I Don’t Know What To Call This, I Just Knew That It Needed Writing

“I had said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.” (Psalm 31:22)

Depression, as I may imagine of other mental health illnesses, is no easy ride as a Christian. Those meaning well give you bible verses that in the dark and heaviness sound an almost foreign language to your ears. People tell you “the answer lies within” and you want to give them more than a good smack for their lack of empathy. By now, most people are more than I aware that I made the decision to take time out of university, in the midst of my FINAL finals because I had severe depression and anxiety. I know well by now, that I am certainly not the first student to go through the myriad of emotions that were exacerbated in an intensely competitive, perfectionist culture like university. But even with loved ones checking in on me, that has got to be the loneliest time of my life. Bar none.

A time so isolating that it made an individual so wary of talking to a God, call on Him for help. Why wary? Because to be honest I really didn’t think He’d like me. I was more than rough around the edges. And I didn’t meet the standard that I had for God for me. Not even close. But that’s not really how He works. Nevertheless, the girl who’d sung anglican choral music she didn’t know the meaning of and dressed up as angels in the local church nativity, but never got Mary, just saying…affirmative action my backside. Well…I was drawn to ask for help. And a lot of people dislike this notion of religion or a God as a crutch. They think that it’s weak. Or just a cover up because you can’t deal with a world where bad stuff happens with no explanation, no fairness and bias and injustice. But in those moments criticisms of the causation argument do not cross your radar. So I did. I called out. And I felt relief like I have, and will probably never again experience. I felt a fatherly love, when I neither had the language for it nor a comparative role.

But I don’t write now forlorn, or even as that as the emphasis. I was having a good scroll down Psalm 31, and just shook by a verse I remember reading in the midst of that darkness and that impenetrable weight. And I couldn’t help but think about what and how far I have come in just a few years. Literally two. TWO.

As a person of faith, you can’t help but feel you’ve got the ear of the Creator of the Universe. Which you do. Which leads one to then ask for the normal things, health for loved ones, peace for the troubled, increased self-esteem for loved ones, an experience all too personal. And you know…complete and immediate mental health. Standard. And when you’re praying those prayers, and you’re waking up and even getting out of bed is too large an ask – you get quite irked, to say the least. And I just remember coming across this verse after deciding to read the entirety of the books of psalms, as you do.

And if I were the tattooing type I would plaster this across my forehead, that I might see it everyday, forevermore. Because in that university room, aghast and broken and lost I called up for help to a God I neither liked nor was convinced of His existence. That is no small action. In desperation, I screamed for help in what could of been a vacuous silence. I asked for help from feeling like I couldn’t get better anymore, that I couldn’t control my emotions or even explain them to myself. And He heard me.

And I’m really sorry if you’ve had the misfortune to talk to me for anything more than ten minutes, because I am very much love-sick. And hope and pray I will always be so. Because alone, and faced with my inability to continue, to even ask a real person for help, on medication that was not working, feeling like no one could understand or break through what I was experiencing, the most beautiful unadulterated love that I will ever know saturated that room. So very thickly.

I can not, nor would I be as insensitive to provide answers to the many people of faith who battle mental illness as do secular people. But I would bind that lie that He does not hear you; my goodness He doesn’t ever seem to work to the schedule you try coerce Him too. “God if you don’t do Y, I’M not going to do X” We’ve all done it. But you are not alone. You are not ignored. Or unheard. He is always there. Even when you think your closest friend or relative doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in your head, your heart, your workplace. He is steadfast. And more often than not will act through those well-meaning but often clumsy individuals who so desperately want to re-enact your Father’s love.

I don’t provide an exegesis for why God allows us to go through such pain. Nor do I attempt to play down the pain and the frustration of mental illness, something I’ve written on and very frankly discussed with those who ask. But that’s not what I felt led to write on. The full stop of this piece is Him. As with everything. To emphasise that those “WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME ?!” prayers do not fall on deaf ears. That should you never tell Him of your pain, He somehow wouldn’t see it. There is no place, no state of mind, no hurt, no anxiety, no want, that He does not see. And I pray that that peace that transcends all human understanding, don’t even waste your time trying to comprehend it, I pray that that would wash over you. And He would you show His plans to piece you back together again, when you are more than just a little bit forlorn, angry, disappointed, or dejected.

