tuesday march 25, 2008
Temptation and Your Boyfriend
A few months ago, I found out that my boyfriend, who is a believer in Christ, was struggling with porn on the internet. For these past several months however, it has not been going on. He still faces temptation and I hate the fact that he is tempted to look at other girls. I feel like we can't even go to the movies together without me wondering what's going on in his head. And I know that I'm supposed to forgive and move on,
I am so grateful you emailed me! This question is asked a lot, and I appreciate that you are willing to ask it and allow your sister's in Christ to learn with us. Some of them may respond to you as well, so check back from time to time to see if new, helpful responses are posted. Please know, I do understand your perspective, sweet girl. My husband's testimony was presented to the guys on podcast at vintagetruth.com this past March. You may want to check it out to gain an even deeper perspective on that battle, and what it means to overcome for the believer.
I'd like to recommend a book to you - For Young Women Only - by Shaunti Feldhaun. It is a great book that you can actually purchase at The Chapel at CrossPoint Bookstore. This author has interviewed many young men in your generation about what goes on in their hearts and minds with regards to sex and relationships. She writes specifically to young women to provide a roadmap through the inner lives of men. One thing that she addresses is a young man's struggle with lust. It is a very real part of their lives, and one battle only a man of God will endure with victory. The good news is he can overcome his temptation and not sin against God. And the battle gets easier and easier as he grows stronger in this act of obedience. The bad news is temptation will come around again. As long as we are flesh and blood, we will endure temptation. It gets easier - absolutely. The closer we are to God - the better we are at fighting the enemy. That's why we are told to put on the FULL armor of God... Please check out Ephesians 6:10-18. Paul teaches us what it takes to be fully equipped against evil - not if it should come - but WHEN it does.
Paul also tells us to pray for one another. Prayer is a powerful weapon against evil - our temptations - and the evil that wars against those we love. We need to show the men in our lives mercy, and be very cautious of our own part in their battle with lust. Think about it this way with me for a second. You have been tempted, haven’t you? You might say - "Yeah, but not with porn." Okay, - what about sexual thoughts? sexual feelings toward him? how about being tempted to lie? cheat? gossip? Have you ever been tempted to dress in a way that is provocative to make him notice you? Can you imagine if your temptation were constantly in front of you – no stop to it – no rest from it – ever! That would be like being on a diet, and every minute of every day someone would be there holding out that one delicious treat – so scrumptious you can almost taste it, but so very fattening, destructive to your goal. How frustrating for our young men who long to glorify God in their hearts and minds! But how much more then is the glory to God through those who overcome! The reality is that temptation is a part of our walk in this world – all of us! We are all in a daily struggle against our flesh - and being tempted to do what is wrong is not sin. It's sin when we let that temptation overcome us - and we cross that line to do what we know is wrong.
Hebrews 2:18 tells us how Jesus suffered when he was tempted, and is able to help us when we are tempted. Again - the word WHEN is used. We will be tempted. Do we want to look for it? Absolutely not! We want to run from it. Now here is another thought, even though we are all tempted, God has made men and women differently, and so the bait that lures us into sin is different Understanding those differences helps me better pray for my husband and also encourage him in his walk with Christ. I don’t dwell on what might tempt him, I give my concerns to God. I cannot fully understand the way the man I love is wired. He is an amazing creation of God. I can, however, pray that God will be glorified in the way that he is made and how he lives his life as a follower of Christ. I am his wife, and am committed to pray for him for the rest of my life. And we need to remember something in loving our brothers (and sisters) in Christ. Sin is sin. One sin is not greater than the other. Remember what sin brought death upon all of us? Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They ate from the tree that they were told not to. How bad could that be? No one died. No one cried. No one was hurt. No one was offended - no one but God. It was disobedience. And we need to remember all sin is disobedience - and separates us from God. Sin has different consequences, absolutely, and we actually tend to focus on the ugliness of the consequences out of our own pride. You know what I mean? Like thinking, "well, I have never done _______, so I'm not as bad as that person." It doesn't matter to God. It's like if you and your boyfriend puked and then looked at it, and were told to pick which pile you would eat. Are you kidding me? It's vomit. You wouldn't even touch it. That's sin. It’s all disgusting to our holy God.
