Book Review: Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal

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Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars

Another phenomenal read and awesome resource from sisters, Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal! I had the privilege of being on the launch team for Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, and let me tell you, it is not a book that you want to miss! I was stunned and blessed. This is a message I’m so excited for! It is simply, beautifully another tool in helping us women discover the freedom of living out our sexuality God’s way.

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I think one of the reasons I was so excited to read Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is because we as the Church don’t talk much about lust being a girl’s problem … or about our sexuality in general! And as a result, I believe Satan has a foothold in many a woman’s life. Our idea of sex is twisted and we struggle with fear, shame, and secret sexual sin.

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Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the raw, tough questions and shameful topics. They dive right in. They share their own stories of sexual sin and of finding forgiveness and freedom. They share hope. They get to the heart of the issue, and give practical tips to avoid temptation.

Reading this book could seriously be life-changing for some girl. I read a book that tackled the topic of sexual sin (Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge) when I was a young teen, and it changed the course of my life. And I believe Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is an even more precious book on this topic because it is so centered on Christ, and it is so personal, honest, hopeful, and empathetic.

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And holistic, if that’s the right word. We’re not just talking about how to avoid sexual sin. We’re talking about our design as human beings … how God created us as sexual beings in the beginning. And how that sexuality is good! How our sexual design can point us to God. Yes, sexual intimacy was created exclusively for marriage, but we are sexual beings whether we’re married or not, and so understanding God’s design for our sexuality is vital. It is an intricate part of our lives!

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Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart talks about the universal sexual brokenness. It talks about same-sex attraction, and the truth that male, female, and marriage were created specifically and purposefully by God. It speaks on being made for intimacy, imperfect purity, battling temptation, and real freedom. Again and again, we are reminded that our sexual longings point to an even deeper need – the need for Jesus Christ. He can truly satisfy our souls.

Something that I enjoyed about this book was how it quoted renowned Christian authors and speakers such as John Piper, Dannah Gresh, Dr. Juli Slattery, Jackie Hill Perry, Joshua Harris, and more. And, of course, the Holy Bible! Scripture is what we must always line up our ideas against and see if they match. Because God’s Word is our absolute truth.

I love reading about God’s design for marriage and sex. It is truly beautiful! And the way it points to Christ and the Church … the Creator and our relationship with Him … is magnificent. When we realize the amazing design and purpose of sex, we dare not tarnish its beauty. It is too good to fool around with!

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I hope you all will give this book a chance, even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. It flows along well and is easy to read. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that the hold that sexual sin has on you can be broken! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!

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Our brilliant, loving Creator’s plan for sexuality is obviously the very best. It was His design in the first place! We can trust that. We don’t have to live in sexual brokenness and depravity. By His strength, we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity, holiness, blissful joy, and freedom.

I’m so glad this book was written! Dear women, read this book. I think it will help you to understand your sexuality and the desires that come with that. It will help you to honor marriage and sexual intimacy. And find your deepest satisfaction and hope in Christ!

This book includes discussion questions at the back of the book for each chapter. I can’t wait to go through it with a group of women!

I received a complimentary copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart from Baker Books Publishers and the authors. This review is honest and all my own.

 

***Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on April 30th, 2019***

“Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart” Book Talk!

Hello, my lovely readers! I’m so sorry that I haven’t been posting regularly. I’m not sure what happened … *looks bewildered*

Anyway, there is a new book releasing that I want you all to know about. Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality is Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal’s third book! Their ministry, @GirlDefined, has really impacted my life. I love their books. And I so truly want you to read them! These sisters are passionate about helping women find their identity in Christ and live out His design in freedom and joy! ❤

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Find Kristen and Bethany on their website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Bethany, and her husband, Dav, also have a fun Youtube channel: Dav and Bethy.

So, this book is releasing the 30th of this month, April! I’m so excited! I’m praying for God to work mightily in the lives of the women who read this book. I’m part of the launch team, so I received an early copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. It has been phenomenal! Look for my personal book review soon! And watch my unboxing video on Youtube!

If you pre-order by the 29th, you will receive some FREE, special bonuses such as an adult coloring book, an audiobook, and a private Q&A with the authors + their husbands!

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I hope you all will give this book a chance … even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that you can truly find freedom from sexual sin! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!

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Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the tough questions and shameful topics. They get to the heart of the issue.

Our brilliant, loving Creator designed us all as sexual beings, and obviously, His plan for that sexuality is the very best. We don’t have to live in sexual immorality. By His strength we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity and holiness and freedom. Our sexuality has very intricate purpose in our lives.

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So yes, I highly encourage you to read this book, fellow women! And read Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity and Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships, if you haven’t yet!

Read this book. Do a book study on it with your girl friends. We are all sexually broken. But we can find wholeness in Christ. Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is simply, beautifully another tool to help us discover that … and the beauty of living out our sexuality God’s way.

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Sexy Christians

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As a Christian, how would you describe purity?

If we are image-bearers and adopted children of an absolutely pure God, how should purity manifest itself in our own hearts and lives?

We all know that pornography is a major issue for men … and increasingly so even within the Church. Something we may not realize is how big of an issue it is for women. Lately, it seems I’ve been coming across a lot of women giving testimonies of their struggle with porn and lust.

And it’s opening my eyes to the impurity that we as Christians have slowly allowed to saturate our lives.

I’m here to discuss entertainment and social media. Movies. TV shows. Books. Magazines. Blogs. Instagram. Particularly, faith-based entertainment. Christian movies aren’t as much of a problem, but women’s Christian literature is too often filled with sensuality.

Christian fiction.

It’s just a romance novel, you may say, It’s not pornography! It’s not like I’m looking at inappropriate images.

But if that scene is bringing up images in your head that you’re fantasizing over, how is it different from visiting a porn site? (And I know some women visit porn sites as well. But I just want to focus mostly on books in this post.)

There’s a different between reading about a sweet love story, and consuming a scene saturated with sensual imagery that stimulates a sexual reaction.

Christian authors, since when is it okay to write in a way that stirs up feelings that are only meant to be experienced between a husband and wife?

Married or unmarried, you should not be watching movies or reading books that awaken sexual feelings in you … That should come exclusively from your spouse! Not from peering into the private relationship of an imaginary couple on a screen or within the pages of a book. Why has this become acceptable?

Even if the books you read aren’t graphic or extremely explicit (most Christian books aren’t), would you watch your neighbor do what this fictional couple is doing? Why do we need to feel what she’s feeling when he kisses her? I know we want to feel like we are the character when we read a novel, but some things are better experienced in real life with the person you marry (married)!

Song of Solomon 2:7

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.

If you are going to romance books, Christian or otherwise, to awaken that type of sexual feelings, you have an unhealthy addiction. A sin problem. And even if you aren’t searching for that type of content, if you keep coming across books that are exposing you to an intimacy and awakening of feelings reserved for a different time, I would caution you.

And I caution authors. Be careful of what you write and send out to the public!

Dear sisters in Christ, your purity is precious and valuable. Guard it. Go above and beyond to honor God with your body. Think of how beautiful and exciting it would be to come to your husband as a new bride and let him awaken true and pure love in you … unencumbered by worldly expectations, confusion, shame, guilt, impure experience, and addiction!

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I am increasingly bewildered and upset by what Christian authors are selling us. Some of it is none other than a trap for young women. An endangerment to purity. An unexpectedly captivating luring into sexual temptation and sin.

An intriguing adventure and rich historical setting. Flawless writing and authentic characters. …And a scene of our main characters making out that goes on for pages. They never actually go all the way. Of course not. That would never do for a Christian novel! But I think I’m correct in saying that pages of describing sexual feelings and scenes is inappropriate and bound to cause many a Christian woman to struggle.