God bless xx

Settling ?!

So I’ve not written on this site for a while because I’ve been horrifically busy and I’m not one to do things half-heartedly. As someone who pastors young girls, and provides an example, willingly or otherwise, to women of different … Continue reading

God is good all the time, and…..1Cor 1:4-9

“I  give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–  so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

(1Cor 1:4-9 ESV)

 

God has given me a very good physical analogy and reminder that this life is one to be lived solely dependent on Him: my insomnia. I have absolutely no control over when I sleep, how brief or long it is, when the fatigue from numerous days’ absence of sleep will hit me. The flesh isn’t simply weak, it’s an exceedingly fallible pain in my backside. But I don’t rely on myself. I will never have to come to the end of my tether, because there is no end – I’m sustained and nurtured by God the most faithful of Fathers. When I’m absolutely knackered I hold God to His promises of refuge and rest (Ps. 46:1), that should I wake up exhausted after an hour’s sleep He will give me the grace (1Cor 1:4) to accomplish what needs to be done in that day. I trust with absolute certainty that I will be able to sleep and wake up in safety (Ps. 3:5). I thank Him for the heartbreaking truth that I have so much more than so many people; for the works that He is doing in my life that I’m completely unaware of (Phil. 1:6); that He continues to reveal Himself to me through His Word, through His Spirit, through brilliant family and friends and so much more. I could have chosen the verses from 2Corinthians 12 of Paul lamenting his weaknesses, but I don’t want that to be a focal point. Yes, there are things that we will struggle with in this life, because it isn’t until that next that God “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev 21:4 KJV), but there is such a desperate need for us to live BY the truth that we are upheld in His righteous right hand.

“For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

 

“You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

(Ps. 63; Is. 41).

 

We have so much to give thanks for, so much to feel awestruck at having received, that we are compelled to live a life of thanksgiving, lest we ever become complacent. Also God says so, LOL, 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. This is such a powerful verse. Paul encourages the Church to give thanks because of the God-given grace we’ve been called to, the grace that sustains us, that pardons us, that refreshes us. So often we walk with our heads lowered instead of held high, as they ought to be, when we are “enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge” (1Cor 1:5) not “lacking in any spiritual gift” (1 Cor 1:7). Through Christ we are such powerhouses, but so easily fall victim to dwelling on our flaws, reading our impatience to change circumstances as God’s apathy or neglect toward us; not looking to Him with thanks and such a confidence at all the potential we hold. We’re all guilty of it. The chapter goes onto say that Christ will sustain us to the end, black and white fact, (1Cor 1:9), it isn’t for us to complain nor dispair, but to hold fast unto God our Redeemer, our Deliverer and our Sustainer. Paul consciously and consistently presents the gifts of God as given by Christ the Son of Man, not simply God. Just as the Gospels say that it is through Christ that one will come to know the Father. There is a great deal of theological debate as to why this is, but in terms of how we proceed with this in action, it can seem a struggle to seek out a man that we can’t quite imagine. Naturally, we possess such a deeper empathy when we think of the physical, emotional and spiritual pain Christ, who was just as human as us, went through that we would be reap such abundance as referenced in this verse. Never let yourself be nullified to that.

Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit, Psalm 31:3

“For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me”

(Ps. 31:3 ESV)

Our minds cannot begin to fathom the mystery and magnificence of our Creator, of the Architect who lends His ear to our fears, our cries, our heart’s desires. Our hearts have not the capacity to comprehend how great His mercies are toward us and how abundant His love is for us. I always tell people that all God has to offer is ours for the taking. All we have to do is receive. But there is such an ease to forget this, to feel unworthy through sin or neglect of our time with God. Whilst our relationship with God obviously grows as any would with time shared, it isn’t about clocking in the hours. God loves us no less when we aren’t speaking as much, He doesn’t turn His voice off when things of the world distract us. To believe God would stop talking to you is at the very least a threefold lie: firstly, the spiritual separation of Christ on the Cross came about that man and God would never be separated again, no more God shutting His ear off to people when they go wayward, secondly it goes against every verse of the New Testament imploring us to ask and receive, to seek His voice and be gifted with His presence, thirdly, the implication in such a sentiment is that God stops talking to us when we’re unworthy, I posit to you then, at what point are we ever worthy?

