Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Escaping Sexual Sin Before it's Too Late

Escaping Sexual Sin Before it's Too Late

By Rev. Marty O'Rourke
Guest Writer

CBN.comOvercoming Temptation Will Cost Your Pride Dearly
Why are so many strong Christians succumbing to sexual sin? We must remember that we as Christians do not live in a vacuum but in a culture filled with temptations that stir lust. Many people have fallen because they underestimated the power of sexual temptation.
Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth has the strongest teaching about sexual sin because Corinth, like our culture, was saturated with sexual temptation.
The Bible declares that God is faithful and no matter what temptation we face, He will provide “a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
God’s will for us is to overcome temptation, but it will cost us dearly, especially our pride. The preceding passage (1 Cor 10:12) warns us: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” God is telling us that the first step in overcoming temptation is to beware of the attitude, “It couldn’t happen to me.”
As the wisdom of Proverbs says, pride sets us up for a fall.
The Rev. Gordon MacDonald, a wonderful pastor and at one time president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, shares in his book Rebuilding Your Broken World about a time when he was asked about how Satan might get him. He answered:
All sorts of ways, I suppose; but I know there's one way he wouldn't get me. “What's that?” He'd never get me in the area of my personal relationships. That's one place where I have no doubt that I'm as strong as you can get. A few years after that conversation my world broke wide open. A chain of seemingly innocent choices became destructive, and it was my fault. Choice by choice by choice, each easier to make, each becoming gradually darker. And then my world broke -- in the very area I had predicted I was safe -- and my world had to be rebuilt.
He goes on to quote from My Utmost for His Highest: “An unguarded strength is actually a double weakness.” Here is a man of God with a good marriage who had written books on family life and yet fell into adultery. Why? Because he thought it couldn’t happen to him and left this part of his life unguarded.
If David, who was “a man after God’s own heart,” Gordon MacDonald, and many other strong men and women of faith yielded to sexual temptation, it could happen to you. God is telling us through these words of Paul -- “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12) -- that our vulnerability to sin increases when we think it could not happen to us.
Almost all Christians, especially Christian leaders, who have fallen to sexual temptation would tell you that they did not think it could have happened to them.
1 Corinthians 6:18 warns us, “Flee from sexual immorality.” It is easy for pride to convince us that we don’t really need to FLEE, and that this instruction is for weaker Christians. We mislead ourselves into thinking that instead of fleeing we can stroll away, looking back once in awhile, because we are strong enough to resist or flirt with temptation. Admitting that we need to flee takes real Christian humility. Remember, overcoming sexual temptation will cost your pride dearly.
When do you need to flee?
  • When you find yourself thinking about a “friend, co-worker, ministry partner, counselee” and how much you enjoy being with this person -- FLEE!
  • When you look forward to spending more time with this person and you make sure you look especially nice if you know you might see your “friend” that day -- FLEE!
  • If you begin to fantasize about being with this person or knowingly start touching your “friend” in “innocent “ ways -- FLEE!
  • When you become more secretive about your interaction with your “friend” because people like your spouse might “misunderstand” your friendship -- FLEE!
  • If you receive cards, e-mails or presents from this person that you would not want your spouse to see -- FLEE!
  • When you find yourself comparing your spouse in an unfavorable way to your “friend”-- FLEE!
  • If you start confiding in your “friend” about your marital problems -- FLEE!
Anytime we feel we must keep something secret, this would indicate that sin is crouching at our door. If you are experiencing sexual attraction to someone – or experiencing some other kind of temptation over a few days – go to your spouse or someone you can trust in the Body of Christ. Bring the secret out into the light of day and ask for prayer and accountability.
Satan loves it when we keep secrets in the dark because of shame, fear, or pride – but remember, darkness is overcome by light. Often this alone can break the power of temptation, but it will cost you your pride.
Many are unwilling to sacrifice their pride by admitting their struggle with sin to get the help they need. There is great wisdom in these words by Rick Warren:
If you’re losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you're stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention-failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own. You need the help of other people. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable.
Tragically, too many people – because of family background, having experienced sexual abuse or abandonment, or having a long history of struggling with lust – need significant ministry, yet are unwilling to get help until they are forced to do so after yielding to sin.
Yes, there is a price that your pride must pay to overcome temptation – but please take a moment and consider the much greater price of yielding to temptation. Consider the damage to the cause of Christ, to your family, and to your Christian witness, along with the pain you will cause yourself and the ones you love the most.
God has given us everything we need to overcome temptation, but it will cost our pride dearly. However, I plead with you to consider the even greater cost of yielding to the temptation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Worldliness - the cause of sinfullness

