Monday, June 17, 2013

How Far Is Too Far? Devotionals from The Seventh Dimension

From Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy

How Far Is Too Far?

“Word is out about you. I’d hate to see your splattered body sprawled out on the road. It would destroy your father’s reputation; cost him his job, and my inheritance—unless Judd gets it first. If I have my way that won’t happen. I need to protect you. From now on, you’ll stay where I can see you.”
“Judd gets what?”
She didn’t answer me.
I had no idea what she was talking about. So Judd convinced her I was a tramp though Daniel had never once been alone with me. Even in the cave, he always insisted the door be open—probably why Judd overheard too much.”

***



How far is too far when it comes to relationships between young men and women? What does the Bible say about purity?

In Seventh Dimension, the Door, Shale was falsely accused. The fact that she had never been alone with Daniel made her statement she had done nothing wrong more credible.

The Bible in II Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

The most precious gift you can give your future husband or wife on your wedding day is your virginity. I will speak more specifically here to young ladies. Make that gift even more special by not allowing yourself to be touched by a man—not even kissed before you marry him.

This is a high standard, but it can be done. I recently went to a wedding where the bride and groom shared their first kiss on their wedding day. I marveled that a young couple could have that much self‑control and remain pure until they married.

I recently told my younger daughter, and I have told her this many times, a simple expression that goes like this: clothes on, hands off. One night, however, I made a silly mistake and said, “Clothes off, hands on.” She gave me a wry smile, catching my mistake before I did. We both laughed, but she knew exactly what I meant.

Society will tell you it’s okay to kiss, touch, and do things that are contradictory to the teachings of the Bible. Don’t do it. When you become like the world and see love and sex through the eyes of Hollywood movies, tabloids, and gossip magazines, you are cheapened. You have bought into Satan’s lies that these perversions will make you happy. They won’t. You cheat yourself out of what God meant for good between a man and a woman after they become one through marriage. Besides, do you really want those images in your mind on your honeymoon? How would you like your to-be husband to think about other women he has intimately known when he has just wed you?

It is very difficult to keep yourself clean in a world that is inundated with sex and skin and beauty. I recently went on Twitter to find some categories for hash tags for my book. I looked up a common, everyday word and was presented with pornographic pictures of young girls. I was shocked.

If you are normal, you will find these temptations difficult to resist. You are curious, you have hormones, and you are human. But every time you give in to those temptations, the lust of the flesh, you are cheapening your view of something beautiful. God made sex as something to be shared between a husband and a wife.

Your preoccupation before marriage with lustful thoughts will affect your relationship with the opposite sex. Pornographic images from the web or pictures from magazines will become imprinted in your mind. You will remember them at inappropriate times. The best way to avoid the temptation is not to allow yourself to be tempted. The Bible says in I Timothy 6:11, “But you, man of God, flee from all of this, and pursue righteousness…”

Daniel showed great respect for Shale. By opening the door so as not to be alone with her, Daniel respected her. He did not want to put himself into a compromising position with her, that there could ever be rumors spread about their relationship.

Some day you will probably meet a young man if you’re a young lady, or if you’re a young man, you’ll meet a girl to whom you are attracted. If that significant other tells you things like, “If you love me, you will do this,” or some other ridiculous statement, have the guts to say “No.” Don’t compromise. Believe in yourself, your value, and your self-worth.

Let me tell you something else. You might be tempted because you want it. Sin doesn’t feel bad, it doesn’t look horrid, and Satan won’t show up with pointed ears and a pitchfork in the car if you are “parking,” or lounge beside you on the sofa with your date. Unless you have blue blood, you will enjoy romantic relationships. That is normal. Wanting to engage in sexual activity it is not what gets you into trouble. Compromising is.

What greater gift can you give your future husband or wife than to be able to tell him or her that you have never shared yourself with anyone else? You have not kissed, you have not fondled, you have not slept, and you have not revealed your unclothed body to someone you have previously dated. Once you have given away that first kiss, you can’t get it back. It’s gone. Once a man has touched you, you have given away that part of your body. And once you have had intercourse, you are no longer a virgin.

