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Celibacy: Two Things To Keep In Mind While Waiting

I recently started to share my journey with celibacy. Back in 2012 when I rededicated my life to Christ, I made the decision then that I wanted to remain celibate until marriage. Of course, my newfound sisters in Christ were happy for me because they were in the same boat. But when I told my longtime friends, they were confused. Instead of praising me, they questioned me. They asked, “Why are you doing that?” “How are you going to abstain?” “What if you never get married?” All questions I never thought of and never had to answer.  All questions that were difficult for me to answer at the time. So after that, I decided not to tell anyone about me being celibate. I remained quite. If it’s not out there, no one will know and I won’t have to explain myself. No harm done right? Wrong!

In 2013, I got in a relationship with Joe and if you’ve read my previous post, you know what happened. I fell. I never told him so he didn’t know. Then when I told him I wanted to be celibate again, he didn’t believe me because I kept falling. “Flee from temptation.” 1 Corinthians 6:18. Instead of fleeing I stood around thinking I could handle my feelings. I thought since I was now going to church and reading the bible, I was stronger than my flesh. The Bible says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” Galatians 5:17.

Sex and lust were two things I struggled with greatly and being in a relationship with a man that wasn’t a believer in God did not help. When I finally had enough courage to break things off with him and walk in my purpose, the decision to be celibate and remain celibate became a reality.

Celibacy

Now, I am not afraid to share my testimony with believers and nonbelievers. Believers are usually happy for me and understand I am doing this because I respect God with my body. Nonbeliever’s reactions vary. I still get the same confused looks, but surprisingly I receive admiration from non-believers as well. They call me a “strong woman” or “strong-willed.” I recently spoke to a girl who is an atheist. She was so amazed at my testimony of celibacy. She said I was awesome and told me she admired my stance of abstinence. Then I realized she considered my testimony not a resemblance of God or my Christian faith but a symbol of feminism. I explained to her that it was solely for my faith and knowing God’s purpose for me. My explanation didn’t sink in because in her mind it was a feminist act. This made me think: how many other people think of celibacy is a feminist movement rather than God’s word? Well, I found out a lot of people think this way. From TV shows to reality shows and social media. Celibacy is a resemblance of a strong woman rather than a kingdom movement.

This kind of thinking can be confusing and make people believe celibacy is an independent act and you can abstain on your own- meaning without God. This is absolutely false and you need God to get you through this season.

Here are two things I learned while remaining celibate:

1. Guard your heart! Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

 We must guard our hearts at all times. If you’re trying to abstain, you have to watch what you’re feeding your spirit. One example is music. Don’t listen to baby making music if you’re not making a baby. I love R&B music. So it was a hard to let it go. I went without it for months. Because at the beginning of my walk with Christ, I still struggled. Now I can listen to it here and there but I know if it takes me to that place I have to turn it off. Next example: TV shows and movies. I used to watch shows that portrayed adultery, lust and fornication. I thought it was just harmless entertainment. The plot was intense and engaging. I would justify the show or movie by telling myself that it’s ok to watch because everyone else is watching it. Well that planted bad seeds and soon I had to turn that off too.

This is not to say you can’t listen to music or watch TV. I’m just saying be aware of what you are watching and listening to. If the entertainment is not bearing fruit — then it’s not of God, which can hinder your walk in celibacy.

2.) Flee from Temptation! “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 

At the beginning of my walk, I thought I was Wonder Woman. I didn’t think I needed to flee from sexual sin. Before I would have remained silent about my faith until the guy came over. Then I would have tried to fight my flesh and my feelings, thinking that I could handle it on my own. The Bible also says:

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

 There are many opportunities for a way out. It can be just as simple as- staying away from the person that tempts you.

An example: Last month, a guy texted me from my Before Christ (BC) days. He said he wanted to come over and watch a movie. At first I thought – Sure. It’ll be cool to watch a movie and have some male attention. Then God convicted me and discernment kicked in! Immediately, I knew, he didn’t want me; he wanted my body. So to confirm this revelation, I asked the guy “What are your intentions?” He boldly and nonchalantly texted me exactly what he wanted to do. (Hint: It wasn’t just to chill and watch a movie.) My first reaction was to send him an angry text message telling him off. But I didn’t. I sat in my living room with my phone in my hand and I began to pray. I asked God for the words to put in my response. I responded something like this:

“I appreciate your honesty. I assumed that was your intention… I don’t do movie nights… I’m saved now so I don’t invite guys over to my house to chill. When I see you around we can catch up…”

 Once I let him know, he respected that.