'Cellphones to blame for pre-marital sex'
TNN, Dec 21, 2010, 05.05am IST

AIZAWL: India may have become the world's fastest growing mobile phone market, but a church body in Mizoram has blamed the use of cellphones for rising pre-marital sex among youngsters in the Christian-dominated northeastern state.

The Synod Social Front of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church recently carried out a survey among the residents, mostly youngsters, of Aizawl and other district headquarters and observed that invasion of the media, especially cellphones, in everyday life has "undermined the social values of the Mizos and increased pre-marital sex among the youth".
Pope Benedict-Highlights of Verbum Domine
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
1:51 PM
In this way I wish to point out certain fundamental approaches to a rediscovery of God’s word in the life of the Church as a wellspring of constant renewal. At the same time I express my hope that the word will be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity.
For this reason I encourage all the faithful to renew their personal and communal encounter with Christ, the word of life made visible, and to become his heralds, so that the gift of divine life – communion – can spread ever more fully throughout the world. Indeed, sharing in the life of God, a Trinity of love, is complete joy
(cf.1 Jn 1:4).

And it is the Church’s gift and inescapable duty to communicate that joy, born of an encounter with the person of Christ, the Word of God in our midst. In a world which often feels that God is superfluous or extraneous, we confess with Peter that he alone has “ the words of eternal life ” (Jn 6:68).

There is no greater priority than this: to enable the people of our time once more to encounter God, the God who speaks to us and shares his love so that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).

The Synod of Bishops on the Word of God
4. In the twelfth synodal assembly, Bishops from throughout the world gathered around the word of God and symbolically placed the text of the Bible at the centre of the assembly, in order to stress anew something we risk taking for granted in everyday life: the fact that God speaks and responds to our questions.9 Together we listened to and celebrated the word of the Lord.

Following the example of the Apostle John and the other inspired authors, may we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to an ever greater love of the word of God. 1318. We see clearly, then, how important it is for the People of God to be properly taught and trained to approach the sacred Scriptures in relation to the Church’s living Tradition, and to recognize in them the very word of God.

68 Whenever our awareness of its inspiration grows weak, we risk reading Scripture as an object of historical curiosity and not as the work of the Holy Spirit in which we can hear the Lord himself speak and recognize his presence in history.
Thus, ‘all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be proficient, equipped for every good work’ (2 Tim 3:16-17, Greek)

Sad to say, in our days, and in the West, there is a widespread notion that God is extraneous to people’s lives and problems, and that his very presence can be a threat to human autonomy.
Yet the entire economy of salvation demonstrates that God speaks and acts in history for our good and our integral salvation. Thus it is decisive, from the pastoral standpoint, to present the  word of God in its capacity to enter into dialogue with the everyday problems which people face. Jesus himself says that he came that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).
Consequently, we need to make every effort to share the word of God as an openness to our problems, a response to our questions, a broadening of our values and the fulfillment of our aspirations.
The Church’s pastoral activity needs to bring out clearly how God listens to our need and our plea for help.

In dialogue with God through his words
24. The word of God draws each of us into a conversation with the Lord: the God who speaks teaches us how to speak to him. Here we naturally think of the Book of Psalms, where God gives us words to speak to him, to place our lives before him, and thus to make life itself a path to God.


Matthew 4:4:

 Psalm 34 :1
I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:4
 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

 Psalm 27:1-3:
 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
         Whom shall I fear?
         The LORD is the strength of my life;
         Whom shall I dread?

Psalm 34:7:
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.

Zechariah 2:5:
'For I,' declares the LORD, 'will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.'

Psalm 32:8
 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Psalm 55:16
As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord will save me.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Psalm 37:4 
Delight yourself in the LORD;
 And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 119:105
 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Isaiah 40:8
The grass withers, the flower fades, 
 But the word of our God stands forever 

Psalm 119: 11
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
 That I might not sin against You.

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have those who love Your law,
 And nothing causes them to stumble.