I read your article about being enslaved by sex, and I am a youth leader in the church. I have a girlfriend I have been with for two years, and we entered the church together. We had sex before, and then we stopped. And then we continued, and then we stopped for a while, a long while. After a while, I was so deep into sin that I was scared to tell anyone because my pastor started trusting me, and I would feel like I failed him.
After about a 10-month break from sex, we did it again. I know I’m feeding my desires. I’m hurting my walk with God because I lie to myself and to her, and now I’m very scared that I made her enjoy it, and I am to blame.
I feel like killing myself because I know I cause her to sin. She is beautiful, she sings and she loves God, and I am hindering her. Yet a feeling in my flesh rises up and makes me want more. I know Christ is the way to God. That is an immovable, constant truth, but I willingly want to sin, and I make provisions with the flesh.
My calling is to be a youth pastor, yet I feel I don’t fulfill my role because of my sin. Why is this so hard? God is real, and He works in ways that I can’t even imagine, but I sin and I sin. I’m telling you because it is easier to write to someone that I don’t really know.
I love her, and she is deeply in love with me. And I feel disgusted with her for what I did and what, even as I write this email, I want to do. I have taken myself away from God because I feel He keeps me away from her, and I just know He wants me to be with her but not in a sinful way because we do great things for Him when we are not doing that. She is attached, and I am, too, but not as much. And we have an image at church as “the couple that never fights or has problems.”
I’m scared that God will punish us for our sins, and I want to stop, but my flesh loves it!
What is wrong with me? I need help, and I feel like if I don’t stop, it will lead to a deep falling away even if I do know Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God. I feel like when placed in that area I am powerless to control myself. I chose to do these things, yet I do what I don’t want to.
I want her as my wife. I want her in white. But we are still young, and everything is going so slow that it’s harder to wait. I thank you for reading this, and you are the only one I have told this to. Whatever you say, I will be here waiting for your response.
God is not going to punish you for your sins. Jesus Christ took your punishment for your sins.
God will discipline you, but He will not punish you, and there is a difference. His discipline is designed to lead you to repentance and restoration to himself and is a sign that you are deeply and unconditionally and extravagantly loved. God cannot love you any more or any less than He does right now. Your behavior has nothing to do with His love. He disciplines out of love, and He loves you too much to let you run out in the street and play there in the middle of traffic.
It so happens that this week I am personally witnessing and helping to navigate the natural consequences (and God’s discipline) of sexual sin in two different young, unmarried couples’ lives. All are barely in their 20s. All are Christians. All know well the biblical admonitions of purity. All used contraception. Whatever plans they had for themselves at this stage in life will be dramatically altered. All will have babies in their hands before the end of the year.
One of those young ladies was, like you, in a leadership role at a ministry. Was. As youth ministries speak into the world of our completely love-starved, sex-saturated culture in which we now live, this is the one point where we must speak crystal clear, prophetically even: God has a different and better and higher way.
Sexuality is one of the primary places where this generation is getting hammered mercilessly. The message being broadly embraced — and applauded — is that the act of sex means little more than what two dogs do. Get satisfied, (sometimes) justify it by claiming there is some sort of commitment there, then eventually move on.
If in our ministry leadership roles we are muddled on this message, if we do not have an absolutely clear voice on this issue, we are failing this generation in one of its most critical areas of need. That’s why I say the voice of purity in our current day is a prophetic one.
Do you really want God to use you in ministry? Really? Are you willing to humble yourself before God, your girlfriend, and your church leadership?
I’ll be honest, most young Christian men in your situation are too selfish and cowardly to make the changes necessary to move forward. They keep talking about change, but never actually do anything about it — until something happens that forces it. They talk big of wanting to be used by God but continue to waddle around in sexual sin and pornography, sapped of all their strength, powerless in the kingdom of God.
Why won’t they get violent with their sin? Why won’t they rip the computer out of the wall? Why won’t they burn the magazines? Why won’t they break off the relationships? Why won’t they repent in dust and ashes? Why won’t they change?
Well, because it makes them feel so good.
Warriors on the sidelines, watching the adventure go by, while they eat their stew.
If you really want what you’re asking, here’s what you do. Starting with the moment you read this, you remove yourself from seeing this girl. If you don’t see her, you can’t have sex with her. You confess your sin to God, ask His forgiveness and receive it. You immediately call your pastor and tell him everything and tell him you want to make drastic changes in your life and want him to disciple you and hold you accountable. You tell your girlfriend what you’re doing, and ask her forgiveness. You remove yourself from any leadership role in ministry.
When your pastor thinks it’s OK, if you want to pursue this girl as your wife, then do so biblically under close supervision. Tell your pastor you will not pursue her until he gives you the OK. Meanwhile, I would urge her to be undergoing the same kind of thing with an older, respected female believer.
God is so gracious and kind to us. We walk off the road, and He keeps gently showing us the path back to exceeding joy in Him. We are weak, and He gives us the grace and power to choose His way. He is God, yet He understands our temptations. We fail, and He is relentlessly committed to our victory. And He is bringing that victory right to your doorstep. The only question that remains is, will you have the courage to receive it?
Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.