God created us as sexual beings. But it was not meant for us to be exposed to some of the things that we are. Like when a man is bombarded with sexy, half-dressed women on billboards, it naturally awakens feelings and causes a reaction. But this is not acting on one’s sexuality purely, and such feelings & following thoughts must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

The Bible says that marriage is honorable among all. And the marriage bed is undefiled. It is a devastating thing that Christian literature may be defiling the sexual relationship that you have, or will have, with your spouse.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

I want us to take note of this. Seriously consider it.

More and more Christian authors are coming out with books whose covers portray a sexy woman with a low neckline and sensual gaze. And many have scenes I feel are wholly inappropriate and uncalled for. Most of the novels in the Christian market have kissing scenes. “Scene” meaning it’s described in some detail. I’m not trying to make too big of a deal over kissing. Romance is a beautiful thing, and my heart always flutters when I watch a genuine, godly relationship unfold. But Christian authors, I just want to implore you to be careful. Crossing the line when it comes to sexual impurity is sometimes a very easy thing to do.

// Read my previous blog post on the subject of sensual content in Christian fiction – Does What I Read Honor God? //

If you’re writing a romance, be diligent in godliness. Pray and think. Ponder over the scenes you’re writing. Ask God for His imput.

Adding edgy details. Writing a glorified account of the past affair between two now-godly characters. Penning those swoon-worthy kissing scenes…

What is your motive? Is it glorifying to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Psalm 119:9-13

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.

Why, writers and readers … Christians in general … has sensuality become so normal that we have Christian women flaunting their bodies on Instagram and even in church, reading edgy romance novels, and watching sex scenes in movies like it’s no big deal? Normal and acceptable?

What happened to the call to holiness? And let’s be practical about this. We are called to be different from the world. And we can be. We have the power of Christ at work in us. We can be holy – set apart.

There is no such thing as sexy Christians.

We are called to absolute purity – no room for compromise!

Ephesians 5:1-7

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Colossians 3:5-7

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

So be careful about the books you’re reading, the movies you’re watching, the songs you’re listening to … all the things you’re filling your mind with. As an unmarried, Christian person, there is no room to be indulging in sexual gratification. And as a married, Christian person, there is only room to experience sexual gratification with your spouse. No exceptions. God created sexual feelings and such for a man and his wife. The end.

To experience sexual pleasure anywhere else is to pervert God’s beautiful, flawless design. And it is a grievous thing, indeed.

Now, this is not to say that young women mustn’t know anything about sexuality, or romance, or read books on this subject. In fact, I think it is important to get a healthy view of God’s design for sex before the world exposes you to its twisted, yucky version.

With that, here are a few Christian books on sexuality & romance that I recommend:

Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird

Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal (haven’t actually read this one yet, but pretty sure I’m going to recommend it!)

Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control by Elisabeth Elliot

Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Every Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn

Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge

And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity by Dannah Gresh

Answering the Guy Questions: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Relating to the Opposite Sex by Leslie Ludy

When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric & Leslie Ludy

Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Slattery

***

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Continuing the Modesty Conversation

Good morning, readers! I’m bringing up modesty again, whether you’re ready for it or not. 😉

Colossians 3:1-3

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

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If you’ve not read my previous two posts on this topic, Beautifully Modest and Look at My Heart, I would love for you to check them out and give me your thoughts.

So, thoughts on modesty have been invading my head lately. I’ve come across heartfelt Youtube videos on it, and it’s just been on my heart and mind. Not in a heavy, scary way. But, perhaps, in an “I-want-to-do-better” way.

I want to be more intentional about walking by the Spirit in this area. I usually try to be very intentional about what movies I watch, books I read, songs I listen to … especially if people are looking to my example … like, is this honoring to God? Is it edifying to others who see me? To my own walk? Am I representing my God well?

Romans 8:12-14

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

I have always been naturally more modest. And I had to come to a place of realizing my freedom in Christ and that I am not personally responsible for men’s sin. They make their choices. I don’t have to walk around always fearful that I might make someone sin because I wore the “wrong” thing.

However, it occurred to me that I could be more intentional in this area, just as I am striving to be in every other area of my life.

Not in a fearful way. Not in a legalistic way. How about in an intentionally loving my brothers and sisters in Christ way? Intentionally serving them? Intentionally sacrificing my own wants and selfish desires for them? Intentionally striving to represent my holy King well?

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Isn’t this what Jesus Christ did? Made Himself a servant for us?

John 13:3-5

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Yes, girls.  Yes, do this for your brothers. Do it for Christ first, but also dress modestly for men. There is nothing weak about humbling yourself and sacrificing your wants for the sake of another.

Why do I think that I haven’t been intentional? Well, there are times that I put on an outfit and feel a slight hesitation in my spirit. But I brush it off because:

I’m not wearing a bikini. Check.

I’m not wearing leggings as pants. Check.

I’m not revealing any cleavage. Check.

I’m not showing my midriff. Check.

Right? I’m good. So I ignore the check in my spirit and go on with my day. But maybe it was the Holy Spirit? Maybe I should have gone to a trusted man and asked his opinion. Is this something that you believe, as a man who understands men’s brains, would cause my brothers in Christ to stumble?

Galatians 5:16-18

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

I have worn things that I later looked back and thought: Would I have worn that if a bunch of young men who I cared about were coming to my house? Would I feel upset if a woman wore a similar outfit in front of my brothers or future husband?

I don’t want to be the woman who’s causing boys to stumble and men to struggle.

I don’t want to pass by my future husband on the street one day and him have to bounce his eyes.

But the thing is, I’m not a man and I truly can’t fully understand the male brain.

What amount of tightness is the “too tight” that causes that initial reaction which could lead to sin if not fought against?

What amount of skin?

What parts of the body? Are sleeveless shirts and shorts a couple of inches above the knee no problem? If a girl wears a somewhat low-cut shirt but shows no cleavage, is that just fine?

I think Christian men and women need to come together and seek God on this matter.

Colossians 3:12-17

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Because perhaps not too many years ago, all the blame for a man’s lust was put on women. Her body was oversexualized. She was seen as more an object and temptation than human and soul.

This scarred women deeply.

And it was not right. Boys need to be taught that they are fully responsible for their thoughts and actions. Their lust and their sin. They need to be taught how to view a woman and how to value, honor, and protect her. They should learn practical tips like bouncing their eyes, taking every thought captive, and meditating on Scripture when unable to avoid scantily-clad women.

But, to the same measure, girls need to be taught their responsibility. That their body is a temple of God and their sexuality is sacred and private. That dressing in a “sexy” way – in a way that is showing some nakedness – will  automatically cause a struggle for boys and men. Because God (did you catch that? God.) created men to desire a woman’s body. This He created for the beautiful, sacred, private sexual relationship between a husband and wife.

Thus, women should dress in a way that does not trigger those desires made for within the bonds of marriage alone.

We can dress beautifully. Cute. Fashionably. Trendy. We can have our own, individual style.

But not sensual. Not sexy. Not in a way that draws overwhelming attention to our curves. That shows off private parts or leads the eyes toward private parts.

Wear colors that make your eyes pop and your face glow; that compliment your hair color. Wear styles that show you’re a beautiful, feminine woman, but don’t cling to your body to show every curve and line.

1 Peter 3:1-4

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

So, these are some helpful tips. But I still deeply wish I could study this topic with other Christian women. But I can’t hardly.

Hebrews 10:24

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

Do you know why?

Because women refuse to talk about it or acknowledge there’s a problem.

It seems, after being hurt, scarred, and stripped of their innate worth to be made merely an object of temptation or to be played with, women hardened their hearts.

I say this with all seriousness.

The Bible talks about modesty, and purity, and humility, and your body not being your own, and not being a stumbling block for your family in Christ.

But the Church doesn’t want to talk about it. Christian women don’t want to talk about it. They ignore it. They get massively defensive. They get angry. They say things like: “I can wear whatever I want.” “It’s the man’s problem, not mine.” “Don’t tell me what to wear; it’s my body!” “Get your mind out of the gutter.”