Your heart is hurting, I understand, but you are taking something personally, that you shouldn't take upon yourself. It's not about you - not about you being any less beautiful or less attractive to him. It has nothing to do with you, sweet girl. You are lovely - and no matter how beautiful you may be - there will always exist for the man God brings alongside you - the temptation to look at another woman. Now that being said, consider this: you are not this young man’s wife. So being his girlfriend I would ask you to closely examine his life for proof of his close relationship to God –“fruit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Because, if he is not fully surrendered to God in the fight against temptation he is not the kind of guy to pursue as a husband. But if there is fruit in his life – visual evidence of his love and devotion to God - then you pray for him and do not hold this against him. Certainly, he must trust you if he confessed this to you. Think about it. He allowed himself to be vulnerable so that he could be right in his walk with Christ - confessing to Christ - and apologizing to you for not being the man of God that he is called to be. Mercy is from God. Mercy triumphs over judgment. And God has already forgiven him. Who are you not to forgive this young man? Are you above God? If you are thinking - "well, this hurt my feelings..." But this wasn't against you - it was against God. Against God and God only do we sin (Psalm 51).
The consequences of sin - unfortunately - can be far reaching. And so you are part of those consequences. He lost some of your trust, and it hurt your heart. Maybe that consequence will be a good reminder to him of how sin is far reaching and it doesn't just affect us but others we love. However, if he has asked for your forgiveness, you need to extend forgiveness. If you can't forgive him - if you can't trust him - that's not fair to him...and you should really consider if you are right for this young man, and possibly then love him enough to let him go. Because maybe there is someone else out there who will love him and pray for him in his journey to loving and living for God - for the rest of his life. That's what it takes to endure a marriage...two people who love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength - and who love one another more than they love themselves. Forgiveness is very much a part of loving someone more than ourselves. We put their hurt above our own. Hard calling - huh? Yep. Can't be done without Christ in you. What a gift is the Holy Spirit!!! Here are some verses I'd love for you to check out about temptation, and please let me know what God is teaching you. I'd love to learn with you!
We are able to forgive and trust again with God's help. Ask Him to help you forgive your boyfriend, and ask God to direct your choice to remain in a relationship with this young man or not. If you were my daughter, I would beg you to examine his life for visible, consistent examples of his love for God. It has to be evident fruit - in the way he talks, lives his life, spends his time, who he's with, how he treats you, talks to you, talks to others, where he goes, what he does every day - kind of fruit. Is he involved at Vintage? Does he have good Christian guy friends? He needs accountability with another Christian guy friend. Does he talk to you about what God is teaching him? About his time with God in the Word? Is living for God who he is or just a few things he does? You know what I'm saying? Closely examine him for the good things of God in him...and sweet girl, - closely examine your own heart and life. Could your boyfriend say the same about you? Be passionate and breathless in your love for God - above everything else.
posted by laura lewis
monday march 17, 2008
Hey, Ladies! Welcome to the Vintage View for Girls! Together, in this forum, we will process what we learn and live out from God's Word - concerning dating and marriage relationships. I am so excited about this opportunity! The emails that I have received during this past relationship series have been so inciteful, full of Truth and life-changing lessons, but I and the individual writer have been the only ones able to benefit from the learning journey. With Vintage View for Girls, we can all listen to one another and benefit from the lessons that God is teaching each of us through His Word and our life in Him.
So, here's how we'll make our discussion work. If you will continue to email me with your thoughts, questions, or concerns about relationships, I will post your email anonymously for others to read. With your email, I will post my response and invite any other helpful responses or thoughts about what you have expressed.
I love you, Girls! Big time! I'm looking forward to hearing from you! We will seek our God at His Word together and encourage one another on this journey we share. How good it is to love one another! How amazing is our God to create us for a passionate relationship with Him that would make all other relationships in our life ROCK. Let's chase after Him together - BREATHLESS in our zeal!
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Romans 15:5-6
posted by laura lewis