She believed he loved her and was only with her. She did not find out until later he had given her an STD (sexually transmitted disease). It is one she will have forever. Lisa did not set a boundary to protect her purity. Her boyfriend felt he was in love, yet love does not seek to take. He took not only her virginity, he left her with a disease. 

There was Hope and John (not their real names). They were both happily married until they met each other. Then they began chatting for hours, texting, working late together, eating lunch together alone, sharing their struggles. 

Over time the intimacy they built with each other emotionally led to a physical affair. They had no boundaries with each other. They both hurt their spouses and Hope damaged her witness for Jesus. John was not a believer.

There was Janet (not her real name) who became best friends with Eva. Their friendship lacked boundaries and they started acting like a married couple. Eva developed romantic feelings for Janet.Though Janet did not reciprocate those feelings, their lack of healthy boundaries created a perfect storm. 

III. Feed Your Soul Healthy Things 

I know we live in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey, it is your body-do what you want, overly sexual images/activities, etc…yet we are responsible for our soul care. What you feed grows, what you starve dies. Feed the soul what is healthy. 

Disclaimer: 

As for those courting or seriously dating, I am not stating you can not hug, hold hands, or share an appropriate kiss. I am not stating to never be alone together. Use wisdom. Alone at night in your apartment may not be wisdom for you. Set up situations where if you are tempted the next leap isn’t possible. God never sets anyone up to fall. 

You must talk over your personal boundaries with God and the person you are seeing. Are your actions loving? Are they helping the other person remain pure in action and in thought? Or is it lighting a fire you are not able to sustain because you are not married. 

My unsolicted suggestion is to set boundaries for all relationships. What is loving, pure, healthy? What will draw the other person closer to God? What will help them remain pure too? 

Part of relationships is drawing the other person closer to God, imitating Christ. This flows over into marriage too. Marriage does not cure lust any more than bars cure alcoholism. So may lust be  aborted and replaced with agape love. 

Papa God I pray blessings over everyone subscribed to this blog. Purify all hearts and souls. Lord may all believers be people who walk in agape love. Replace any lust with Your unfailing love. In Jesus mighty name, amen. 

Resource: 

Choosing God’s Best
This book focuses on courtship over dating. I do love the boundaries sections. If you are pro dating and not so much into the courting formalities, it still provides some wisdom. 

Bless you! 

Erin 

Choose Reality Over Fantasy (Sacred Sex Series Part III)

  
Image: WordSwag; used with permission. 

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,~2 Corinthians 10:5. 

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body,~1 Corinthians 6:18. 

God gave us a brain, an imagination, a will, and emotions. These things when purified are a gift. A holy imagination is a great place for God given creativity to be birthed. Our thoughts were meant to align with His so what is birthed out of our soul brings Him glory. Our thoughts are powerful. Our imagination powerful. 

Sin starts with a thought, a seed. “Do this. You deserve this. This will feel good. This will meet your needs.” 

The devil does not tell people, “Giving in to things outside God’s will leads to bondage, addiction, distraction, lust, patnership with the devil, or sin.” He never talks about consequences. He leads people into sin and then laughs at them. 

The serpent did not tell Eve her choice would bring death, sickness, pain, and destruction into the entire world for all of time. He led her to believe God was witholding something good. He does not tell the world today sex outside marriage covenant of a man and woman leads to bondage and opens the door wide open to the demonic. He does not tell people pornography kills love, intimacy, and leads to addiction/sexual dysfunction/demonization. It is fueled by lust and perversion (twisting of God’s truth about sex). He does not tell people sexual fantasies lead to unrealistic expectations that keep people unsatisfied and discontent with their current life. Sexual fantasies also open the door wide open to a spirit of lust. He does not tell anyone undressing someone with the eyes is reducing them to an object to be used, not a person to be loved. 

Live in reality not fantasy…

We live in a world that promotes virtual reality. As long as it’s an image on a screen or character in a book or movie it’s harmless. As long as someone is consenting, it’s okay. What you do with your body is okay. Well, sin always cost someone something. 

Most men who buy sex, even to the point of buying young girls and children (sex trafficking) started with a porn addiction. It started with a fantasy in the mind that developed into a stronghold of lust/perversion/pedophilia/whoredom. 

You may be saying, “It is not that serious. What I meditate on and fantasize about is my business. I am not hurting anyone.” Well our thoughts invite either God or the evil one to build in our soul. Heaven and hell are both looking for human agreement.   