Women viciously attack any man or woman who would dare tell them what to do.

She flies in the face of her husband when he brings up modesty and concerns about her manner of dress, and then gets upset when he admits how hard it is to be out and about when women are dressed immodestly.

Why do you have to be like that?

Because God made me this way.

Women, do you hear the plea in these unspoken words from the men in your life?

No, God did not create man to sin. To objectify you in his mind. To lust after you. To use your body for his gain.

But He did create him to be attracted to and desire a woman’s body. For within the confines of marriage.

Yet when we women are dressing in a way that shows off our bodies and nakedness that should only be seen within a marriage covenant, temptations naturally arise for men.

Think about your temptations. How would you feel if your brothers in Christ shoved them in your face? Or brushed off your concerns and asking for help?

1 Thessalonians 5:11

11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,

In this culture, the truth is:

Women have made themselves their own god.

You can’t tell me what to wear.

You’re the sinner. It’s your issue.

I don’t care about your struggle.

It’s my body.

I can wear whatever I want.

No man is going to tell me what to do.

Those phrases should grieve your heart, Christian women. Look at them. Hear them spoken in your head. Line them up against the Word of God.

Does that sound like a woman of God?

No.

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

1 John 4:20-21

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Proverbs 15:5

A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.

Woman, you were never meant to be trampled on. Beat down. Objectified. Oversexualized. Abused. Hurt. Treated less than men.

But this that you have turned to, it is no solution.

Dressing half-naked. Being sensual. Flaunting your body to every boy and man you walk by. Enjoying this power it gives you over men. Baring yourself in public while nursing a baby because it’s your body and it’s natural. Celebrating other women who flaunt their nakedness in public. Blaming all the sin, putting all the fault on men.

Don’t you see? This is worship of yourself and your body.

You’re putting yourself and your wants and your freedom before everything else. You plow over everyone else and disregard their struggles and hurts because it’s your body and it’s natural and you’re a woman!

Like women are gods who can do whatever they want.

Philippians 2:3-4

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

You’re getting angry at brothers in Christ (and sisters) who try to rebuke in love or bring up sensitive topics. You’re trying to be independent of men. You’re not respecting or honoring any men – because you’re a woman and they can’t tell you what to do. You’re refusing to submit to men – to your husband.

Do you know what God created marriage to be a picture of? Christ and the Church.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

When you have this pride, this angry independence, this bitterness, this self-focus, this arrogance, this refusal to submit – do you know who you’re really refusing to submit to?

God.

Feel the heaviness of that.

Women, we have been blinded.

When we go sauntering around like: I don’t have to submit to no man and no one can tell me what to do or wear. It’s my life and my body!

Then we are not following Christ. We have made ourselves independent of God. We are not submitting to Him and we are not loving Him.

Ephesians 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were calledwith all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

This is grievous.

Truly heart-wrenching.

It’s time to repent, women.

Ephesians 4:30-32

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

I’m not saying that you haven’t been hurt. I’m not saying it’s easy to sacrifice your wants for others. I’m not saying that your husband is easy to submit to. But you chose him.

And you can’t pick and choose what to believe and what to follow from the Bible. That’s not a true follower of Christ.

God says: women, submit. (As the Church is supposed to willingly submit to Christ because He is her head and has saved her and given up His life for her.)

God says: Be pure. Be holy. Dress decently. Don’t cause your brother to stumble.

Does the way you dress make you feel pure and holy? Does it cause anyone to stumble?

Romans 14:12-13 & 21

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

God says: love.

1 John 3:16

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Romans 12:9-11

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

When did we decide it’s alright to ignore, deride, and trample on men (and people in general) to elevate ourselves?

When did we decide that no matter the harm it may cause someone else, we can wear and do what we want because it’s our body?

Well, I have news. It is not your body. Your body belongs to God. He bought it with His blood. Have you ever bought something with your blood?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

And, if you are married, your body belongs to your husband.

1 Corinthians 7:4

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Just as his belongs to you. So if he comes to you with concerns about what you’re wearing or how you’re presenting yourself, LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. Just give him the respect, honor, and love he should have as God’s adopted son. Or, even if he’s not a Christian, he’s still a human created in God’s image and you should respect him.

1 Peter 2:17

17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Women, if a man comes to you with a concern, like: Hey, what you were wearing the other day was really a stumbling block for me. I had to keep looking away and it made it difficult to be normal and comfortable talking and hanging out with you because I was constantly fighting in my mind to keep myself from sin – to honor you and to honor God.

Listen to him. Don’t get all defensive and angry. Here’s a man who is striving to serve and glorify God. To fight his sin nature. To honor and respect you.

Listen to him and pray earnestly about it.

1 John 2:9-11

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

And men, I would insert here, be very careful about having these conversations. If you’re going up to one specific girl, be sure you consider what your relationship is with her, and where her own walk with the Lord is. Pray a lot about it.

But don’t be afraid to be real and honest with women in general. We want to know what men have to say about this topic. I’ve watched some Youtube videos from men that weren’t condemning, but really helped me to understand more how it is for men and what I can do to pursue purity with them.

To love them.

Because, we are called to love our brethren. To think of them before ourselves. To humble ourselves. To sacrifice our own liberties if it causes a brother to stumble.

Romans 13:10

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

We are not our own. But the life we live, we live for Christ.

Colossians 1:17

All things were created through Him and for Him.

So we need to stop living for ourselves and our pleasure, and start living for our God and our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ.

Colossians 1:9-10

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Book Review: Savoring Single by Shelley Black + Thoughts on Waiting

Good morning, my lovely readers! Today I come to you as part of the blog tour for Shelley Black’s beautiful book, Savoring Single! I truly enjoyed reading this unique book which explores the topic of the season of singleness, and I have my personal review of it below!

Plus a giveaway!

But first, I want to share some of my own thoughts on “singleness”, being in a “season of waiting”, and all such things.

SavoringSingle1

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For those of us who have a heart’s longing to be married, the topic of singleness can be a hard one. We don’t necessarily want to read books and listen to sermons on singleness, as they often force us to feel like single is all of who we are. We tire of hearing all the questions of: “So … are you dating anyone yet?” and the onslaught of well-meaning but counter-productive comments and advice.

It can be hurtful. Frustrating. Even embarrassing. It can make us feel “behind” in life. Lacking. Missing something. Not complete. Not part of something. Not belonging. Or it just makes the painful “wait” even more painful, because we truly have a God-given desire for marriage and a family of our own.

I had a thought as I pondered this one day. You know, perhaps we’re going about it all wrong when we call ourselves “single” as if our relationship status defines who we are. And “in a season of waiting” as if once we get married, we’ll have arrived.

I don’t like “single” to define me, because it often is associated with negativity. The truth is, my identity is child of the King. Adopted daughter of the perfect Father. Beloved of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Bride of the Lamb.

Beautifully made by the Creator. Chosen by the one true God. Accepted by the Holy One, by grace through faith.

Loved. Wanted. Accepted. Beautiful. Chosen. Belonging. Complete. Secure.

I am not married, but “single” and “still waiting” doesn’t/shouldn’t define who I am. I shouldn’t feel looked down upon, not enough, or not part of something – not having yet “arrived”. I am part of God’s eternal family. I have a purpose and a beautiful life right now. I would love to be married someday, but that doesn’t mean that right now I’m lacking or my life is on hold.

…Which brings me to the next point.

Why always call singleness a “season of waiting”? Isn’t almost every part of life a season of waiting? Waiting to graduate high school. Waiting to find that community of believers to be a part of. Waiting to find the one your soul loves. Waiting to get your college education and start your career. Waiting for physical or emotional healing. Waiting to develop your God-given mission. Waiting to have the children you long for.

We’re always waiting, and learning, and developing, and growing, and seeking, and working toward something.

It’s not like once you meet the man God has for you and get married … well, the wait is over! The season of … completeness and happily ever after has come!

