***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, when bad words or thoughts come to mind, how do you “cast these down” and should you feel guilty after you dismiss them?
ANSWER: Satan puts all kind of impure thoughts in our minds. The key is to simple rebuke those thoughts by the name of Jesus, and don’t feel guilty, since it is a way the enemy attacks everyone.
The cost of sin! Jameis Winston is the quarterback for college football’s number one ranked Florida State Seminoles, that with a win tonight over Duke will play Ohio State (after the Buckeyes defeat Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game tonight in Indianapolis) in early January for the National Championship. Winston is also the leading candidate to win college football’s highest honor, the Heisman Trophy.
As much as I would love to make this Devotional today about sports, it is not. It is about sin. Last December, Winston had a sexual encounter with a young woman he met in a bar who claimed he raped her. Only God knows what happened that night and who is telling the truth, but on Thursday the Florida State Attorney concluded his investigation and stated there simply was not enough evidence to charge Winston with any crime and the case was closed.
The facts that have emerged are that there was a sexual encounter between Winston and the young woman. Winston claims it was consensual, and the woman claims it was rape. I am very aware that high-profile athletes are often targets of such allegations, just as I am aware that high-profile athletes often commit these types of offenses. The one thing that is indisputable is that if Jameis Winston had not engaged in sex with someone he was not married to last December, he would have not dealt with this allegation, that if he is innocent, will follow him throughout the balance of his college career and into the NFL.
THERE IS ALWAYS A COST FOR SIN!!!
Fornication is an Old Testament word that means engaging in sex by someone who is not married. If you are married and having sex with someone other than the person you are married to, it is adultery. However, if you are not married and having sexual relations, it is called fornication which is clearly defined as sin in the Bible. To see how God feels about this issue, you should get a Bible concordance and look up the word “fornication” and read the various scriptures in God’s Word that address this issue.
Also, let me say this in advance of the questions I know many are already getting ready to ask. Jesus said if you lust in your heart, you have committed the act of adultery. That may seem like a very high example to live up to. But that is what God expects of us. If you remember in past Devotionals, I have talked about sin and how it starts in the heart, then moves to the head, and is ultimately consummated in the act itself. Jesus was talking about killing sin where it is born, in the heart.
I get emails daily from people, young and old, asking how “far” they can go with a boyfriend or girlfriend. I often remind them how the Bible says we are to run from temptation. Listen, if you are trying to find “the line”, you have already crossed it. You are only playing mind-games with yourself. It is like the moth that flies near the light. Ultimately, the moth gets too close and is killed. You have to stop sin at its root, in the heart. Once you let it go from your heart to your head, it is already too late. Once you let it leave your head and actually start to act out the sin, you are done.
Let me explain why fornication is wrong in very real, practical terms. First, it is a perversion of God’s plan for sex between a man and woman. God’s plan was for one man, one woman, one lifetime. Sex is part of that relationship between a man and woman. When you have sex outside of that special union, you are opening up very special, intimate emotions that just don’t work outside of marriage. it is a very special part of the marriage experience, and by perverting that plan, you cheapen it and compromise it, and it is never as special as God intended it to be.
Of course, in addition to that side of the fornication issue, is the reality of sexually-transmitted disease. That is a very real byproduct or consequence of this sinful activity. Then you always have the possibility of the woman getting pregnant. Again, this opens the door to a plethora of consequences from abortion, to having a child out of wedlock, to two people who God never intended to be married getting married for all the wrong reasons which almost always ends badly for both people, to any number of other consequences that can dramatically change your life.
THERE ARE ALWAYS–ALWAYS–ALWAYS–CONSEQUENCES FOR SINFUL ACTIVITY.
At some level, you will have to deal with the consequences if you choose to be involved in fornication, just ask Jameis Winston!
This issue perfectly illustrates the choices we have. If we choose to do it our way, give in to our physical urges and engage in this sinful activity, not only do we pay a very high price for choosing to rebel against God’s plan, but the fact is, what we get for that choice is very little. I can personally attest that it is not in any way, shape, or form worth the price you have to pay. However, if we obey God, do it His way, this can be one of life’s great blessings.
Please understand, sex is NOT bad, it is a gift from God to be enjoyed in the context God created it to be experienced…MARRIAGE! You see my friend, God gave us each free will. We can choose to do it our way and deal with the consequences of our rebellion, or do it God’s way and know the blessings of obeying Him.
Often, the blessings we seek in this life are there for us if we will simply be faithful and obedient. We hold the key to many of our blessings by simply being obedient and doing it God’s way, instead of rebelling and trying to do it our way.
I love you and care about you very much. I know this is a difficult issue for many of you, and many are in the midst of struggling with it right now. God’s timing is always perfect, and it is NO ACCIDENT you are reading these words today. God is clearly speaking to you. Again, it is your choice. I can assure you that as long as you live in disobedience, in rebellion, and continue to sin in this area, you will continue to struggle, have to deal with the various consequences of this sinful activity, and it will keep you from the close, intimate daily relationship with Christ He wants to have with you.
For those in this battle with fornication today, this is for you: “You are in a battle. To win a battle, you must have a battle plan. Pray, sit down, and let God give you a plan you can faithfully work at each day. Then, you need someone you can be accountable to on a daily basis. You can’t win this fight alone; you need someone to stand with you and to hold you accountable.
Lastly, you need the strength you can only get from God. That comes from your daily relationship through prayer and the Word, from being in church, and from finding ways to serve the Lord. All of this working together will help you overcome this battle and see victory. I will stand with you and be praying. He is able!!!
I will be praying for you today. I know for many this is a major bondage in your life. With the strength God can provide, and making it a priority, you can overcome it and see victory. From my own life I can tell you this. If you listen to God, do it His way, it not only works, but it is incredible. Why settle for the scraps this world offers, when we can enjoy the feast our God has prepared for us???
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
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