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death,~James 1:13-15. 

They say affairs begin first in the mind, with a thought. “This person can give you something your spouse can not.” It starts with a seed planted. The seed is then watered. Over time if not uprooted, the seed grows into a garden. Lust is fed over and over until it must be acted upon either through self gratification or with someone. 

I have ministered to several women devastated by their husband’s addiction to porn and a few who had spouses who were sleeping with someone else. Some who cheated with someone of the same sex. It all started with a thought, a thought that grew to a fantasy, and then a fantasy that developed into actions. Those actions destroyed marriages, families, children, reputations, witnesses for Christ, churches (in two cases), and so it does matter what we think, meditate on, and fantasize about in our free time. If the mind is filled with fantasies, when is there time for God, prayer, intercession, true love, meditation on His word? 

Keep the heart pure before and after marriage…

Despite popular teaching, marriage does not cure lust any more than going to a bar cures alcoholism. Lust is a heart, soul, and spiritual condition. It is something to be delivered from and the person delivered to purity and love. Love seeks to save the sacred spaces of itself for what fits into God’s will and plan. 

If your thoughts are lustful, if you are trapped in porn or with sexual fantasies. If you are addicted, there is hope! Jesus came to set the captives free. He came for total and not partial freedom. 

Step 1: Prayer/Renouncing/Repenting  

Lord Jesus, thank You that You paid for my sins on the cross. Thank You for the freedom that comes in You. I ask for Your forgiveness for all of my sins including (insert what it is). I ask for total cleansing of my soul from all sin. I apply the blood of Jesus over every wound on my soul from sin. Cleanse every place, every memory, uproot every stronghold. I renounce my agreement with anything and everything not of You.  Ask for Your power to break every single bondage, stronghold, hold on my life. Anything in my soul that’s not of You I command it to leave. Any parts of anyone retained in my emotions, imagination, or soul I release. I renounce the idols of pleasure, sex, self, comfort. Any spirits that are not the Holy Spirit I cancel your assignment and command you to leave and go to Jesus. I forbid you from returning. I ask for a flooding of every place held by darkness with Your love, light, and purity. In Jesus mighty name, amen. 

Step 2: Renew the mind. Praying the scriptures is a great way to start. The mind needs flooded with God’s truth. 

Prayer for Sexual Healing
Daily Prayer with Scriptures
Prayer for Freedom from Habitual Sins
Step 3: Fast and pray. 

Some strongholds require fasting. Fasting involves refraining from food or certain foods for a period of time and involves deeper connection with God through prayer. 

Step 4: Starve the source/kill it at the root.  

What is fed grows, what is starved dies. Media is aimed at fueling sexual thoughts and fantasy. Cut it off. Whatever tempts you, flee from it. I am not saying if an attractive person sits next to you run. I am saying the movies, books, magazines, computer sites, images, and activities that lead you into sin, get them away from you. Set up safeguards for yourself. If you have porn at home, get it out of your house. Get it off your computer. 

If you are married and another person is tempting you, refrain from alone time with them. Refrain from texts, meetings alone. Refrain from having heart to heart’s with them. Set firm boundaries. 

Step 5: Accountability. 

This one can be challenging because who can you trust? Some people will love you. Others may shame you, judge you, or tell everyone your shortcomings. Ask God for a mature, loving person who can and will walk with you. When tempted, you can ask them to pray. 

Step 6: Investigate soul needs. 

We were created for intimacy (to be known and loved). We were designed for affection, attention, encouragement, and affirmation. If those needs are not met in healthy ways, the body will cry out to be fed in unhealthy ways. Love is what the soul wants. The first stop is God. A man or woman’s physical needs for physical intimacy were intended to be met in the covenant (life long committment). If physical intimacy is desired, God designed one outlet (man/woman covenant). 

God can and will calm any person’s desires, drives. Ask Him. 

Step 7: Inner Healing/Deliverance

Dependings on the strength of the stronghold, it may require extra help, prayer ministry. I willl talk more about this in a future post. It is possible to be free and stay free. I have seen Jesus break strong bondages in people’s lives. What He does for one, He will do for another. 

I hope something in this post is a blessing. May each person live in reality, not fantasy. May each heart, mind be cleansed with holy, pure fire of God. May each person have the mind of Christ! 

Blessings, 

Erin