Sex in the Name of Love

I have been abstinent for more than four years. When I recommitted myself to the Lord and to living a holy lifestyle, someone told me that I wasn’t really living a difficult life of abstinence because I was single. He went on to say that couples who are practicing abstinence together are the real MVPs the only legitimate members of the celibacy team. In retrospect, I imagine he was insinuating that I was abstinent by default and not by choice. I don’t think it ever crossed his mind that a young woman in her 20s would choose a sexless life. Who could blame him? The movies we watch, the songs that we jam to, and the television programs we DVR encourage and entice us to indulge in sex. The more we indulge, the more our carnal desires are titillated and seduced into exploring that which God designed to be sacred.

Sex is a natural, biological act that almost everyone will experience at some point in life. It is the ultimate experience of ecstasy that we will find on this side of Heaven, and once we have tasted that ecstasy it seems almost impossible to go without. When I met my fiancé, I was nervous for this very reason. I knew that sex before marriage was not an option and I didn’t care how fine he was, I would not compromise. Ironically, the fact that he believed in Jesus was not enough to convince me that we held the same convictions about sex. (Yes, there are singles in the church who struggle with sex) On our first date, you could imagine my surprise when he asked me about the purity ring that my father had delicately placed on my right ring finger on my sixteenth birthday. I never anticipated that we would discuss these things so soon, but I’m glad we did. It was then that he told me that he, too, was saving himself for his wife. When he told me of his recommitment to purity, I knew that he was serious potential.

In a world where sex in relationships is the encouraged norm, my fiancé and I have chosen to remain abstinent until we get married next spring. Abstinence is probably one of the most challenging tests we have faced, but there are a few reasons why we know this is the best decision for us.

  • God loves sex.

You read right. God didn’t just create sex for reproduction; He created it for pleasurable connection, romance, and intimacy. Yes, God loves sex! In fact, God intended for sex to be so wonderful, so life-altering, so magical, and so sensational…that only marriage is strong enough to handles its effects (Click to Tweet!). He knew that a connection this powerful outside of the intended confines of marriage could be destructive. Voddie Baucham said it best: [paraphrase] Sex is like a fire. Inside of a fireplace, it’s contained and it’s heat comforts, soothes, warms, consoles. Outside of the fireplace, fire is vicious, wild, dangerous, and catastrophic. The number one reason why we aren’t having sex is because we want to honor God. I believe that one of the reasons why God commands us to wait is because in a marriage, he is the glue that holds it together. Consummation without covenant is displeasing to God and leaves Him out of the equation. He longs for us to protect and preserve the marriage bed because anything else is simply settling for second best.

  • Premarital sex is selfish

It is impossible for lust to be satisfied, yet it constantly begs for more and more. Operating as the opposite of lust, love gives wholly and fully of itself. Tim Keller says that [married] sex is a radical self-donation. Covenantal intimacy seeks to protect and pleasure your spouse. Lustful passion wants to be pleased and pacified without much significant thought of the other person. We get the phrase “true love waits” when we take into account that real love isn’t hasty or irrational. It waits until it’s time to blossom and mature into all that God ordained it to be. No matter how much I love my fiancé, if we dabble into sexual sin it has tainted what God originated to be a selfless donation of love into unbridled selfishness. I am not protecting the heart and soul of my mate when I lie with him without promising to love him until death separates us. I am putting my feelings, my desires, my lusts before him and everything else. Love sees no need to hurry ahead of God; it waits for His perfect timing. Even Jesus waited to give His life—the ultimate self-donation of love—until the Father granted Him permission and announced that it was time. Sex before marriage says, “I’m not thinking of you. I’m not caring for you. I’m exposing you because I’m thinking of myself and what I want.” (Click to Tweet!)