I advise young men and women when they are dating not to even kiss. Once the juices start flowing, it’s difficult to turn off the passion. Avoid the situation in the first place. What Hollywood presents is a sordid picture of reality. I cringe when I see those glamorous pictures of movie stars plastered on the covers of gossip magazines and newspapers—in my heart, I believe them to be the most miserable people on the planet.

Perhaps the saddest tale is that of Lindsay Lohan. What a beautiful, young, talented girl she was in the Disney movie The Parent Trap fifteen years ago. I wondered how long it would be before she posed for a girlie magazine. She is the epitome of someone who had so much to gain and so much to lose. With great talent comes great responsibility and temptation to misuse it. What a waste.

On the other hand, I look at a young man, Tim Tebow, who has used his fame as a way to share his faith. I have watched him from the sidelines for many years because I live in Gainesville, Florida. He was the star quarterback for the Gators, a Heisman Trophy winner, and took the University of Florida football team to the national championship. He was drafted into the NFL and played a couple of seasons for the Denver Broncos and then a year for the New York Jets before being released on waivers. He was on his way to becoming a distant memory until he was picked up by the New England Patriots. What will people remember him for?  

With great faith and opportunity to share in the public arena comes great controversy. People have hated Tebow for no good reason except that he is a Christian. Others have looked for opportunities to destroy him. I doubt that history will paint him as a spectacular football player, but there is no doubt in my mind he will take the accolades of his Lord and Savior in heaven over any applause on a football field full of cheering crowds and sports pundits. Any six foot four athlete who openly admits he is a virgin and touches the lives of cancer-stricken children in the hospital is a hero in my book. He financially supports a foundation to help orphans in the Philippines where his family once served as missionaries.

I have no idea what else he does, but I know he is not covering the pages of those gossip magazines with unseemly stories. If he was living that kind of life, the whole world would know about it. Satan is alive and well, seeking to devour those who give in to the temptations of the flesh. Tim Tebow’s road has not been easy. He has been scoffed and ridiculed, but through it all, as of this writing, he has walked the straight and narrow path of his convictions.

My point is this:  You can do it. You can be like Tim Tebow or you can be like Lindsay Lohan, or somewhere in between. Be careful, however, about the “somewhere in between.” God doesn’t have good things to say about lukewarm people. In Revelation 3:16, Jesus said, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

You must be sold-out to Jesus Christ. You will not have the strength and endurance to overcome the temptations that your sinful nature will crave if you don’t. Satan and his demons are relentless. You can’t win this battle without becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Being a fan of Jesus Christ is not sufficient. You will lose every single time. My mother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions aren’t good enough. You need the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you to win the battle of sex and purity.

If you have messed up in this area, there is healing. There is forgiveness, there is redemption, and there is restoration; but there is also pain that comes with all of that work to fix things. Fortunately God is in the business of healing broken lives and offers forgiveness. But He doesn’t always remove the consequences of our poor choices. If you get a veneral disease, you will suffer. Those sores hurt. Herpes is ugly. Aids kills. What about if you get pregnant?

Do you want to put yourself in that situation? Do you want to have to explain to your future husband or wife about your sins from the past?

I Corinthians 10:30 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

That brings me comfort, knowing that there is nothing that Satan and his demons can send my way that God won’t provide a way of escape. Do everything you can to flee from evil. Don’t go to those internet sites. Don’t tempt yourself. Don’t put yourself into a compromising situation that you might regret later.

Remember, God loves you. You are His. Keep yourself pure for your future husband, and, above all, for yourself. Stolen fruit may taste good for the moment, but later, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Someone once said to me, “A moment of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of regret.” That person should have heeded his own advice. It was my ex-husband who told me that before he got his girlfriend pregnant—eight years into our marriage. His foolish mistake shattered me and destroyed our marriage.


Your sin in this area won’t just affect you. It will affect others—often tragically. Walk away—actually, flee. Get out of there. Ask yourself, what would Jesus want me to do in this situation? And then do it.

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