Your potential is determined by your purity

“Your potential is determined by your purity. If your motives are pure, there is nothing God cannot do through you.” That’s a quote from a recent Mark Batterson blog post. It rang true for me and my motives for this website. The future possibilities, your dreams, your God-given vision are all determined by the ‘heart choices’ you make today.

Batterson quotes Joshua 3:5:

Purify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

What does that mean? Batterson continues,

Instead of focusing all of our energy on planning the future maybe we ought to focus on purifying ourselves. After all, that is how God prepares us. You want to be used by God? Purify yourself. You want the favor of God? Purify yourself. You want to experience peace and joy? Purify yourself. You want to see God do wonders? Purify yourself. Or maybe I should say: let God purify you. You can’t do it yourself. But Christ has done it for you on the cross.

This reaches to the bottom of why I think the EIP discussion is so important. We need to keep ourselves pure. This isn’t for ourselves, at least not physically. It IS for our soul, for our spirituality.

Our biggest problem is seen even in the first few posts I’ve written so far. We started off with foundational truths, things that are simply out of the question when it comes to dating and relationships, things that are, for the most part, obvious (i.e. homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, etc.) Unfortunately, this is usually the direction we head when it comes to relationships: What can I NOT do in this relationship? We’re essentially asking, How close can I come to sinning?

Instead, our hearts need to be heading in the opposite direction: What can I do to keep myself pure? What can I do today to prepare myself for my future mate, or to encourage a healthy relationship with your existing partner, so that you can remain pure together until marriage.

This direction will require us to make choices that aren’t popular with the culture we live in. Batterson ends his post with:

By the way, that probably means we’ll go through some painful things. Purifying always involves some fire. But God redeems our pain and uses it for His gain! And it’s the painful things that makes the wonderful things so wonderful.

And as we can see from Scripture, it’s what God calls us to–holy, set apart, purified!

It’s time to make some hard choices! What direction do you want to take your relationships? Toeing the line of sinning, but not crossing? Or running as far away from sin as you can? (Not choosing one is just as dangerous!)

Question: What decisions in your relationships have you made to run away from sin?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see any church weddings in the Bible? Some things to think about:

  • The Bible word sometimes translated ‘fornication’ does not mean ‘sex before marriage.’
  • In the Bible, weddings were purely secular.
  • Under Old Testament law, casual sex was impossible. For an unmarried man to have sex with an unmarried woman was to make an even more binding commitment than normal marriage.
  • In God’s eyes, a one night stand makes two people one.
  • There is a deep spiritual significance in a virgin bride shedding blood on her wedding night.
  • Christians are free to break many Church and Western traditions. (ref.)

Jesus said in Matt 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Are you getting it? Having sex is not just a pleasurable physical act, like eating a Krispy Kreme donut. Rather God made it to be INCREDIBLY SPIRITUAL as well! Two become one flesh! God wasn’t just trying to be poetic and romantic so as to make future church ceremonies sound good with this scripture. Your spirit joins together with your partner’s spirit, LITERALLY!

Therefore, a romantic relationship is also a spiritual relationship.

Why do you think it’s so painful to break up with your girl/boyfriend or why divorce is so life damaging or why rape victims will never be the same again? They’ve given a part of their spirit to another! Whether by choice or not.

When is sex before marriage permissible? According to scripture sex before marriage is not even possible. The very act creates a spiritual, marital bond between the two that is stronger than any public ceremony. (We’ll try to define “sex” in future posts.)

Why then do we treat sex so wrecklessly?

Question: Why do you think relationship break-ups, broken engagements, and divorce is so painful?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

The Answer to All Christian Dating Problems!!

Pastor Mark Driscoll, out of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, can easily offend people with his boldness and confrontational preaching style. But when it comes to relationships, whether it be dating or in marriage, I know no better source.

This is a clip from his 9 Misconceptions preaching series, this one being on dating. I think the Bubble Suit is the answer to all that we’re discussing. It’s definitely PERMISSIBLE!

Question: What methods have you used to stop yourself from giving into temptation when dating?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

Not Permissible: The promiscuous lifestyle

There’s a tongue-in-cheek saying one of my theology professors used to suggest to us: “Don’t have sex standing up–it may lead to dancing!” It’s a comical statement meant to shine light on a trend among many Christians: believers seem to be more accepting and forgiving of those involved in fornication (premarital sex) and adultery (extramarital sex) than of those who like to ‘shake their groove thang’ (whatever a ‘groove thang’ is).

No matter your view on the “righteousness (or lack thereof) of dancing”, Scripture is clear that any kind of sex other than with your husband/wife whom you’re married to is forbidden. There is NO place for it in the life of a follower of Christ. Just read these few examples:

Exodus 20:14–
You shall not commit adultery.