  • Premarital sex breeds distrust and insecurity

Growing up, my mother always said that it is impossible to cultivate a trusting foundation when premarital sex is present. She pointed out that when you see couples who struggle with trusting one another you are seeing the fruit and repercussions of premarital sex.   In a marriage, sex has the power to reinforce the unshakeable covenant that was established; however sex beyond the confines of marriage exposes and deconstructs the trust that may have once stood unwavering. How can this be? Well, it’s simple really. If I give my body to a man who has not committed to me in marriage, then I have given a piece of myself that he did not earn. In the heart of every woman lies a yearning to be deeply desired yet fiercely protected by her man. A woman cannot help but swoon over a man who finds her sexually attractive, yet cares enough about her heart to practice discipline over his own body. When a man denies sexual indulgences because of his fear of the Lord and his love for his woman, she can trust that his accountability to the Lord governs him more than his sexual urges.

My fiancé is very committed to our decision to remain abstinent until marriage. Honestly, that choice is one of the things that has proven his commitment to me. I have no doubts that he is faithful to me because I know who governs him. He is not his own man; he answers to the Lord. My mother and I have had countless conversations about relationships and one of her nuggets of wisdom that I will keep with me is this: Jesus is the only one who keeps a man faithful to the woman in his life. There is no amount of will power that is strong enough to keep a man from physically or emotionally stepping out on his woman. Only the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit will cause a man to withstand temptations (because they will come) and remain faithful to the Lord and to his wife. However, if that man is not submitted to the Lord, then who holds him accountable to his actions and conversations with other women? Something bigger than himself must have a hold of the man, and if he cannot control his urges with you… what controls them when you’re away? These were the types of thoughts that marred my mind when I foolishly engaged in sex before marriage in a previous relationship.

Sex before marriage destroyed my self-esteem. I knew I was sinning against God but I was more compelled by my obsession for affection that I handed over my most precious gift as if I’d forgotten that all sales were final. During that season, my heart begged for more. I had affection but I lacked security. Someplace deep down I was forced to face the reality that I was worth more than empty sex in a relationship that promised no future. I knew that my heart was worth my weight in gold, and more than I wanted to be touched, I needed so desperately to be known. Once sex became a factor, it was much easier for me to believe the lies and excuses that constantly barraged me. Lust caused me to turn a blind eye to the dysfunctional aspects of my relationship and I somehow convinced myself that sex would make me forget about our deficiencies. It only heightened them. I never trusted him because when my heart wanted to be known and understood most were the moments when sex was initiated almost as if to stifle my cry for love. Each encounter became more taxing on my soul.

And then I met the love of my life. He was a man who hung onto my every word when I spoke. He was the man who thanked me just for taking time out of my day to spend it with him. He was the man who chose to hug me after our first date rather than kissing me. He was the man who spent hours with his mentor learning how to best protect me. He was the man who took the time to learn the things that made me cry, laugh, and think. He’s the man who I still catch staring at me as if I’m the only person in the room. He’s the man who, on my birthday in front of my friends and family, got down on one knee and asked me if I would allow him the opportunity to love me for the rest of our lives. He is the one for whom I have been preserving myself, and he has decided to join his life with mine without me ever having to give anything of myself. What sexual sin threatened to steal forever, hope in Christ has restored! He never tried to take anything from me. All he set out to do from the beginning was to give and build and grow. I am better because of him, and on our wedding day he will be worthy of all of me.

One of the most amazing things about God is that we can all come to him and lay our weariness at His feet—yes, even our sexual frustrations. Living a sexless life is not easy, but God always rewards our obedience. If you are struggling with sex, I will pose the question a dear friend of mine asked me: “Ask yourself what is connecting you to the person you are dating. Are you truly compatible from each other outside of the bedroom?” This is important to think about, especially if you are considering marriage.

Remember, there is now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s never too late to make a new decision about sex in your singleness. All it takes is a “Yes” and Jesus will grace you for the days to come. Don’t focus on what you think you’re missing, but all that God is storing up for your good and for His glory.