No. There’ll be more seasons of waiting. And trusting. Having faith and leaning on God when you can’t figure out how the future’s going to be and how everything is going to work out. Seasons of slowly making progress and working toward healthy and good and God-given goals and dreams.

And this is not a bad thing! As long as we are inviting God into this and thriving joyfully in Him, no matter what we are waiting for!

Completeness, wholeness, comes when the Bride is united with her eternal Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. When there is a new heaven and new earth. Then, the season of waiting will finally be over.

That all being said, I suppose my point is, don’t look at your “unmarried years” as such a season of waiting.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with studying and hoping and preparing to be a wife, mother, etc.

But, there are all sorts of seasons in your life, and one is not necessarily a “step up” from the other. Each can be beautiful and meaningful and powerful, if you let it be. God can do lovely, amazing things in each season. Preparing you, and wooing you, and growing you, and delighting in you, and using you in His incredible plan, and taking care of you, and making you more like Him. He is by your side in every season; and in every season, our first and deep desire should be to grow closer to Him – to glorify His name and seek first His kingdom! ❤

So thrive in Him today, wherever you are, beautiful reader.

Read Some More of My Posts on Singleness, Relationships & Marriage:

I Was Created For …

Finding Joy in the Lover of My Soul

Practicing Purity & Pursuing Righteousness in Romantic Relationships

Boys … Can We Just Be Friends?

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

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My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

*

Title: Savoring Single

Author: Shelley Black

Genre: Christian Living

Audience: Older Teen & Adult Women

Published: December 7th, 2017

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A wonderfully encouraging read! I’m truly grateful that I was given the chance to read and review Savoring Single by Shelley Black. To be honest, it wasn’t the kind of book I’d usually find myself dying to read, but when I was contacted about reviewing it, the simply lovely cover enticed me. And I was curious to know if a book like this could actually help me in my season of life.

Being single has its difficulties and challenges and hard days, but so does every other season of life.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

I was somewhat surprised, and delighted, to find that it did! I think some readers have referred to Savoring Single as “refreshing”, and I so agree! It encouraged me to be okay with me and thrive in life right now. It gave me hope for the future. It did not mock my desire to be married, but sweetly reminded me that marriage is not the goal and God can do beautiful and wonderful things in my life in this moment!

We need to be loved, valued, treasured and pursued. We need to know that we are beautiful. But we need it most from Him. Knowing God and walking in relationship with Him will answer every single one of these desires of your heart.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Each chapter started with a prayer. Shelley Black shared her personal experiences and stories; her struggles and growth. There were lots of Scripture verses and references throughout.

She talked about having an intimate relationship with God, going on adventures, pursuing your passions, friendship, idols, boundaries, and sexuality. One of the main themes of the book was God’s adoration of you and His plan that you should have a close, personal, and fulfilling relationship with Him. You are His dearly loved daughter! And though He may very well have marriage and a man in His plans for you, He longs for you to know His perfect love for you and His place as your eternal Bridegroom. The truth is, we won’t be satisfied and filled until we let Him fill us.

Love according to the Word of God begins first in relationship with God. Then it flows through us and into others.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Shelley Black has a lot of practical and heartfelt wisdom and ideas, I feel. It was just … encouraging! Reviving. Fun. Thoughtful. Deep. Sweet. I enjoyed returning to the pages of Savoring Single each day.

Sometimes we can ask for some crazy things that a loving Father just knows better than to give us.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Not to say I agreed with everything or found everything to be absolutely helpful. I can’t say that about any Christian Living book I’ve read! The chapter in Savoring Single on finances didn’t resound with me as much as the rest of the book, but that’s okay. It still had some helpful points. Shelley Black definitely has a different personality than me. She’s a go-getter, all about big adventures, and seems passionate about having lots of money to use for God’s kingdom. I suspect my story’s meant to play out a little differently, but I can appreciate her aspirations and zeal, and the beauty of her own powerful, unique story!

This means we choose how He would choose, even if it costs us.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Overall, Savoring Single was a fabulous book. I highly recommend to women in the season of singleness. It was inspiring and hopeful. And I just want to share it with any sisters who have struggled like I have, so perhaps they can understand more fully that waiting on God’s timing for marriage is beautiful. And learn to thrive in life right now. Know that they are not lost or behind in the journey. And there is hope and passion and joy. And they are completely loved, here and now. There is so much beauty in store for you in this season, and every season! Love being right where God has you.

Single now or single forever God is good and the more our perspective aligns with His, the more we will live this life fully no matter our status.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Shelley Black truly is a beautiful soul and an inspiration to me. Can’t wait to share this book!

In the end of Savoring Single, it encourages you to do a study on love, and there is a list of all the Bible verses talking about love. I look forward to spending some time pondering true love! ^_^

I received a copy of Savoring Single from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Singleness. Dating. Marriage. Kids. Careers. Hobbies. Memories. Dreams. Each flow out of that one purpose to know God! Being single and not knowing Christ is empty. Being married and not knowing Christ is empty. Having kids without knowing God is still empty. Careers and hobbies without a relationship with God is still empty.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Purchase on Amazon

Shelley Black_Author Photo

About The Author

Shelley Black has journeyed through being single longer than she expected and has since found joy, hope and purpose from a once begrudged season. She now challenges the status quo of what it means to be single as a modern-day Christian female, with a passion to infuse hope and restore joy to every single-girl heart. Shelley is a loving momma to her pup Lucy, is one proud “T” to six nieces and nephews and serves her local church in North Mississippi as the worship leader. Find her at SavoringSingle.com and across social media at SavoringSingle.

Official Website

www.savoringsingle.com

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

Feb 1st ~ Original Post by Abby – www.worthmorethangoldsite.wordpress.com

PARTY – Live Chat on Instagram at 7 EST.

Feb 2nd ~ Original Post by Jessica  – jessicasummeroverstreet.com

Feb 3rd ~ Spotlight post and Giveaway – madigrace.org

Feb 4th ~ Original post from Shelley – http://www.southkakalakigirl.com/the-blog

Feb 5th ~ Book Review by Isabella – www.jesusisworthitall.weebly.com

Feb 6th ~ Original post from Shelley – http://www.thedifferentgirl.com

Feb 7th ~ Original post from Amanda – https://blogsbychristianwomen.com

Feb 8th ~ Book Review and Author Interview – www.purelyunorthodox.com

Feb 9th ~ Spotlight Post & Giveaway – https://www.sylviacney.com

Feb 10th ~ Original Post by Sarah Beth – www.lovesarahbethblog.wordpress.com

Feb 10th ~ Original Post by Kaityn – www.theshoe19.blogspot.com

Feb 11th ~ Original Post & Book Giveaway  www.delightinginhimblog.wordpress.com

Feb 12th ~ Book Review and Original Post from Shelley – amongthereads.net

Feb 13th ~ Original Post by Kara and Giveaway – savedbygrace7.blogspot.com

Feb 14th ~ Author Interview –  www.writingsfromagodgirl.wordpress.com

Feb 15th ~ Book Review from Heidi – www.thecaffeinatedbibliophile.com

PARTY – Author Interview on Google+/YouTube at 7 EST.