“I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.” (Ps. 31:7-8 ESV).

I always struggle with maintaining the balance of God as the Righteous Judge (Ps. 7:11-13) and God the Father, the Wonderful Counsellor (Is. 9:6) who determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name (Ps. 147:4) and the number of hairs on my head (Lu 12:7). I don’t want to turn God into a caricature of the sixties nor do I want to turn Him into some Science Fiction Debt-caller. In truth, He is neither of these things, it is but my mind’s attempt to place Him in the confines of my own limited capacity for comprehension. It is something I shall attempt to put an end to, and something I suggest you do the same. Read the Word, time we make for prayer and learning are the most peaceful, insightful, loving moments of our life in an exceedingly volatile and tumultous world. But He will love you just the same as and when you forget, you stray, you begin to focus more on yourself and less on Him. For He is the great I am. Unaffected by us, but loving us greater than we’ll ever know for it is His intention, not a reaction to our behaviour.

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Ps. 31:25 KJV)

God bless and keep you always x

Adults Need Time Out Too: Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

 

The book of Isaiah is one of the most significant, most oft-quoted books of the Bible, so at the very least you’ll kind of know this one if asked to find it in church. It’s before the Amos’, Hosea’s and Zephaniah’s of the Bible so you’re good. It’s significance largely lies in it just being awesome. It contains numerous prophecies about Christ, about the impending exile of Judah, about salvation in all of this mess, it features more poetry and linguistic devices than C.S. Lewis could dream of and is pretty hard-hitting. Hence why such a verse would be found in this Book. I love it for its truth and its challenging call to us, but also because it comes in a chapter on “The Compassion of the Lord”.

 

It is so important to not belittle God, to not try and put Him on our level or treat as a being that we can debate with. God is not your contemporary. How many of us have tried to talk our way out of being wrong with loved ones? You don’t do that with God, you choose to bend to His will and be obedient. You mess up, you come to Him with it and you start again, but you’re fooling no one when you try and justify things you know to be wrong or that you’re putting off dealing with. I love that these verses sound like you’re getting told off – because quite frankly we all need it.

 

This chapter is so full of fatherly love, it begins with such tenderness “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (55:1). Through Isaiah, God implores us to self-evaluate and become more sensitive to His truth and His righteousness. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food” (55:2). God doesn’t just rant at us for being more interested in the world or not seeking Him, He says listen to me carefully, seek what is good and delight yourselves in its rewards. Ever noticed that those feelings of joy and hope we get are so much greater moments of happiness or enjoyment. I could have the worst week, but I walk into church and it feels like my heart is about to implode from the joy of just being in God’s presence. In seeking to grow in a relationship with Him, we stand to gain so much more than we get from the world and He wills life, certainty and love over us (55:3). Think of all the stuff you’ve messed up on, let alone genuine atrocities that have coloured our history for the worse and yet God says to everyone “come to me; hear, that your soul may live” (55:3). 

 

Interestingly the people of Judah on the face of it were spiritually sound people. Similar to the Pharisees of the New Testament they knew their stuff, but their hearts were corrupt. They didn’t possess a genuine belief or live by God’s righteousness. This isn’t a case of gentiles coming to Christ, this is like the people in your church, in your connect group, seemingly Christian but not really walking in step with the Spirit. God wants salvation for all, he wants genuine, concrete relationships with us, where we’re seeking after His goodness and not just pulling the “prayer” card when we feel like it. He calls us to be spiritually whole in Him.

 

Just in case you’re not getting how much slack God cuts us, up comes verse 7: “let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God says “let those who have messed up abandon those ways, let those who think wrongful, selfish things leave those thoughts in the past, that God may show him compassion and abundant mercy, forever.” Pardon does not equate to God forgiving us for a bit, but is Him wiping those mistakes clean off the slate. We can’t take them back, but He strikes a line through them. When conviction has you completely bowled over remember that God says leave your mistakes in the past and let me show you mercy. The depth of God’s compassion and love for us just completely knocks me for six.