I’ve come a long way. I had to learn these lessons over time. I hope my testimony and my celibacy journey will encourage you all. Walk in purpose, know God’s truth and continue to Strive for God’s Excellence.

By Patrice McKenzie
patrice@areyoushe.com

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Yada, Yada, Yada: Why God Wants You To Wait To Have Sex

I almost gave it all away because I didn’t want to have to wait anymore. Sick and tired of the waiting game, I contemplated compromising my purity. Tired of watching the world fornicate around me, I thought about what it would look like if I went into uncharted territory and explored the forbidden realm I had roped off for holy matrimony. I was nearing the age of 23 and still, no one wanted to be committed to me.  I thought living in Philadelphia would in fact increase my chances at a shot of love since there were so many men walking around. But instead, it was the opposite.

It seemed everyone got into a relationship by just hooking up and I was just standing on the sidelines, waiting to get into the game. Even if I did get the chance to get on the field, the quarterback never threw the ball to me because there was some other girl down on the field wide open.

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One day as I was walking down Broad Street on Temple’s campus, talking to my friend named Shannon, I told her everything. I told her how I felt and that I was sick and tired of waiting. I told her I loved God but this was just getting too hard. I told her how I was frustrated and tired of not knowing what all the hype was about. But the truth of the matter is, I was beginning to lose sight about what my purity was all about.

Then the LORD spoke through Shannon and her words made me change my mind about everything. She said, “Sydni, the right one is going to wait for you.”

Sometimes we lose sight of the promises God has spoken over our lives because we base our reality off of what the world looks like around us. Even though it seemed everyone around me was hooking up and having sex, Shannon’s words reminded me of why I took my vow in the first place — for my husband. I wasn’t waiting for a boo or just some dude who would just be my boyfriend. I was waiting for the man I knew would be called to be my husband.

Abstinence is more than just saving yourself for marriage. If anything, it’s more of a spiritual journey. When you take something out that the rest of the world is doing, God removes the scales from your eyes and you begin to see everything from a new point of view.

Instead of being caught up in one night stands or men who were simply just friends with benefits, I drew closer to God. He became more than just some big man in the sky and I learned He was so much more than just an all supreme deity. He was my Creator, my Savior, my Master and my Friend. Through Him, not only did I discover my gifts and calling but He also gave me my identity. He set me free from mental enslavement and carnal captivity. When I was stuck in a rut or down in the dumps, I would call on His name and He would answer.

Abstinence became less about waiting and more about drawing closer to God. I realized refraining from sex was all about my relationship with God. And if we think not having sex is just because God said it’s reserved for marriage — we’ve missed the whole point. It’s so we can know God.

In the Bible, the Hebrew word for “know” is yada. (You’ve probably heard it used before with the phrase “Yada, yada, yada”)

The word yada is used in Genesis 4:1:

“Adam yada’d Eve and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain”.

Some translations say “know” others say “lay”, but they all stem from the understanding of the word yada.

The Hebrew word “yada” has five distinct dimensions:

  1. To know God’s nature, personality, attributes and ways.
  2. To know God’s wisdom
  3. To know God by personal experience
  4. Having a face-to-face encounter with God
  5. Sexual intimacy

Before Adam had sex and made love to his wife, he got to know God. Way before Eve came into the picture, Adam was walking and talking with God, fulfilling part of his purpose to name all the animals on the earth.

“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 1:18 NKJV

Adam got the chance to not only know God, but know himself. And God has the same desire for you. Your singleness is not only a time of self-discovery, but a chance to encounter His presence. God has you right where you are so you can know Him and not be defined by anything or any man.

Ladies, God wants to yada you. He wants to know you fully and deeply and every part of you. He wants to meet you face to face.  But above all us, He wants to show you His deep love for you.