Single and Satisfied through Community

I am fully persuaded that being in a healthy, thriving, God-centric community will change your life. Really. I have witnessed the greatest expressions of God’s love, majesty, grace, healing and power through my small group. At the beginning of this year, God placed it on my heart and the hearts of a few other ladies to dig deeper into His word and into community. I remember a conversation I had with my friend, Kristi, about how desperately I needed a community of sisters who wanted more of Jesus. So we went to God and by his grace we began to meet with some ladies who shared our desire for more. We came with no plans, goals, or expectations except that we would facilitate a place every week for us to encounter God. People have asked us what we do on Wednesday nights to which I simply retort, “We open the Bible and see what happens.”

Today I am especially filled with unspeakable joy after this past Wednesday’s study session. We’ve just recently begun reading and discussing Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. Anyone who knows me (or follows me on Twitter) is aware that I am a huge supporter of Captivating because God used it to begin healing my heart. Naturally, this seemed like a great study for our group because I believe God wants to heal the broken hearts of the women in His Church (Click to Tweet!). Wednesday afternoon I asked God to do something new and fresh, to melt our hard hearts until we’re ready to be vulnerable and open to our desires, our dreams, and our wounds (so they can be healed). Simply, I wanted God to come. He always does, but I wanted something special.

There was something new in the air. I could feel it almost as soon as we sat down. Ironically, all of my notes for the discussion were wiped away from my phone seconds before we began. Clearly, God wanted to come in to the meeting and have more control than I did. The spirit was so sweet. Everyone was happy, hopeful, excited. Even those who began to share difficult and tough situations began to experience a shift from doubt to faith–the change was visible on their faces! There was a moment when I asked everyone what their favorite movies and stories were when they were younger. Every single countenance began to glow as we welcomed the rush of nostalgia.

“Sleeping Beauty!”

“The Lion King!”

“Cinderella…the one with Brandy and Whitney Houston!”

Suddenly everyone burst into song and infectious laughter. Someone shouted through laughter and shining eyes, “Oh! My heart is racing right now! I feel good!” In that moment, we were all little girls again in the presence of our God… in a place where nothing and no one could harm us. Not even the memory of pain was able to penetrate that circle of love.

By the end of the night, we were all so full of life and hope. The energy in the room was intoxicating. We had abandoned our agenda over an hour ago and were fixated on Jesus and the perfect love He gives that we sometimes reject. We often feel unworthy, undeserving, or that it’s too good to be true. But as I looked around at all these women, I was experiencing God’s love.

As we prayed to close the night, we were shouting and celebrating each prayer that was lifted up to God. We were celebrating being women. His women. His daughters. Together. Black women. White women. Filipino women. So different. All broken, but wanting Jesus.

One woman prayed, “In this moment, we are all fulfilled. May we always keep this moment of wholeness in Christ and community.”

She was right. And as she prayed that, the audible sighs that escaped from everyone’s mouth was confirmation. We were fulfilled. We weren’t thinking about the men we didn’t have or the weight we haven’t lost or the job we didn’t get. We were whole. Complete. Radiant. Captivating.

God’s gentle, loving spirit led us into a new place of hope that I don’t know many of us have experienced before. I know I haven’t. There was something so sweet about what happened there that night. We allowed God to love on us and He did it so well. I woke up Thursday morning feeling drunk on love. I’m loved. I’m accepted. I’m pursued. And in a circle full of ladies, I was completely fulfilled. (Click to Tweet!Giggling, blushing, singing, hugging and fulfilled.

If you ever doubted that godly female friends could enrich your life, let the story of my community change your mind. I have seen the face of God through the women in my small group. Don’t think that it’s impossible to reach fulfillment in relationships until you get married. That’s simply not the truth. (Click to Tweet!) My heart is expanding, my prayer life is increasing, my life is receiving deposits of Jesus with every word my friends speak into my life. We look forward to Wednesdays because we know we’ll leave feeling better than when we arrived, and we know Jesus will be there. I’m fully persuaded that God, too, looks forward to Wednesdays because there is always a place where He is welcome in our homes and in our hearts.

My friend noted, “Who would have thought, as women, to feel that fulfillment did not require a single man in the room!” (Click to Tweet!)