Feb 16th ~ Original Post from Katie – www.kjsonline.wordpress.com

Feb 17th ~ Original Post by Moriah – growthbygrace.wordpress.com

Feb 18th ~ Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway – https://ohsopriceless.wixsite.com/blog

Victoria – Spotlight – https://rufflesandgrace.com

Feb 19th ~ Original post by Shelley – uniquelymarieblog.wordpress.com

Feb 20th ~ Book Review – youaresaltandlightblog.wordpress.com

Feb 21st ~ Book Review – ordinarygirlextraordinaryfather.blogspot.com

Feb 22nd ~ Book Review – https://themostlytrueadventuresofemily.wordpress.com/

Feb 23rd ~ Original Post by Lydia – spoonfulofsurprises.wordpress.com

Feb 24th ~ Original Post by Mandie – calledtoliveradically.blogspot.ca

Feb 25th ~ Spotlight post and Giveaway – http://livkfisher.blogspot.com/

Feb 26th ~ Book Review – Ainsleyhope.wordpress.com

Feb 27th ~ Guest post from Shelley and Giveaway – http://englishmysteriesblog.blogspot.com/

Feb 28th ~ Original post by Shantelle, Book Review and Giveaway – https://ladygracesite.wordpress.com/

March 1st ~ Original Post by Chloe – Sweetnesswithchristweb.wordpress.com

March 2nd ~ Spotlight Post and Giveaway – www.livylynnblog.com

LivyLynnBlogTours

Hosted by Livy Lynn Blog Tours! Are you a Christian author? Let me plan your next blog tour!

Practicing Purity & Pursuing Righteousness in Romantic Relationships

How does one pursue purity and righteousness in a relationship?

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Even though if you read my relationship status it would say “single”, I’ve gleaned some insight and wisdom over the years on romance, dating, and marriage. By pursuing God and studying this particular topic through Christian Living books, sermons, and speakers—plus deep thought and discussion—I’ve perhaps gained some knowledge, and I want to share my ideas with you! I would love to converse with you in the comments below and hear your experiences and thoughts.

One thing I’ve learned: each relationship looks different! There are no perfect steps and cut-and-dry answers.

But as we strive to honor God in all areas of our lives, what are some ways we can intentionally practice the purity and righteousness He calls us to as His children?

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:1-6)

So here are some thoughts:

Meeting.

Wanting marriage is a God-given desire. While we need stay focused on our First Love and be careful not to get obsessed with “finding the one” or make marriage/a relationship an idol … desiring and seeking marriage is perfectly okay!

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

I think it’s a beautiful and Biblical thing to connect with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and have meaningful friendships. God created us for community and relationships! So get involved. Meet men and women your own age – and of all ages!

If you find someone you’re interested in, make an effort to spend time with them. Get to know them in a group setting. Seek friendship first … show interest without flirting! Oftentimes, flirting can be shallow and self-focused – so check yourself. Strive to see this person through God’s eyes. They are a human created in God’s image; a beloved child of the King, with a heart worth really knowing! (Here is a letter I wrote to my future husband with these thoughts in mind.)

Pursuit.

Dear fellow women, wait for a man who will pursue you with godly intention and genuine attraction and interest in you. –Who you are as a person and your heart.

Take your time, know your mind, and let him win your heart. Don’t feel pressured to act or be a certain way. You don’t owe a single thing to the man who’s pursuing you. This is a trial period where you each get to know one another, deepen your friendship, and seek out each other’s hearts with the possibility of marriage in mind. You do not belong to him. He does not belong to you. The purpose of an intentional relationship should be to really get to know one another and find out if you want to marry. If, at any point, you realize the answer is “no”, end the relationship without delay. Be honest. Don’t lead them on.

In a man’s pursuit of you, I think it’s so important that he ask for your dad’s (or spiritual father’s) blessing. Involve your parents, mentors, and other family and friends who care about you and are invested in your life. I think it’s a beautiful thing when men and women involve wise people as they contemplate a relationship. Take steps to honor each other instead of just rushing into a relationship with only fun and pleasure in mind.

Men, you’re pursuing a woman, not a relationship.

Women, you’re responding to a man, not a potential fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams.

Take time to truly care about them.

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Friendship.

Be careful to use this dating/courtship time as an opportunity to deepen your friendship, rather than get all romantic too fast or too deeply. I’ve heard so many times that once you introduce physical touch into the relationship, your ability to really get to know one another seriously dwindles. Perhaps this is why many couples wake up six months to a year after their wedding day and wonder, “Do I really even know this person – my spouse?”

Besides that, remember, you do not belong to each other yet. So be careful of thinking that you have a right to any and all romantic touches, gestures, and talk.

I believe we should establish a solid foundation as brother and sister in Christ and focus on pursuing a deep, enjoyable, real friendship in dating/courting relationships.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Honor that young woman as your sister, men. Treat her with gentleness and care, and much respect!

Girls, treat him as an esteemed friend rather than spending all your time stressing over what to wear, flirting, jealousy, and posting a thousand and one pictures of you two snuggling on Instagram.

You don’t belong to each other yet. Maybe not ever.

Boundaries.

Establish boundaries right away. Realize your values, and stick to them. Pray about convictions you feel God is giving you. Study Scriptures that speak on the topic of sexual purity. As I mentioned above, honor each other as brothers and sisters and pursue an authentic friendship first and foremost. Relationships aren’t all about holding hands and cuddling.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Concerning romance and physical touch, my basic thoughts always went something like this: I’ll meet this wonderful guy and we’ll become the best of friends. After a few months of courting, we’ll hold hands. Maybe after about a year, we’ll get married! And I’ll probably save my first kiss for my wedding day.

Well, yes. Every relationship is unique! So you can’t really plan out your future relationship perfectly – everything all black and white.

But I do think it’s important to ponder, pray, and contemplate. What do you stand for, and how would you like to proceed if a man shows interest?

Men, how are you going to go about things if you find a woman you want to pursue? Have you thought about how to best honor God in this area? How to best honor a girl you want to date?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

What are your boundaries? Do you have any? I firmly believe that men and women seeking to have a godly relationship should have solid convictions and boundaries. Not something like, “Well, I might save my first kiss for my wedding day … that kinda sounds like a good idea …”

No. Figure out where you need to draw the line, and make some firm boundaries for yourself. If you don’t have convictions, you’re bound to go where you never set out to go. And be certain to honor the boundaries of the person you’re in a relationship with!

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:20-23)

Lust is not part of a healthy, God-honoring relationship. Seek the Lord. Guard your heart. Take every thought captive. Watch your actions. If you start to lust, know that you’ve stepped into forbidden territory.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-22)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Besides avoiding sexual compromise, I think we need to set boundaries to protect each other emotionally.

I, and perhaps most women, need to feel secure, emotionally connected, and trustful before I would be open to a man’s affectionate touch. I see holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc. as an expression of a love already deep. Not a way to “feel in love”.

And we, as women, need to know we’re being pursued for who we are – our hearts. Not our bodies, not our looks, not what we can give.

Men, pursue patiently, gently, and selflessly. A woman doesn’t owe you anything and you don’t have any right to her body, emotions, heart, etc. If you pursue her in a godly way and honorably win her heart in time, she’ll give you what is right to give you—in God’s eyes and for her personally—in each season.

I now hold to a conviction to save my first kiss for my husband. I want to honor him even now – and more importantly, honor God. So I’m intentionally learning, and reading, and practicing, and doing what I can to be ultra cautious and honorable in the areas of sexuality. Even if I never marry, I want to live purely before the Lord. If marriage is in my future, I want to save my body, romantic touches, and such for my husband, because he is the only man who has the right to them. And because I want to give him such a gift.

wedding-2616652_1920(found on pixabay.com)

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:12-13)

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

This is not to say that I’ve been perfect in the area of sexual purity. Maintaining God’s standard of purity can be a battle, especially if you don’t know what you’re up against and aren’t seeking God in this area, and all areas, of your life! We’ve all made mistakes, entertained the world’s ideals, and fallen into sin.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:19-25)

But today is a new day. Though our sins are grave, our mighty God is faithful in forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and grace! You can turn from sexual impurity and walk in forgiveness and newness. Today you can choose to start honoring God in your love life and with your sexuality. Today you can commit to reserve your body and heart for your spouse only. Today, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, pray for a passion for God’s Word and His good design!

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:22-25)

 

If you want to study more about God’s design for your sexuality, relationships, marriage, romance, and sex, here are some books I recommend (though I exhort you to read with discernment, because these are books written by fellow humans, not God!):

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Pray. Serve. Be.