 

 

I leave you with one of the final verses of the chapter: “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace”. This the promise of our Lord and Saviour, live in it, revel in it, delight in it. God bless and keep you always x

So God loves me, but I don’t feel worthy of it, Jeremiah 32:40, 41.

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”
Jeremiah 32:40, 41 ESV

My sleeping is shambolic. That is the sole explanation for my absence. Who knew not sleeping for days at a time would affect your mood, concentration, energy and the like? Never one to dwell however, “Good Morning” and let’s hit the Word without further rambling.

Surprisingly, I don’t write for the simple purpose of encouraging people, that is the power of the Gospel. I find stuff, I try to break it down and I hope people get to better understand facets of the nature of God, or at the very least ponder on it. But this verse, like many gems in the Bible is the most hidden, praiseworthy gift. So often we’re told in abstract terms that we just have to receive the gifts of God. Jesus died, we were cleared, we can’t earn it. I do worry though that when you’ve been in the Church awhile you can be tempted to take these things for granted, of to become apathetic to hearing what is the most powerful truth we will ever know. In this verse, God isn’t saying “if they stay good I’ll let them into heaven”. He states that He will make an “everlasting covenant” with us, His chosen people. This eternal promise is one that means He will endeavor to act for our good.

He doesn’t just say I’ll watch up here from my ivory tower, no, the Living God considers you of such great worth that not only will He never abandon you, He will never stop meeting your needs and intervening for the better. Scripture repeatedly enforces this, Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Gen 28:5). The Bible gives us numerous promises that we can hold onto in times of turmoil, confident in the knowledge that we belong to a God, completely unchanging in nature, making promises to be eternally faithful to doing good to us.

The verse goes onto say that not only will God never turn away from doing good to His people, but He will place the tools of righteousness in the depths of our heart. The Beatitudes (Matt 5:1-12) begin with “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” this doesn’t equate to “I feel sad so God gave me a present.” When people come to Christ they tend to see the gravity of their own sin and flaws, and it is from this place that they come to a position of reverence for The Lord Almighty. When we realise how much we need Him, we respect and love Him so much deeper, just as when we think about Christ’s physical sacrifice for our sins. In a similar vein, God says “And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” We don’t have the keys to avoiding sin by ourselves, it’s simply impossible, but God says “I’ll fill their hearts with a deep respect for me so they’ll not even think of turning away from me (MSG). So often people worry about the power of sin, they feel trapped by doubt, by sexual immorality, by consuming anger, but God says to His people He “will rejoice in doing them good” and that He will endeavor to “plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul “. You are worth God’s entire focus, His incomprehensible capacity for love and it’s because it’s His choice, not your decisions – good or bad. I pray that you will truly “taste and see that The Lord is good” (Ps 34:8).

God bless and keep you always x

Start As You Mean To Go On, 2 Corinthians 5:14 – 21

 “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”

(2 Cor 5:14-21) 

 
A lot of us will be starting back at university/work this week, if we haven’t already. Some of us may have seen the New Year in in church, met with the Lord and already kind of tailed off. We began the year in a powerful way, but it’s so easy to get distracted in the world and lose sight and priority of growing in God’s Word and will for us. I would encourage you to practically think about how you can give God a more stable place in your day to day life, be it reading your bible for half an hour before you get in the shower or listening to a sermon on the way to work. The Word is the most satisfying thing we can receive from God (John 6:35), so start prodding, reading and asking questions if you feel like you could do so more regularly.
 
So I got baptised yesterday, it was awesome ! Did it in a typical Naomi-way, got in, started nattering with the people doing the dunking, and almost forgot why I was standing in a pool of REALLY HOT WATER. Post-baptism-prognosis: I feel a sense of peace and alignment with God that I’ve never felt in my life and I may not speak for the next few months, (I’m sure some of you won’t really complain about that). As awesome as baptism is, it is sacramental but not a requisite for you to receive the Holy Spirit. In other words, you can know God without being baptised, you should do it when you’re ready, but it doesn’t mean that until then you’re living without Him. You can be a host to God, without having gone through the public declaration – don’t get it twisted. When you accept Christ as your Saviour, you’re saying “I know He died for me, in place of me, as the perfect sacrifice or atonement for the sins of the world. Now I’m on His team. God no longer sees me through the just eyes that would recognise my sin, but through the perfection of Christ. I am quite literally made new in Him” (2Cor 5:17).
 