It’s an incredible thought. I have never been more fulfilled in my life. A younger me would never believe that the experiences I’ve had could be enjoyed without a man on my arm. But, as the Cinderella song that my girls and I love to sing says:

Impossible things are happening every day.

When I think of God’s love overflowing, I think of Him pouring wine into a glass until the red liquid runs on the table, the carpet, everywhere. When we reject His love, it’s like we’re trying to mop up the wine with Bounty napkins. Why do we do this? God is telling us, “Drink it! Take it all! It’s for you!” In our hearts, we can’t comprehend why anyone would pour wine into a full glass, but His love can’t be contained! But we steadily try to mop up the ‘mess of love’ because it’s too much, it doesn’t make sense. All He wants is for us to drink and let Him love us. Don’t wipe away the offer, drink it in!

— from the heart of Ashley Breaux, 6/19/2013

Five Truths for Christian Singles

In February I began a mini-series on singleness as the Lord began to reveal some things to me about His plan for the single Christian. (If you missed them, check them out here: Lessons from Lot & I’m Saved, So Why Am I Single?) In the most recent installment, I listed a few reasons why many of us remain in our singleness season. After that message, I began to feel pressed to express truths for every single person in the Kingdom.

#1: You are not single because God has forgotten about you.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. — Jesus via Matthew 10:30, 31 

The Bible says that the love of Christ surpasses knowledge (Ephesian 3:19). The love of the Father is unfathomable and mindbogglingly inconceivable. How a perfect God could ever love us when we were yet in our sin is a mystery. But since we know He loves us, we know that there is no good thing He will withhold from us!

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gits to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! — Jesus via Matthew 7:11.

God not only loves you, but He cherishes you. He could never forget about you, for you are the very reason He sent Jesus to die. You are the motive for Jesus’ mission on earth. God was willing to lose Jesus for a moment in order to win you for an eternity. That same God could never forget about You, even when we forget about Him. You are a jewel in His crown and an important character in God’s love story. You were the “damsel in distress” (this is not just for the ladies, but for you, too, fellas!) whose Knight in shining armor paraded into the city on a donkey. That same King could never forget about His bride.

#2: You are not single because you are unattractive.

Then the Lord will appear over them; His arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet; He will march in the storms of the south, and the Lord Almighty will shield them… The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! — Zechariah 9:14-16

We already know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made…that every fabric of our being was not only designed and fashioned by God, but His hands stitched and molded us into the person you and I are today. God has been dreaming about you since before the world was made. How He longed for someone who looks exactly like you! So, out of His bosom you were formed. Not only that, but Zechariah depicts God as a warrior in this passage. He swoops in and saves the day and He goes on to note how amazing and beautiful those jewels in His crown are. There is no possible way that you–God’s finest handiwork–are single because you are not attractive. You are a wonder to behold. As you fashion your spirit-man to look more like Jesus, that glow will turn heads left and right. Don’t think you’re single because of how you look or because (you think) no one notices you. Perhaps, the onlookers don’t have the capacity to fully appreciate the amazing creation that you are. Even if they cannot see your wonder or behold your beauty, you stop God in His tracks every time He looks down on you.

#3: You are not single because you have baggage.

Do you want to know how I can dare to say this bold statement? I’ll let you in on my secret. We all have baggage! There is not a single soul in existence who does not suffer or struggle from some sort of baggage or wound. Whether self-inflicted or afflicted from external forces, we all have baggage in our trunk. The good news about this is that God is a healer!

But for you who revere My name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall…on the day when I do these things, says the Lord Almighty. — Malachi 4:2,3

God has likened us as young calves who have been locked away in a stall…that when He comes and heals us from our baggage, we will leap and gallivant with freedom, exuberance and the testimony that God has redeemed us and removed the reproach of baggage! No, my dear, you are not single because of your baggage because we all have baggage, and God is faithful to remove baggage and all of the damage that is associated with it.

#4: You are not single because there are no more eligible men or women left.