So, make friends, have fun, hang out, get to know people! Go wherever God calls you and do all that He gave you a passion and heart to do. Find a like-minded community of believers and serve together, work together, play together, laugh together, grow together …

But be serious about relationships and marriage. Give it some thought. And pray! Bring God into every aspect of your life. Tell Him about your struggles and concerns. Bring the person you’re interested in to Him in prayer. Tell Him about your desires for marriage. Ask for His leading. For wisdom, guidance, and clarity. He is faithful to write beautiful stories for those who follow Him and seek His face constantly.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:1-4)

Be in prayer and surround yourself with good friends and mentors. Whether single or in a relationship, now is always the right time to learn more about God’s design and beautiful plan for purity, relationships, marriage, and the like!

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word. (Psalm 119:9-11 & 15-16)

Pray for your future spouse. Pray for your future marriage. If you’re dating/courting, always be praying for you and the person you’re in a relationship with! I cannot stress enough the power and beauty of prayer. ❤

As you practice purity and pursue righteousness in your relationship, remember to enjoy this season! Laugh. Talk. Go on exciting adventures. Serve together. Pray. Rejoice. Count your blessings. Love being friends and being together! Even as you act intentionally in this, trust God to guide you each step of the way, and just be.

~ Lady Grace ~

Books and Videos on Purity, Relationships, & God’s Design

Hello, friends! How is the fall season going for you? Excited about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? 🙂

Today I want to share some Christian books, video talks, and sermon series on purity, relationships, marriage, God’s design and such that I’m so thankful to have come across. Some of these I read/watched in the past and remember really liking, and others I discovered more recently. I hope you can find some helpful, challenging, freeing, and encouraging truths among these.

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

 

VIDEOS

 

Christians and Dating // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

Christian Singles: How Far is Too Far // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

Reclaiming God’s Design for Love, Marriage, & Sex // Girl Defined

The Number One Thing Single Girls Should Look for in a Future Husband (but rarely do) // Girl Defined

6 Strategies to Help You Fight for Purity  // Girl Defined

3 Ways Christian Girls can Promote Godly Manhood // Girl Defined

6 Guys You Shouldn’t Date, Court, or Marry // Girl Defined

Praying For Your Future Husband // Girl Defined

Answering Your Guy Questions: Dating, Bad Relationships, & Guy Friends // Girl Defined

A Beautiful Design // #AskTVC Week 10 by The Village Church

 

BOOKS

 

Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity by Kristin Clark & Bethany Baird

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Answering the Guy Questions: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Relating to the Opposite Sex by Leslie Ludy

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Praying for your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His by Robin Jones Gunn & Tricia Goyer

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Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

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When God Writes Your Love Story: The Ultimate Approach to Guy/Girl Relationships by Eric and Leslie Ludy

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When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric and Leslie Ludy

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Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to ask Before and After You Marry by Dr. Les Parrott III and Dr. Leslie Parrott

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And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity by Dannah Gresh

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Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Slattery

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VIDEO SERIES

From the Beginning: Relationships that Give Life // J.D. Greear

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Marriage for Dummies: Mutual Love & Respect // New Work Fellowship

 

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Beautifully Modest

Hello, my lovely sisters! I just want to talk a little bit about modesty and beauty today – and share with you a delightful Youtube channel on this topic that I recently discovered!

beautifully modest

Modest.

What is modesty? Why do I have to be modest? How do I dress modestly?

Let me just make clear right here and now that I’m not an expert in this area. I’ve long struggled over what is and isn’t modest, and how to dress. I still don’t have it all together. I still have things I need to work on in this area, I’m sure.

But you know what? I’ve realized a couple things. Through praying and pondering. Reading God’s Word. Looking back on who God is and what He has done in my life thus far – what all that says about His nature. Listening to many a godly Christian speaker on this topic …

  • Modesty must be cultivated in the heart.
  • Modesty is an earnest journey of walking by the Spirit.
  • Your modesty should reflect God’s character.
  • God is majestic, holy, creative, amazing, good, filled with splendor and beauty – modesty should be about honoring God, reflecting who He is, pointing to Him: modesty should show virtue and beauty.

Can I dress in a pretty way and still be honoring to God? Well, yes, I believe so! I believe you can dress in a feminine, beautiful, honorable, lovely way that absolutely reflects the quiet and gentle spirit God has cultivated within you, and points to a magnificent, holy, wondrous, good, and beautiful Creator.

I don’t think God gives us a set of rules and asks us to do things without a reason and purpose. And if you look through the Bible, you find the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, and then you find Jesus say, in the New Testament, that all the commandments from God can be summed up in these two things:  Love the Lord your God, and love your fellow man.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:36-40

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14

So with everything God calls us to do, with each way He calls His followers to live life, I believe it comes back to the heart, and to love. Some things we think are okay in the moment, are actually hurting/going to hurt us and others – and therefore hurt the heart of God. Are not good or right for us to do.

Galatians 5 is a really good passage to read when thinking about this. It talks about liberty, love fulfilling the law, and walking by the Spirit.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:6

I think there are a couple reasons why He calls women to dress modestly.

One: To reflect who He is. If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, you belong to the King of Kings. The glorious, eternal, awesome Lord of all. You are His daughter – His princess. Dress in a way that shows that! Shows your awe, and love, and delight, and passion for your Lord and Father. If we love Him, we truly want to honor Him in all we do.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:14

And as children of the one, true God, I think we also have a duty to honor ourselves in the way we dress. Honor the bodies that were bought at a price – that are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We should portray ourselves in a holy and beautiful way that would point to who God is.

20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:20

I think it makes sense that we take good care of our bodies and even physical appearance out of an overflow of the love and beauty of our hearts, which are being filled and changed by Christ.

17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will see the land that is very far off.

Isaiah 33:17

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

Psalm 89:5-8

In that day the Lord of hosts will be
For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty
To the remnant of His people,

Isaiah 28:5

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9

Two: To flee sexual immorality. Ladies, God designed men in a way where certain ways we dress can just trigger a reaction in their mind and start up a battle. No, we don’t make them sin. They make their own choices. But yes, you can definitely dress in a way that causes your brothers in Christ to struggle. Is that honorable to God? We should be helping our brothers flee sexual immorality, not adding to the problem!

18 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

22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

1 Timothy 2:22

We need to flee sexual immorality and anything having to do with it. Even if you aren’t necessarily sinning sexually by dressing in a unholy way, you’re being a stumbling block to others in that area. I don’t think that counts as “not having a hint of sexual immorality among you”.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Ephesians 5:3

I believe as we walk closely with the Lord, He gently guides and corrects us. Do I know everything? No. Do I understand everything the Bible says? Absolutely not. But do I trust my Savior and Father? Yes. Have I seen Him at work, gently and kindly and firmly, in my life? Yes, I truly believe so. He is not harsh with me. He loves me. And He sees my heart.

He sees your heart too, dear readers.

As you walk this journey of dressing modestly, I encourage you to research and listen to and be encouraged by fellow godly Christians! But first and foremost, seek the Lord and His ways! Let Him speak to you and lead you! ❤

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

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Now, for the modesty Youtube channel I mentioned above! It’s called Set Apart Style, and all the videos I’ve watched so far have been really thoughtful! I would recommend you check them out! Not saying this young lady has it absolutely all figured out (none of us do!). And I’m not even saying I would wear/consider modest all the things she’s okay with, but I think she has some really good tips, and her heart is beautiful, and she explains modesty in such a precious and God-honoring way.

Modesty – Honoring Christ In and With All (introduction video)

I also quite love the Girl Defined Ministries Youtube Channel, and really like the modesty standards they show in this video:

Project Modesty: How to Combine Modesty and Fashion

God is beauty. He creates beautiful things. He clothes the lilies of the field magnificently. He made us beautifully, and I believe He is faithful to lead in this area if we simply trust Him and walk by His Spirit.

