Sexual Purity Is More Than Moral Behavior

white flowers on satinPaul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church made an unmistakable connection between sanctification and sexual purity. While sexual purity is only one aspect of sanctification, the Holy Spirit must have inspired Paul to draw this connection for a reason. Let’s look at the text, and then spend a little time talking about it.

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. ~~1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (ESV)

Notice, to begin with, verse 3. The will of God, Paul says, is Continue reading

What I Don’t Mean, But What I Certainly Mean

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A few days ago, I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Equipping Eve, Erin Benziger’s podcast for women. For quite a while, being on bedrest for my fractures minimized my access to my computer, and when I was able to use it, John was in the same room. Erin quite rightly requests that men not listen to her podcast because she teaches on it, so I won’t have it playing when John’s in the room.

I listened to the episode entitled Biblical Womanhood, knowing Erin’s aversion to typical women’s ministry. I wasn’t exactly sure how she would broach the topic, but I knew it would be interesting.

I wasn’t expecting it to challenge my current series on discerning God’s will!

Erin’s main thesis in the episode was that people typically present Biblical womanhood in terms of attitudes and behaviors we must adopt. We clutch our Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 checklists, resolved to make ourselves into model Biblical women. In so doing, however, we subtly bring ourselves back under law, presuming that our careful adherence to the apparent rules will make God love us.

As I listened to Erin, I wondered if my readers misunderstand my current series as saying that discernment Continue reading

Following Scripture Into Marriage

MistyWeddingJoyIn a few short weeks I would be traveling to Boston for my third visit with John. It would be a pivotal time in our relationship; either we’d become engaged or we’d part ways. As the day of the trip drew closer, I frantically sought to discern God’s will about the matter.

My pastor, ever the Charismatic, simply remarked, “It’s hardest to discern God’s voice about marriage because so many emotions are involved.” Sadly, he didn’t mean rightly interpreting Scripture; he meant receiving direct revelation from God.

Actually, single ladies, I beg you not to seek signs, words from God, visions or dreams when deciding whether or not to accept any marriage proposal you might receive. I agree with that pastor that Continue reading

Marriage Isn’t The First Priority

Intricate Boarder 03When most evangelicals think of discerning God’s will, by default they usually think of understanding whom they should marry. And in some respects, they very well should have marriage in mind. Choosing a spouse holds powerful ramifications, particularly because most Christian marriages produce children. Those children, in turn, will produce children and grandchildren, affecting the planet for generations to come. So yeah, we must seek God’s will in selecting a spouse.

And I fully intend to write a blog post exclusively on that topic in the near future.

In order to address that specific topic, however,  I believe we must first get used to understanding God’s will in a much broader context. Knowing Continue reading

Discernment: Knowing God’s Will

Untitled-1Other bloggers and social media mavens are currently (and finally) pointing out the problems of “discernment ministries” being hyper-vigilant in calling out orthodox Christians with whom they disagree on secondary matters. As tempting as it is to throw my hat into that ring, however, I believe it’s more edifying to continue my series on how discernment applies in everyday Christian life.

I know — I’d attract more readers by blogging about the first topic.  Too bad! Sometimes writing about the things that reflect God’s priorities takes precedence over building my readership. On the other hand, if everyone else is sounding the alarm, I don’t need to add my voice, now do I?

You’ll remember that back in December I began writing about using discernment according to Biblical prescriptions. Certainly, discernment includes distinguishing truth from error and occasionally calling out false teachers (I want to be clear that I support such uses of discernment when appropriate), but I believe we should recognize that discernment Continue reading

Discernment Isn’t Always What We Expect

3d383-ladies2bstudy2b03Let’s be honest, ladies. There’s a certain satisfaction to picking apart false teachers like Beth Moore (why is she always the first one to come to mind?), Ann Voskamp, Lysa TerKeurst and Sarah Young. Okay, we do need to show less discerning believers why such teachers shouldn’t be followed, especially when so many women’s Bible Studies use their books. But when “discernment ministries” do little else than try to discredit anyone they disagree with, they’ve abandoned true discernment in favor of cheap gossip.

Early in December, I wrote a couple articles linking Biblical discernment with wisdom. Tired of simply finding creative ways of saying that discernment involves so much more than Continue reading

Saturday Sampler: December 9 — December 15

Snowmen Sampler

So often, Leslie A writes things in Growing 4 Life that make me want to jump out of my wheelchair, do a happy dance and shout “YES!” at the top of my lungs. To see a blog post that gives me such a giddy reaction, read Is There More Than One Way to Interpret Scripture?

Speaking of posts that resonate with me, go over to Possessing the Treasure and read The Believer’s Supreme Act of Spiritual Worship by Mike Ratliff. He accurately diagnosis major problems among evangelicals and prescribes the remedy.

Elizabeth Prata also has me ready to do a happy dance because of her essay, Another good reason to develop discernment, which appears in The End Time. It’s incredibly refreshing when a well-known discernment blogger writes an article like this! But my poor wheelchair is beginning to look awfully empty!

One of the reasons I love living near Boston is its rich literary history. Several years ago, John took me to Longfellow’s house in Cambridge to celebrate my birthday. So I appreciate Barry York’s A Lesson Learned in Longfellow’s Home in Gentle Reformation. I don’t know if Longfellow truly knew Christ,  but the poem still has tremendous power.

The lady who blogs at Biblical Beginnings writes Movie Review — Polycarp. After reading her review, I got my husband to pull this movie up on Amazon Prime. Except for the hokey lighting behind Polycarp’s  head during one of his prayers, it’s an excellent film. And as we see persecution approach Christians in the United States, this movie offers wonderful encouragement.

Having a range of personal struggles and sorrow over the death of my former prayer partner, I appreciate Jessica Jenkins’ When Christmas Doesn’t Feel Merry in Biblical Woman this week. If you’re hurting, please make time to read this piece.

Allen Nelson IV, writing for Things Above Us, shows us How Not to Be a Heretic this Christmas as we contemplate the Incarnation. Don’t miss this short but comprehensive look at five common errors in understanding Christ as 100% God and 100% Man.

Do you need 5 Reasons To Read The Bible When You Feel Absolutely Nothing? Then Stephen Altrogge’s blog post in The Blazing Center is perfect for you!

 

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