This is a lie that the devil wants you to believe in order to coax you into settling for the next person who makes his or herself available to you. There are so many men and women of God swarming around this world, but that’s not the issue and it should not be your concern. In your waiting season, your delight should be in the Lord. Trust Him. When we complain that there is no one left for us to marry, we are ultimately expressing our unwillingness to trust the Lord to write our love story. How silly that we would dare second-guess the Author of our life’s story when He knows the end from the beginning! So, yes, there are plenty of amazing people who God is yet preparing for us, but don’t get in a rush to end your singleness so that you can snag yourself one of them. Sisters, every good man is not your man. Fellas, every beautiful lady is not yours to have and hold forever. Wait on God to lead you to the one you’re supposed to finish your life’s mission with. Delight in God and stop looking!

#5: You are not single because you are inadequate.

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. — Jesus via Matthew 11:28-30

To my dear friends who suffer from feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, incompetence, or just a sense of impossibility that marriage or a healthy relationships could ever be a reality in your life…I leave you with this simple, yet powerful truth. God gives strength to the feeble, hope to the hopeless, and comfort to the weary. It doesn’t matter what you have experienced in life, you are not inadequate and a healthy relationship is in God’s dream for you! If you are a believer in Jesus, the Bible says you are more than a conqueror! Every good thing is available to you and I, not because of anything we have done to deserve it, but simply because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. God loves marriage. He desires love for you because He is love. Love doesn’t need you to perform in order to earn it. You need not jump through any hoops. All you must do is let God embrace you in His arms and envelop you in His inconceivable love. That love heals, protects and completes us all through and through. It will wash away every thought and lie from the enemy that tells you that you are inadequate and somehow don’t deserve true love. God’s love will rebuild everything in you the devil tried to destroy…and when that love does its perfect work, God can trust you in the arms of a man or woman who is almost as crazy about you as God is.

I have given you five reasons why I know that you’re not single, but I will close by giving you one reason why I know you ARE single right now. It is this beautiful truth:

You are single because, for the time being, your God wants you all to Himself.

Lessons from Lot: Valentine’s Day Message to Singles

The Valentine’s Day season is upon us once again. Jewelry store commercials are airing on television at an all-time high. Your favorite shopping centers have aisles and aisles of pink and red cards, stuffed animals, candies, flowers, and other gifts. For some people in relationships, Valentine’s Day is a special occasion to celebrate your sweetheart. For many singles, Valentine’s Day (Affectionately known as “S.A.D.: Singles Awareness Day”) nothing more than a painful reminder of their relationship status. The temptation for singles during this “love season” is to sink into minor depression and, as a result, self-medicate that depression by creating their own happiness or self-fulfillment. What is the common tendency for singles around Valentine’s Day? Contacting an ex.

Dr. Myles Munroe says in his book, “Waiting and Dating,” that loneliness is a spiritual disease. A disease is a malfunctioning organ, part, structure, or system as a result of  genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors (definition derived from Dictionary.com). This definition insinuates that loneliness affects your spirit as a result of some sort of internal or external influence. So, if loneliness is a disease, then what is the remedy? Simply put, Jesus is the cure for the loneliness you may feel in your soul. Only Jesus can satisfy you in ways that money, sex, relationships, social status, cars, or any such thing cannot. He does things to you on the inside that mere words can barely express. When you cling to Jesus and begin to open yourself up to Him, He will breathe into you and capture your heart in ways you never thought possible. When that happens there won’t be any room for thoughts of loneliness to be entertained. You’ll be basking in the glory of the Almighty God. This isn’t to say that the devil won’t tempt you, which leads me to what I want to share.

When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he [the angel] said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there and my soul shall live.” And he [the angel] said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plains, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. — Genesis 19:15-26 NKJV

This is a very familiar text that many of us have heard before. Many people usually focus on Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt. I want to focus more on what God is telling us throughout the entire text that spoke greater volumes to me. There are some things that I want us all to be mindful of as Valentine’s Day approaches. I want us to be mindful of the enemy’s devices and tactics to take our focus off of the Lord and how he distracts us with loneliness, discontent in the Lord, and disbelief in His faithfulness to us.

