If you’ve been around here for very long, you will know a bit about my testimony.
Who I am. What I stand for. What I believe. You also know that my past isn’t free of dirt and grime and ugliness. Truth be told, for a long, long time I hung my head in shame over some of the decision in my past and the choices that I made. I thought that for whatever reason, my mistakes made me less. And that just isn’t true.
Like I mentioned in the last post about the skeletons in my closet, there are some things-regret them or not-that we just can not change. My past is one of them. Unfortunately (maybe?) a big part of my past mistakes involved my purity. I went to all of the conferences. I went to the youth retreats. I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye about 10 or 12 times. I also read, with wholehearted expectation When God Writes Your Love Story and Authentic Beauty before I was 17. I had hopes and, If I’m being really honest, false expectations.
When every youth event that you attend involved two or three of the most popular girls snagging a new boyfriend in the process of trying to get holy with the Lord of Lords…it starts to do a number on you. I didn’t date a lot in high school, or in college for that matter. I spent most of my time wondering what on Earth was wrong with me. Wondering if there was a reason that I seemed to be the only one who never dated or never had a boyfriend or what have you.
Enter freshman year of college.
I joined a sorority (the top ranked one might I add…though I’m pretty sure they wanted me mostly because I had a killer high school resume and transcript) and for once in my life I felt like one of the cool kids. Then classes started and I started to realize that I was in the exact same boat that I was in in High School. Still not quite as cool or as popular or as whatever as the other girls. I also was still not getting what I thought was a “good” kind of attention.
These were some of the darkest and most depressing years of my life. Rather than clinging to God and searching for HIM to find my purpose, my place and my worth, I turned to all sorts of wrong places. Places that cost me my virginity at a young age; places that left me with the wrong sort of friends searching for absolution and worth in the bars and the bottle. Hoping…aching…searching for someone to love me. Only the love that I wanted, I was not even ready to experience.
If I were your enemy, I’d tempt you toward certain sins, making you believe they are basically (even biologically) unavoidable. I’d study your tendencies and proclivities till I learned the precise conditions that make you the most likely to indulge them. And then I’d strike right there. Again and again. Wear you down. Because if I can’t separate you from God forever, I can at least set you at odds with Him for the time being (119).
I would love to say that the enemy doesn’t know what makes you tick. But then I’d be lying. Because he so, so does. During a particularly rough season of my life, someone posted an image on Facebook that still stands out to me…
The devil doesn’t come at you with a pitchfork and a red cape. He comes at you disguised as everything you have ever wanted.
And that is a scary, scary thought. The deeper into my walk I get, the more I become aware of just how many of things and situations and circumstances that I have gotten myself into, were totally and completely orchestrated by the enemy himself. Even when I like to think that that would never/could never/will never happen to me…I tend to find myself in a situation where I am doing that very thing I said I wouldn’t do.
The enemy knows these things friends. While he may not actually do the thing…he most definitely sets you up to do the thing.
He knows that most of us…all of us at some point…are weak. When we are weak we are vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, we are susceptible. When we are susceptible, we sin. Then, for just that small sliver of time in our lives, he wins.
Our sin isn’t without consequences.
Our sin creates grief and hardship and pain…whether emotionally, mentally or physically. More than anything else, sin creates spiritual turmoil. When we choose to sin-choose ourselves, our selfish desires over what we KNOW is right-the ripple effect of that mistake can break us. There is no such thing as a small, unnoticed sin. It may be months or years, but somehow or another, that sin is going to come back to you.
Impure living, impure thinking, impure relationships, impure affections—upside-down living—creates the perfect environment and breeding ground for demonic activity. It invites him in and then fosters the perfect place for his turmoil and trouble to thrive (125).
There is something to be said about purity. About the impact that it has on your mind and on your heart as you grow up. Use the current state of the society we live in as a prime example. A society that places all emphasis on sex and power and money and success. One in which there is legitimate debate and concern over whether we should actually make Barbie life like or continue to make her small and pathetically thin to give the girls something to “aim” for. We live in a society in which the pornography industry has leapt to whole new levels with things like 50 Shades of Grey and sites like Ashley Madison.
My fear is what the world might be like when my boys are older. What my someday daughter-in-laws might endure. What my own daughter (should God bring us a baby girl) be subject to deal with. While the world says that “purity” is a thing of the past, God says it isn’t. He says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things (src).” Not think about filth and sex and money and success. Focus on what matters most.