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:28:29

 

More Videos From SET APART STYLE:

OOTD – The Bride of Christ // Modest Styling Workshop SS16

Modest Dressings Essentials // Tips For Skirts

Modest Dressing Essentials // Tips For Dresses

Modest Dressing Essentials // Tips For Tops

Does What I Read Honor God?

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Do you ever examine the Christian romance novels you’re reading and ponder how romance is brought across?

does what I read honor God

I would be the first to say that I don’t have it all together … that I still have so much to learn, but I do know that God has been teaching me a lot and this topic of sensual romance in novels has been on my heart for quite some time.

I’m not, by any means, laying down the law in this post. Just sharing some of my thoughts and wonderings. I’d love to discuss with you!

Pure. Noble. Lovely. Virtuous. Praiseworthy.

Hmm.

If you’re like me and love to read, you’ve probably noticed that many Christian authors add a certain amount of sensuality to their novels. The amount ranges from not too noticeable (but still makes you want to recommend it only to older teens and up) to downright scandalous (you decided not to read by that author again/give it a low rating even though it was adventurous otherwise).

I just saw a review from a fellow reader today, and she had rated this Christian novel less than she wanted to because of the sexual themes in it. She said things like, “How do we expect unmarried women to keep their minds pure when reading scenes like this?” and “are Christian novels just getting more and more edgy??”

Yikes. I don’t know about you, but nothing about that sounds pure and noble. I mean, I like a good romance as much as the next young woman – but what I’m actually looking for is a beautiful, real love story … not a steamy romance that’s pushing at the boundary lines.

Look, romance can be a very good thing. God created romance. Blessed marriage. Designed the feelings between a man and woman. Romance is deep and beautiful! But I definitely feel things can be written in way that’s just going too far or distorting what God created romance/marriage to look like.

So does this writing of sensual romance scenes honor God? Not only are single ladies having their heads filled with things they probably shouldn’t ponder as of yet, but practically only the physical side of a romantic relationship is coming across in most of these novels. I think unmarried women are getting the wrong expectations from these type of novels, among other things …

Like, romantic love is not all about kissing, the excitement of a whirlwind courtship, and having fun in the moment. It’s much, much bigger than that! Romantic love should start as friendship. That friendship should deepen. Christ should be the center of the relationship, from start to end – His approval naturally should be sought!! I believe a lot of the physical side should wait. Many now-married, Christian couples I’ve listened to said that saving their first kiss for their wedding day was how they avoided temptation, firmly upheld a godly purity, ensured that they were only kissing their spouse … It made their kisses oh so special.

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Yet many Christian romance novels these days are not teaching that in any way, shape, or form.

Rather, it’s all about how fun the other person is to be with. How delightful the relationship is at the moment, even though they’re not sure where exactly it’s going. And after hanging out a few times, they might share a kiss because they have to let the other know they’re not “just friends”!

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And on top of that, we get all the details. Come now, writers, I know we like to make things as real-feeling as possible, but ultimately its the characters’ romance, not ours! I think we need to keep the more private moments of their relationship to themselves, just as it would be in real life.

Some Christian romances I’ve read even go inside the man’s head and mention these thoughts he’s having concerning the woman’s figure or whatnot. And I’m thinking, Isn’t that bordering on lust?

Why are flirting with sexual sin, setting up absolutely no boundaries, and even lust portrayed as perfectly normal and okay in your average Christian novel??

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Here’s some thoughts on the subject from author Rachel Hauck: Writing Sexual Content in our Stories.

One thing she said that caught my attention was something along the lines of: “Imagine someone reading the kind of scenes you write to your children, your mother, or grandmother. Or Jesus, for that matter.”

Is it honorable, pure, and lovely? Is it building up and helping others? Is it showing God’s hand in the romantic relationship? Is it a light and example to unbelievers or younger brothers and sisters in the faith?

I have read so many lovely, great books with beautiful romances that are not all sensual! So why are a huge part of the Christian authors letting it seep in and sometimes almost dominate their books? Authors like Jaye L. Knight, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and Janette Oke are a few of the authors I’ve found who do an exceptional job of writing sweet/clean but incredible romances. However, many other authors of YA-adult romance that I’ve read by have at least a little bit of sensual content or else something like shallow romance/premature kissing. *wrinkles nose*

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I’m not saying all of it is simply sinful! But I do think heavy sensuality is definitely crossing the line.

To tell you the truth, I’m just plain getting tired of reading these type of romances. Give me a Jace and Kyrin love story (Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight) and I’m thrilled and my heart is sighing because it’s just so beautiful, meaningful, and long-awaited. It’s true love. Whereas the sensual romance focused all on physical and self has me sighing for a whole different reason. They’re so focused on physical desires that they have no time for honoring God or honoring/loving each other. It’s shallow. It has little meaning to me. It definitely doesn’t grow my faith or teach me more about the godly marriage Christians should seek.

Marriage is meant to be sacred. A holy covenant. A beautiful relationship. A godly romance. A delightful friendship. A loving team.

Are the books we read conveying that?

Are we waiting for that, saving ourselves for that?

Also, in a world where we’re bombarded by sexual temptations and depravities right and left, is it okay for us (unmarried or otherwise) to read such books? Is it helping, or discouraging our minds from stay pure??

So what are your thoughts? Do you think that a lot of Christian fiction is getting a little too edgy these days? When is crossing the line? Do you think popular Christian romance author, such as Francine Rivers, write tastefully despite some “heated moments” in their romances?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please join the conversation and comment below!

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** Originally published on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life, May 1st, 2015 **

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

So here’s where I attempt to write a post about dating/marriage … something along those lines. This subject has been on my mind and heart lately, so I just want to share some of my thoughts.

thoughts on dating and marriage

To be honest, I’ve never dated before. Never been in a romantic relationship. I’ve had crushes on a few young men though the years, but nothing ever came of it … I doubt they liked me back in the same way! So I’m passed that “sixteen and never been kissed” and am now an even older “never been kissed” phenomenon. *wink* Okay, okay. It’s not that amazing; I actually know quite a few young women who are “older” and haven’t been in a relationship before either. But it’s just that in this day and age … where you get your first boyfriend at thirteen-years-old … yeah. I sometimes feel like a spectacle of some sort.

Yet, there is a reason that I’m still quite unattached, and I know what it is (not counting the fact that I was homeschooled, and am rather insecure and of an introverted nature). I see problems when I look out at the world and their system of finding true love. I see heartbreak, and scars, and pain, and foolish decisions, and regrets, and hurt, and confusion, and divorce.

I’ve been watching this all go on, guys. I’m just waiting. And while I wait, gathering wisdom on the subject, I hope.

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  • Dating is not “for fun”

I’ve never dated before, because I realize that dating is not something one should do for fun. Rather, dating/courting is to purposefully get to know someone, with marriage in mind.

When you “date” when you’re twelve to seventeen years old, you’re generally just fooling around. You don’t actually expect to marry that person someday. (There are exceptions, of course – especially in my parents’ background, where a lot of young people get married between the ages of seventeen to twenty; I’m just speaking of the average dating teenager who isn’t planning on getting married anytime soon).

So you’re getting emotionally attached … physically involved … and yet nothing is going to come of it. You’re not only giving pieces (in a sense) of your heart and body to some person other than your future spouse, you’re playing a dangerous game of “falling in love”, then breaking up when an issue comes up. “Falling in love”, then leaving when there are rough times that you don’t feel like working through. I mean, you’re a “child” playing at what adults do. And it’s not safe. As pastor/speaker Matt Chandler’s wife, Lauren, says: Dating (for fun, with no real direction or purpose) is like practicing divorce.

Also, I’ve read surveys on how many girls lose their purity by the time they’re out of high school when they start dating around thirteen and continually get into dating relationships from then on. Most studies said it was well over 50%. That is heart-breaking, people. *tears* Dating is not for teenagers, but for mature individuals seeking marriage.

“Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.”

~ Jefferson Bethke

Hopefully by the time you’re an “adult”, you realize that dating is serious. Flirting, playing around, toying with someone’s heart, giving away your kisses … I think you’re just setting yourself up for future hurts and issues to work through. Not to mention, that’s not being very faithful to your future spouse. Want to talk about true love? That kind of amazing, fairy-tale true love? Well, maybe that can happen if we start loving our future spouses here and now instead of flippantly seeking out temporary pleasure and fun at every turn.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2

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Let’s be serious. Let’s turn over the pen of our love story to God. Shouldn’t He be involved? Of course! God should be involved in every detail of our lives, especially the huge aspect of our love lives.

Date with intention, people. Not for pleasure, but to see if a solid friendship could blossom into a lasting, God-honoring romance. Seek God’s guidance. Wait possibly. Don’t date if you can’t see the relationship leading to a godly marriage.

I think this video (link below) talks about such things and lays it out pretty well. I would encourage you to watch it. *smiles*

Christians and Dating // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

“You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he’s the right one.”

~ Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott

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  • How Far is Too Far?

So what about when you believe you’ve found the one. You’re currently dating/courting, and falling more in love each day. How far is too far when it comes to the physical side?

Some people say you shouldn’t really touch at all. Others say holding hands is fine. Or light kissing. Some say kissing should wait until after engagement, or even until you’re at the altar. But still others say “making out” is perfectly appropriate at times.

I myself tend to lean toward saving your first kiss for your wedding day. Kissing is very special … end of discussion. I say save as many firsts as you can. Save it, value it, make it meaningful. It helps keep temptation at bay, and ensures you’re only kissing your spouse!

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However, some people just say I’m conservative and whatever else.

So here’s the best answer I’ve heard when it comes to the question, “How far is too far?” It comes from Youtuber, Joseph Solomon:

“Whenever you start to lust.”

Christian Singles: How Far Is Too Far? // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

So. Be honest with yourself. And ask your significant other to be honest with themselves. And then set some firm boundaries. Because entertaining lust can lead you to some places you never set out to go … and lust is a sin in and of itself.

So, to the Christian individual who wants to know how far they can go without sinning … there it is. And also, make sure you’re respecting not only your own boundaries, but your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s.

But here’s another thought I’ve come across: Should you, as a child of God, be asking how far you can go without sinning? Or should you ask how far you can go to honor your God and your “neighbors”?

18 Flee sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:18

Focus on friendship. Focus on really getting to know the other. Serving them. Growing closer together in the Lord. Most of the physical stuff is really best left to marriage. And it’s beautiful when you keep it safely there.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Song of Solomon 8:4

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  • No daydreaming

Okay, so you’re not in a relationship, but dutifully praying for your future husband/wife. And while you’re sincerely praying for that unknown person, so-and-so pops into your head. Then you’re like,“Wait … I’m supposed to be praying for my future spouse right now, not so-and-so”.

It’s kind of funny, but kind of not in the same breath. Because let’s face it; daydreaming doesn’t help anything. Most of the time it leads to discontentment, fretting, or even emotional attachment. Way to totally fall in love with someone who probably doesn’t exist, rather just bears the name of the person you “like”.

I’m not sure how men are, but, from a woman’s perspective, it is really easy to get caught up in daydreaming and all that silliness. And for a while, it can seem like just that – harmless silliness. But usually our hearts end up getting a little cracked.

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So let’s try to be patient and purposeful! Here’s some things to try:

  • When your mind wanders to daydreaming, try praying for someone who needs your prayers.
  • Daily give that person and your admiration of them over to God – surrender.
  • Pray for and write letters to your future spouse.
  • Pray for the distracting person separately, if you want to pray for them.

Instead of pining over someone who might not even be “yours”, try to gain wisdom about what makes a godly marriage and how to be a godly woman/man. Seek God, and strive to grow closer to Him. Those who are lonely, your soul is crying out for God! A spouse cannot fill that emptiness.

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Fight for your future marriage. Look around. Satan is avidly working at destroying marriages – perverting what God designed to be beautiful and sacred. So start fighting for your marriage even now, before it’s started.

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  • Marriage is not the goal in life

One way to keep yourself from idolizing marriage or a romantic relationship is to realize that marriage isn’t the goal. That a spouse isn’t going to fulfill you/make your life perfect.

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Marriage is a gift! Surrender that desire for marriage to God, and see where He goes with it! Trust that God has the best plan—no matter what. Because, in truth, you aren’t in control. And the sooner you give up that illusion, the happier and more at peace you’ll be! Just realize that God is in control, and choose to trust that He knows and sees what we can’t, and He loves us oh so much, and He delights in us.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Live your life. Serve others. Use your gifts. Go wherever God leads you. Don’t wait on marriage to start living. Finding a partner in life is a gift, not a goal.

Don’t waste your life. Don’t feel inferior because you’re not married. Surrender and seek the Lord! He has a plan for your life – follow it! ❤

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

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  • Godly Action and Pursuit

I don’t want to sound like I’m against marriage here, or Christian couples getting married young even. Marriage was designed by God, created to be a very good thing that not only is a gift to us, but glorifies Him and shines a light to the world! Marriage is a very beautiful thing. An honor. A sacred covenant. Loving and serving a spouse and raising children to know and serve the Lord are extremely important jobs!

22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 12:4

14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14

So single women, I charge you to follow God’s path for your life, seek to learn how to become a godly woman. If you desire to get married someday, pray specifically and deeply for your future husband … ask God to prepare you to be the wife your man needs!

Not that we’re all guaranteed to get married. I could be meant to be single. I could die before marriage ever comes into view. Jesus could return before I become a wife. I don’t really know! And that’s okay. But as of now, I just feel a burden to pray for my future husband, and to learn what it means to be a godly wife. I find myself praying that God would mold me into the woman my future husband needs. I find myself asking God to urge him to pray for me. *smiles* Because I totally need to be held up in prayer also! I have struggles, and fears, and all that too.

So surrender your desire for marriage to God, and trust Him. But if you continue to feel urged to pray for your future husband and learn about being a godly wife, then go for it! Fight for your marriage!

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12

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Yes, do not pursue, ladies! That is what God calls the men to do. Not us. I’ve seen how masculinity and femininity have been so mixed and messed up and it’s not doing the world or our marriages any good. Men are the leaders. They’re meant to initiate – and women respond. Men pursue.

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22

Did you get that? He who finds a wife. Not she who finds a husband. Haha. But seriously, stop. Stop the flirting, the hinting, the pressuring. Don’t ask guys out. No. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the man to pursue. If he’s a godly man, and he’s found a godly woman in you, and prayed about, and feels the Lord is leading you together, then he will intentionally and gently pursue you. Did you hear that? Let the men lead.

Here’s a video if there’s any men reading this post who want to be preached to about pursuing. I found it interesting myself. *smiles* (click link below)

Pursue Her: A Message to Christian Men // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

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So there are my thoughts! I do not follow them all perfectly. I’m not perfect! But I’m striving to trust God with my future … pray for my future marriage (if that’s indeed in God’s will for my life) … wait on a godly man … become a godly woman! Fall more in love with my Savior, and see more perfectly His design each day! ❤

Join me, single women! (And single men, if you’re reading this! *smiles*) Let’s be the exceptions. Pray sincerely for our future spouse. Fight for our future marriage. Strive for godliness. Live God’s design … not the world’s!

And even if you’ve been living the world’s design … you’ve messed up … Don’t worry; you can still start anew and start living God’s design! I’m far from having done it all right as well – but each day is a new day! Surrender to the Lord and strive to walk His path! He is faithful!

I hope this was encouraging/helpful. I love you all, my sisters and brothers in the Lord! Remember to fight for godly, beautiful marriages that shine our God’s incredible light! ❤

 

** Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life July 24th, 2015 **