  • Don’t Linger

God loves us. That is the most profound and humbling truth to ever exist, that a totally Holy, Perfect, Unchanging, Mighty, Beautiful God could love sinful, flawed, unstable, weak and feeble human beings. Not only does He love us as God, but He wants us to be apart of His family as His children. The love that a father has for his child is ferocious. He will go to any extent to ensure that his family is safe and secure. How much more will the God of the Universe do what He can to ensure our protection? In the text, God is going to incinerate Sodom and Gomorrah because of all of the filth there. If you read in Chapter 18, Abraham pleads with God to save Lot and his family and God honors Abraham’s prayer.  So, God sends angels to Sodom and Gomorrah on a rescue mission to save Lot’s family. The angels clearly tell Lot what God is going to do in the place. Lot knows that the condition of Sodom and Gomorrah is unfit according to God’s standards. In fact, the night before, the men of the town tried to burst down the doors because they wanted to have sex with the angels, even after Lot offered his own virgin daughters to the lust-filled men (Genesis 19:1-11). Yet, when the morning arrived, Lot was not eager to leave. The Bible says he lingered. Are you like Lot? Is there a relationship in your life that did not fit God’s standards and you were commanded to leave before God destroyed it Himself? You know the condition of that relationship. You know that if you stay, destruction will be your portion. God, as your Father, wants to protect you. Even if you don’t think you have the strength to leave, He will send angels to help you make that decision. Listen to your Christian friends, your pastors, your spiritual leaders, your parents. They are God’s agents that He has deposited in your life to help you leave that situation. Don’t linger! The angels told Lot to hurry! When they saw him begin to linger, the Word says they took him and his family by the hand. Let God take your hand and show you the way to safety. If that relationship will bring destruction, God wants you out of it!

  • Escape for Your Life!

The Word says that once the angels led Lot and his family out of the way of destruction (Sodom and Gomorrah) that they instructed them, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Hear the Word of the Lord. If God has told you to leave a relationship, don’t look back! There is nothing for you there! All that is good comes from the Lord and there is no good thing He will withhold from those who love Him. A destructive relationship is not something you skip away from. The Word said ESCAPE! Imagine that you were being held captive in prison and that relationship is the prison guard. If God has shown you the way to get out, you don’t timidly crawl away. You don’t wave goodbye to your captor. You run with all you have in you! Run for your LIFE! The angels gave specific instructions. They told Lot to escape to the mountains and not to stay anywhere near Sodom or Gomorrah. Sometimes we think it’s enough to end the relationship, but not to cut off all communication with that person. No, the Word says don’t go anywhere near the plain. In fact, the angels told Lot to go to higher ground: the mountains. When God sets you free, He doesn’t want you gallivanting around near the place He wants to destroy lest you get caught up in the destruction. Remember, He wants to ultimately protect you and your heart. He wants you to run away from harm and run to HIM where He knows you will be safe. Run for your life. We know who that source of Life is: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE. If you remain in the plains (a complacent place) you are still susceptible to be hurt. Go higher into His presence.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Climb

After hearing this, Lot says to the angels, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there and my soul shall live.” Sometimes we want out of a destructive relationship, but we don’t want the challenge to ascend into the hills of the Lord where His presence is. Why? We want to be normal! We don’t want to make the sacrifices needed to go where He is. We want to heal on our own without God’s help. We want to do things our way. We are thankful, as Lot was, that God got us out of a terrible situation, but we are yet unwilling to climb that mountain to get to Him. We make negotiations with God, instead of fully doing that thing which He requires of us. The whole point in getting you out of Sodom and Gomorrah in the first place was to bring you back to Him! He doesn’t want you to live in the small city near Sodom and Gomorrah. Even though you’ve left the place of destruction, it is still too far from where He wants you: the mountains in His Presence. I challenge you not to be afraid to climb. Lot made the excuse that he would die if he attempted to climb the mountain. That’s what the devil wants us to believe. He wants us to believe that the things of God aren’t fun, aren’t good, aren’t beneficial, aren’t relevant! The devil is a liar! The angels granted Lot his request and allowed his family to find refuge in the city. God is a gentleman! He won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. He will wait until you want Him desperately enough. But I exhort you, don’t let the lies of enemy thwart you from experiencing what God has for you! Cast away spiritual laziness and begin to climb the mountain. Get up early. Pray. Read the Word. Seek His face. Climb the mountain.