Whether you’re waiting or celibate, singleness is the best time for God to yada, yada, yada you.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com

Photo: gettyimages.com

Dating Like The World: 3 Lessons I Learned While Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

When I was in college, I had my first boyfriend. We did everything together. We ate together, walked to class together, went to the library together, watched movies together, went to church together, went grocery shopping together, cooked together and yes, we even slept together.

We played house and acted like we were married for about three years. It was a commitment without the covenant and God was not in the picture. We said we loved each other but we really lusted for each other and relied solely on our feelings. The truth is, we didn’t know how to love each other because we didn’t love Christ. During the last year of our relationship, it was obvious that our feelings for each other were dwindling, so we decided to breakup.

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Despite our decision to call it quits, I was torn. For three years my ex was all I knew. I remember crying for weeks because I felt so lost without him. I thought I didn’t know how to live. Instead of going to God to find out how to live through Christ, I turned to my friends. My friends were just as lost as I was. At the time, they were not saved and they didn’t know who God was. So for them, living meant going out, getting drunk, hooking up with guys and forgetting about all your worries. So I took their advice. I “lived” like the world.

Going from club to club, date to date with no care in the world. Deep down, I didn’t like the lifestyle, but in the midst of the drinks and dancing with friends, my flesh was having good time. My friends and the world said this is what I needed to do to be happy.

While living this way, I realized all the men I met when I was out just wanted to have sex. I would get so upset because I knew I was worth more. However, my actions in the club and at the bars did not align with my true worth. I use to expect respect when I didn’t even respect myself. I was so desperate for love I use to look for it in men, which made me even more desperate for a boyfriend.

When I got in a relationship with Joe, that’s when my living lifestyle began to feel more like death. Little did I know, God was working inside of me, transforming my mind and renewing my spirit.

I used to pray this simple prayer: “God, help me be more like You and less like myself.” I use to repeat this over and over again. I said this prayer because I knew I wanted to change. It was while I was in a relationship with Joe I started to hate the things of the world and wanted to walk fully in my faith. This included casual dating and having sex with men that aren’t called to be my husband. I broke ties with Joe and never looked back. I’m happy to say I am 1 year and 6 months celibate, single and in love with God!

Here are 3 lessons I learned when I tried to date my own way:

1. God created sex for marriage.

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18

When sex is involved in a relationship things can get complicated. Me and my ex were each others’ first. So to us, it meant something special. We thought we were in love and since we thought we were in love, we frequently talked about marriage. However, it only made our relationship worse and we relied on the temporary satisfaction of sex to fix our relationship problems. That doesn’t work. Sex creates soul ties, which make this bad habit even harder to break. By playing house and going to church on Sundays together, we tried to justify our sins. The Bible says, “flee from sexual immorality.” Soul ties are real and premarital sex is a sin that is twofold. You’re not only harming yourself but also the other person. Now I know my body is a treasure and should be treated that way.

2. Don’t take advice from the world.

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.” 1 John 2:15

Worldly advice will steer you wrong every time. It will never lead you to victory. I followed the advice of the world and ended up even emptier and unhappier. The “YOLO” mentality does not match the Christian faith because we believe we do live again eternally in Heaven. The things the world had to offer did not satisfy my soul or feed my spirit. They were lies and false promises. God’s word is the Truth.

3. God will give you a way out.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

God will always give you a way out of temptation. Being with Joe was a tempting. He lived the life I thought I needed to live in order to be happy. Our relationship was tempting because he was everything that I didn’t need but at the same time everything my flesh wanted. Every day I spent with Him I felt I was getting further away from God. God took me out of that tempting situation by giving me the strength to break-up with him, and to stick to that. By being in my Word and surrounding myself with accountability, I was able to end that relationship strong.

Remember ladies, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

If you desire to be married, you’re future husband is out there. You don’t have to go on a bunch of dates to find him. He will find you.

By Patrice L. McKenzie
patrice@areyoushe.com
Photo: Shutterstock

 

If I Make My Bed In Hell, Even You Are There.

“If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” Psalm 139:8 

I remember the day my bed in hell was over.

I was still drunk, but not quite yet sober.

I was on top of him, but a part of me couldn’t roll over.

With every kiss, the angels’ voices just roared louder.

“HE IS  NOT YOUR HUSBAND!”

Their words eclipsed the silence and in an instant, I could no longer go any further.