There is such an abundance of freedom in Christ! Can you remember doing something wrong as a child and feeling guilt for it? Thinking I’m going to have disappointed my parents? A lot of the time when people come to faith, they realise the scale of their wrongdoings against the perfection of God, but The Father says: through my Son I reconciled the world to myself, “not counting their trespasses against them” (2Cor 5:19). As we come to accept Christ and grow in our relationship with Him, God wants us to know that we are forgiven. Our debts have been paid in full. Our mistakes, our shame and our regrets are grievances no more to Him, He doesn’t see us as that wayward child, that obnoxious young adult, that selfish sibling but He sees us as one of the chosen to “become the righteousness of God” (2Cor 5:21).
 
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). 
 
Make the choice to lay your past hang ups at the feet of the Father. People always seem to wait for the New Year: “New Year, New Me”, but what’s going to happen when on January 24th somebody crosses you, or hurts you, are you going to wait the remaining eleven months? It is by God’s spirit, power and healing that we come to possess this great capacity to forgive people we’d never think we could forgive and love people we never knew we could love. So leave your baggage with Him, trust and rest in His power and strength, and remind yourself that through the Son you are a new creation. You walk clothed with Christ’s righteousness, justified and loved by Him and the Father, a victor over sin and death – you quickly realise you’re in a pretty solid position when you start to take stock of these things. Look for him in your everyday surroundings, spot Him in His creation, in the reflection of every face you come into passing with, in your own behaviour, and pray with consistency. You don’t have to wait for new years or big events, in you making such a decision that is all that needs to take place to get the ball rolling.
 
Wherever you are in your walk you will come into challenging situations, you may be faced with moral dilemmas, you may experience apathy, you might backslide but God is eternally faithful and steadfast. Do not obsessively fear mistakes, or more particularly their repercussions, because in doing so you underestimate the power of God and His capacity for mercy and love. But be bold and go to Him in humility, saying “I want more of you” and for those who revere Him “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2).
 
God bless and keep you always x

In The Eyes of a 3 Year Old

This was such a gift to stumble across x

Reluctantly Writing

Yesterday, in the midst of sacrificing my laptop for 5 hours just so my cousin’s 3 year old son could watch “Pokoyo” (just what the hell is a Pokoyo anyway???), I realized a few things he’s shown/taught me over the past 3 years…

I’ve learned that I absolutely HAVE TO say no to him sometimes. And he may not like it. And I don’t care. Because I know better.
I’ve learned that I would do ANYTHING to put a smile on his face.
I’ve learned that sometimes, when I ask him for something (which is usually his favorite toy at that moment), I either want to show him something he didn’t know it could do, teach him to use it the right way, or sometimes I just want to see that he’s as willing to share with me as I am, him.
When he makes a mess and I…

View original post 263 more words

Soooo…..sex…awks, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

Ooooh. Lusty-lust-lust. I am not a fan.

A lot of spiritual warfare can seem obvious as heck. Someone unable to let go of grudges. Some people experience sleep disorders as new Christians. We can recognise these things for what they are.

Now excuse the melodrama, but sexual sin does not play. There is a reason it is given a separate placing among other sins (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Think less God-will-dislike-you-more-than-other-sinners and more sinning-against-yourself-AND-your-Creator-whose-Holy-Spirit-lives-within-you. “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (ESV). It’s the final verse that strikes me. Yes, that guy DOES look fine as hell. Yes that does lead my thoughts down a very dodgy path. But did he give his life for mine before I’d even graced this earth? Errr, not to my knowledge. For me it will never be worth dishonouring that grace which Christ paid for with His life.