  • Don’t Look Back

As we all know, Lot’s wife looked back as the Lord began to rain down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Some of us may arrogantly proclaim, “I would have never looked back at that city! There was so much evil there! I would have kept my eyes on God.” But, would you? I’m sure she looked back for many reasons. Sodom and Gomorrah had been her home for many years. She had friends and family (The Bible says that her sons-in-law did not depart with the family) in that city. She had memories of her daughters growing up in that place. Everything she had worked hard for was in that place and God was going to destroy it. So, even though she was with her husband and children following God’s will, she turned back to get one last glimpse at what she loved, at what she had invested into. We all know that was the last thing she saw. I encourage all of you, when you decide to follow God, go all the way! Don’t look back at that relationship! Don’t reminisce on the “good times.” Don’t allow yourself to think for even a moment that what God is bringing you out of is better than what He will bring you into. That is untrue! Another thing I must say to my fellow singles: Let God deal with your past accordingly. Leave that situation, that person, that relationship, and everything you put into it into the hands of God. There is nothing that Lot’s wife could have done to save Sodom and Gomorrah’s fate. There is nothing you can do or offer your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. All you can do is give their place in your heart into God’s hands and trust Him to be God. Trust that He told you to leave that person alone for a reason. Trust them in His hands. But, whatever you do, don’t look back! If you do, you’ll be like Lot’s wife: initially following God, but turned for even a split second and ended up stuck in one place forever. It may be hard, but don’t stop. Don’t look back. Keep following Jesus.

  • Hide in the Lord

And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt. Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid  to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. –Genesis 19:29,30 NKJV

When the Lord began to literally wreck everything around Lot, he changed his mind about staying in Zoar and decided to seek higher ground! HALLELUJAH! This is such a powerful testimony! Why did he leave Zoar? This is the place the angels said it was safe for him to live. Think of all that has happened. Lot has pretty much been evicted from his home, leaving behind his entire life, and his wife has suddenly turned into a pillar of salt. He finally decides, “NOWHERE IS SAFE OUTSIDE OF THE LORD!!!!!” So he goes to the place God suggested in the first place. Maybe you have recently broken ties with a former lover or friend. Maybe you’re not sure what to do next. You’re in a strange land and you see your world crashing around you. You see relationships ending left and right. God is calling you to a place of rest in His bosom. The Word says Lot left Zoar because he was afraid. Maybe he was afraid that he, too, would turn into a pillar of salt. Maybe he was afraid that he would long for the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe you’re at a place of intimacy with the Lord and you’re afraid you’ll be tempted to sin again. Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing God. Maybe you were believing in God yesterday, but today you long for a relationship. I believe that Lot was afraid to remain in Zoar because he knew it was very likely that he’d go back to the place God destroyed. Zoar was a plain, on the same level as Sodom and Gomorrah. Zoar is what is comfortable; it’s normal. Run from normal! You don’t serve a normal God, so don’t settle for normal! I encourage you to do what Lot did! Decide today that you will climb that mountain and hide in Him. Follow hard after Jesus and rest in Him. Let Him be your Lover. Let Him woo you. Let Him be everything you could ever desire.

Learn from Lot this Valentine’s Day. See how the devil tries to get us every year. He’s been exposed. Now you have the secrets! Use them against the enemy!

God has one last question He wants me to ask you:

“Will you be Mine?”

♫ Now Playing: “Gorgeous Face” by Rick Pino ♫