When I first saw Ron dancing next to me at a casino’s nightclub on the Atlantic City boardwalk, I didn’t think our serendipitous encounter was an attack from the enemy.

Ron and I met when I was a sophomore at Temple University. He used to live in the same dorm as me – The Edge off 15th and Cecil B. He was tall, bright and Haitian but never really seemed that into me. We never hung out or anything and when I’d see him on campus, he’d act as if he didn’t know me.

So when I saw Ron five years later standing next to me while I was turning up in AC, I took a bite from the enemy’s bait. When he asked me to dance, I didn’t resist. And before you know it, I bedwas on an elevator to the fourth floor of his hotel room, pushing my morals and waiting until I got married over. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” Hebrews 13:4 

I was 24 at the time and even though I had just joined youth ministry and attended church regularly, there was still some darkness lingering inside of me. I prayed, read my word and fasted but there was still a part of me hanging on the fence spiritually. I loved getting drunk and making out with dudes I met randomly.

But there was one thing standing in the way of me and my sin. Not even moments after I started making out with Ron in the hotel room, Jesus drew His finger in my sinking sand of fornication and decided this was the night He was going to call me out of darkness.

As I laid in the bed with Ron and the angels started shouting in my ears, right then and there I knew this life of getting drunk and randomly hooking up was over. Even though my flesh wanted it, my spirit told me it was time to get sober. Suddenly in the midst of my drunken stupor — I woke up. I realized it wasn’t cute to be hooking up with a guy when his friend was just a bed over. At that moment, I longed to be closer to the Father.

As I walked out of Ron’s hotel room in my freakum dress and no shoes — the words from a prophet in Philadelphia that spoke over my life just a few years earlier suddenly came back to me. Phillip prophesied while I was standing outside of my old apartment in Mt. Airy, “Your husband is right around the corner.”

Just months after my spiritual wake up call, I met the man called to be the one for me. I didn’t meet him at a bar, a club or a nightclub in a casino. I met him while I was serving at Macedonia Youth Ministries. My man didn’t ask me to be his boo or his baby — but said God told him I was called to be betrothed to him, forever as his lady.

There’s so many women walking with Christ, but are making their beds in hell with men never called to be their husbands. They’re laying in bed with men who want nothing more than a taste of their nectar but yet leave them begging for men. God wants so much more for His daughters. He doesn’t want us settling for Bozos but waiting for our Boaz.

No matter how far we strayed from God when it comes to sex, whether you’ve got close to crossing the line or have done it one too many times, God will even meet us there.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” Psalm 139: 7-8

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com
Photo By: deviantart.com

Murder Your Flesh

by Patrice McKenzie

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Romans 6:11-14So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”(NLT)

So I’m sure most of us have been in one or more of these situations- going out, getting drunk, making out with a random guy going home with him and saying- What happened last night!? Or maybe we know porn is wrong and we should not watch it but it’s too difficult to stop. Or maybe our boyfriend who we love so much wants to continue to have sex. Or maybe you want to stop drinking and/or smoking but all your friends are doing it so we do it too. Or maybe we struggle with stealing or living a life that may seem less favorable in “Christian eyes” What ever your going through I’m here to tell you- It’s ok!!!! It is your past and part of your testimony. One of the greatest things God has allotted us (his children) is Salvation. Repent for your sins and God will forgive you. When you truly decided to give yourself over to God and murder your flesh I promise you your life will be renewed.

Do not let sin control the way you live;” No more drinking to get drunk, no more sex before marriage, no more smoking. Your bodies are temples and you should treat them that way. This also includes dressing ultra sexy, dancing super scandalous or thinking the only thing that can make you whole is a man. Dressing like that, acting like that and giving it up on demand will only make you a wifey but never a Wife. And if you do become some man’s wife by dressing and acting in such a manner it is likely the relationship may lack validity and God will surely not be the center of your relationship. And Christian relationships are what we are striving for, right?!

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In this chapter Paul presents the good news to the believers in Rome.

Romans 3:21-25 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.” (NLT)

Again my sisters in Christ it’s totally ok to have a past. God cares about your future! Murder your flesh today and walk in Christ.  Be of the world but not in the world.

Stay prayed up!