Mark 7:21, 23–
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries… All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10–
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 13:4–
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Scripture is clear that a sexually promiscuous lifestyle is detriment to a healthy spiritual life, and goes so far as to suggest one should check their heart because they may have fallen from the family of God (or were never in it, for you Calvinists out there).

It is my hope all of this goes without saying, and you all replied with a resounding DUH! as you read this. But having a sinful nature myself, I know no one is immune, no matter what influence your parents were to you.

There is no place for sex in a dating relationship! And it is the goal of this website and discussion to determine where the “line” is that should not be crossed.

Question: How far is too far when it comes to intimate relations with your boy/girlfriend? Where’s the line?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

Not Permissible: LGBT Lifestyle

Things that are Not Permissible… To start off, when talking about relationships between two people, we are implying a boy and a girl. That’s probably obvious to most, but let’s not assume. Perhaps an argument could be made that the same principles of dating could apply to Christians who happen to be LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered). Then of course it would be argued that calling someone both a Christian and a homosexual in the same sentence is sacriligious. But I have to say, I’ve heard it said those Christians are “so gay.” So touché!

All joking aside, scripture is clear that homosexuality is a perversion of the image God had intended for His Creation in creating man and woman, and such a lifestyle should be condemned.

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:24-27,

God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

This passage stands pretty clear on its own that a relationship outside a man and woman is degrading, shameful, unnatural, indecent, and perverted. (Let’s not lose focus, however. Scripture says the same thing about promiscuity between a man and woman as well. We’re all held accountable.)

My view on the LGBT lifestyle… whether or not one is born with a certain sexual flavour is irrelevant. Scripture is clear it should be forbidden. Therefore, if someone confessed to me they had homosexual tendencies, I would condemn that (as that’s God’s place, not mine). But I would show them what the Bible teaches, encourage them to refrain from practice, and get counseling.

Tony Campolo makes a sad but true observation to the effective of, all the Christians are moving towards lives without marrige (whether common law or through divorce). Meanwhile the homosexuals are begging to be allowed to marry.

Something is very backwards here.

Question: Can a person be both gay and a Christian at the same time? What about the many United/Anglican/Episcopalian priests?

(Join the conversation at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

Not Permissible: Let’s build a foundation

There are many things in Scripture which are by and large open for interpretation. EIP is meant to make those areas a little clearer. There are many other things that are clear from Scripture how we need to apply them in our own context.

As a foundation, I want to start the conversation of Everything is Permissible with what is not permissible–how ironic. Let’s put out there the things that the Bible is clear on being sinful and spiritually unhealthy and what is pure and “does the body good” … in no particular order. Then we can discuss the things scripture leaves more to our own interpretation.

Question: What passages in the Bible specifically condemn/uphold certain relationships, methods, etc?

(Join the conversation at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

Not following the rules

It’s interesting how the culture we grow up in impresses upon us unspoken rules that are expected of us. You should shake hands with a person you’re meeting. You should shower often enough so you don’t stink! You shouldn’t pass gas in front of women… often. When it comes to dating, there’s a lot of pressure to do certain things with the other person that just… assumed… because you’re in a relationship. Holding hands, kissing, maybe some tongue, spending lots of time together, making out while the rest of the family is out, and maybe even beyond. Whether from your friends or the person you’re dating, it’s assumed you’re involved in these things, and are looked at awkwardly if you don’t.

The title and direction of this blog comes from 1 Corinthians 6:12. I found it particularly relevant for the situation I found myself in when I was looking for a mate. I felt certain convictions I believed were from God to try and lead a pure life. It led me to act a certain way and treat women, particularly those I had an interest in, differently than perhaps my culture instructed. Being in Bible College, my friends, future leaders of the church, found my convictions to be over the top and unnecessary, often mocking me for them. It led me to begin wondering if I really didn’t need to have the convictions I thought to be so important. I prayed about it, and God gave me my answer.

Within a week of all of this, I met another person with the same convictions I had. Today I’m married to that girl, and couldn’t be happier.

“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. … The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. … Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. — 1 Cor. 6:12-13, 15-17

Reading this passage, with my life experience in mind, I can’t help but think… yes, I can’t say that many of the things that dating couples do are “sinful” (insert chapter and verse), but I can suggest that although things may be permissible, not all things are beneficial. Decide for yourself.

Question: What convictions do you have when it comes to relating to your girl/guy?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com.)

The purpose of this blog will be to ponder the topic of biblical relationships in dating and purity. Over the years, I’ve come to greatly appreciate the importance of staying pure and keeping ones boundaries while getting to know a person of the opposite sex. My ideas will likely be considered traditional in tune, but I’d like to think of them as counter-cultural. I don’t think they will be anything brand new. But I do think it’s an important topic to discuss and keep in the forefront as our culture of the day is extremely sexual. We need to see what the Bible has to say regarding our dating practices of today

Let’s see where we go with this.