Will I slip? Yup. Someone slapped me with that truth over the past couple weeks. I thought I was impervious. But will I remain in it? Will I go further from Him into further sin or absence from prayer or the Word? Not on your nelly. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV). I know what I should strive towards and I know the unmerited state of grace I live in. And that’s that really.

Generally sin tends to be against others. You steal from someone, you’re taking from them. You lie to someone, you’re deceiving them. You insult someone, you’re hurting them etc. Does that uniqueness mean it’s unconquerable? – not if you believe in the Almighty Omnipotent God (so it’s cool). I genuinely think you’ve got to cover this one on practical and spiritual bases.

Do not compromise yourself.
What do I mean by this? Allow talking to your significant other as the midnight hours draw on. Don’t care if you think you have the strength of Samson, the odds are CLEARLY stacked against you. Turn your phone off at night. Many have fallen victim to situations that begun with “you should come over and watch a film”…at 1am…because that’s going to end well (!)

If you struggle with pornography addiction. Sidenote this always sounds so dramatic, but if you find yourself feeling like you can’t function without watching it, perhaps there’s a conversation you need to be having with yourself. Google chrome has brilliant website blocking options. Know what else helps? Taking your laptop out of your room past eleven lol. I’m laughing but I’m serious.

Why so serious? Because sexual sin is a gateway sin. It’s one of those ones that drip away like a tap until they’ve eroded your self control, your faith in The Lord’s sovereignty, and His limitless love for you. And that leaves you so vulnerable. When you think that the God who is always for you, always merciful, is against you/doesn’t want to know you, you may as well just stick a target on your forehead. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) says “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He wants to find weaknesses, blind spots, small chasms that allow him to do some real damage in your relationship. Satan is powerless in his active ability to do stuff. No random miracles for the enemy. The real threat exists in believing his lies about our relationship with God. As we fall deeper into sin and become less reliant on God, we become putty in his hands. Feel like this applies to you? Get some friends or family together and PRAY. These are the times where the word “rebuke” is not hyperbolic.

Whilst you’re feeling convicted about letting God down because you gave into a guy, because you masturbated etc. Call it what you want – we’re keeping it real today. Whilst you’re having a relatively normal (Christian) reaction to what you’ve done, he will quite easily creep in and start regaining some of that land. Allow emotions to transform you for the better. But when you’re ashamed to talk to others, when you’re beating yourself up for hours on end. Take a guess at who’s directing that. Furthermore you may find yourself asking God for help or for explanations in these situations. Meanwhile Satan’s in your head, made himself some tea and settled down in front of a soap. So you’re feeling estranged from God, unsure if the responses you’re hearing back are from the enemy or from The Lord. Do you see the direness from these small of situations?

It is enough that scripture says don’t do it. Scripture is authorative. It is the will and word of God. But God knows what He is doing. He knows the state of man. He knows where our flesh and thoughts can go and how vulnerable we could make ourselves in moments. Trust in the One who knows why He has destined such things for marriage. And that leads me onto my final pragmatic point.

Accountability partners.
Have a friend/friends you’re not embarrassed to talk to about stuff. Let them know where you exceed and where you struggle. Be that same supportive person for them. You’ll find encouragement, reprimand but also reality. One of the best things the enemy can do is aid you in swelling up the situation, well above its proportions. Chatting about it with your friend will remind you that not only are slips not the end of the world, but that your God is soo much bigger than your sin. Than the obstacle you see in front of yourself. People love to debate sexual sin’s validity. It is wholly in scripture so personally there is no debate. If it ain’t inside marriage, don’t do it – God says through numerous people. Don’t talk to me about context. Weak arguments. Further, it is these same people who aren’t recognising the damage of painful soul ties, of that veil that has fallen between them and hearing God’s voice with clarity. If this strikes something within you, my love, repent. Let it go. Take back the victory you were given with His blood.

“I (would have) fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 KJV). We’re not alone, not only do we have Christ in our corner, there are numerous other people struggling but striving to live more holy lives. Those endeavours will result in positive things occurring in your life today, not just once we’ve died.

We can hear some of these terms and warnings in church or amongst Christian forums, but not really take it too seriously until we slip up. Start taking it seriously and hopefully there won’t be so much in the realms of slipping up.

God bless and keep you always xx