The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hello,

I am a Messianic Christian teenager. I have been talking to this girl for over half a year now and have been in a relationship with her for the past few months. As I got to know her I was trying to figure out what her religion was, hoping she was of the same religion as me. Upon digging, she told me how she was a Christian. Happily, I moved the relationship further. As time went by, holding hands turned to kissing and kissing to foreplay; eventually I fell sexually. Not all the way to the point of intercourse though -- things like topless make-out, mutual masturbation (twice), and dry humping. I realize these things are bad and not pleasing to God as I want to save myself for marriage with the one He has planned for me. Any advice on how to stop these things? I repent but it seems as if we (I) keep going back to it (mostly dry humping). I want to be a man of God.

Secondly, as we continued to talk, she told me more about her religion as she was looking through my Bible she found. She mentioned that between where her parents had come from and had grown up and the state where they are living now religion is very different. They do not teach her anything religious-wise and stopped going to church when she was five. I told her that I believed that Jesus died on the cross for us and that he took our sin. I asked what she believed in, and she said she didn't know. This concerns me very much because I care for her and could not imagine her not making it to the Kingdom of God. I want to know that she is saved.

I want to witness to her and show her what Jesus can do in her life. I considered giving her a book I have about Jesus, but I do not want to scare her away.  I do not know how to approach both of these situations.  What should I do?

Thank you so much and God bless.


Answer

I hope you will hang in here with me because I need to start out clarifying why the things you had been doing are wrong. It isn't that I want to make you feel bad, but that I need to convince you to get out of sin.

Jesus said, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5). This verse has been misused so often by people who want to defend their sins, but Jesus is actually talking to people like you who want to help other people out of their sins. Jesus' point is that you cannot successfully help another person out of sin while you yourself are involved in sin. It won't work because the other person will only see you as a hypocrite -- someone who is putting on an act. They hear what you say, but they also know what you do and the two are very different.

A bit later Jesus warned about false teachers. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16-20). When someone sounds good but lives a wicked life, which is the real person? Jesus said that when words and actions conflict, pay attention to the actions because that is closer to who a person really is.

Like too many young people, you are focused on not committing fornication. By "fornication" you understand that you don't put your penis in a girl's vagina. But what is being ignored is that fornication isn't the only sexual sin mentioned in the Bible. You tell yourself you are all right, well perhaps a little bit wrong, but "Hey! I haven't had intercourse, so I can't be all that bad!"

The first problem is restraint, as you well know. Most young people discount too heavily the strength of their sexual instinct. This is why I constantly get notes from people saying, "I didn't mean for it to go this far," or "I don't know what happened," or "It was an accident." Such aren't lame excuses. They are the responses of someone who didn't have a healthy respect for the strength of his sexual instinct.

Solomon points out the problem when he asked, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). You can show a hot coal all the affection you want. You can cuddle it and dote on it and it will still burn you. Your kindness to it doesn't change its nature. How often do you hear someone say, "But I love her!" Solomon's point is that your feelings toward your girlfriend won't change the fact that both of you have built-in desires and capabilities for sex. Trigger them and they follow the instincts built into you.

Solomon also asked, "Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:28). Using the same example of a hot coal, if you walk on it, it will burn you. You can apologize and say you didn't mean to step on it, but you'll still be hurt because your intentions doesn't change what it is. Thus, the excuse, "But I didn't mean for it to go this far!" becomes an empty one because your intentions doesn't change your body's drive.

That is why Solomon concludes, "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:29). Though he is talking directly about adultery, the same point is true about fornication. When you start stirring up sexual feelings, you are never innocent when thing go further than you wanted. As you have noticed your behavior with your girlfriend is getting progressively worse. So far you've managed to keep your penis out of her, but the situation keeps pushing you closer and closer to actually doing it. If something doesn't change, eventually it is going to happen and only after you ejaculate are you going to realize what you just did.

That is why we are told not to make room for lust and lewdness. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Lust is those thoughts and desires you keep battling about taking things even further. Lewdness is engaging in sexual foreplay that gets the body ready for intercourse. The Christian must recognize the danger and not start a sequence of events that can't be legitimately completed.

For example, you've been sexually lusting after your girlfriend. Because of your behavior, I know you frequently think about what it would be like to actually put your penis into her. I would not be surprised that you've dreamed about it and at times wonder if there is a way you could get away with it. What is being forgotten is that lust is a sin. It isn't the same as actually committing fornication, but it is no less of a sin than fornication. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Desiring to sin to the point of justifying it in your mind is just as bad actually doing it.

Rules, then, are needed so that you don't go down a sinful path. No touching each other's private areas. No stroking skin to get you or her sexually aroused. No taking off clothing or putting your hands under clothing. No long passionate kisses that leave you out of your mind. You have to treat each other with respect and not as sexual objects. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1).

With that comes not talking dirty or showing nude or semi-nude pictures to each other. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:3-7). You don't stay pure by sexually arousing the other person.

One of the problems is that once sex enters into a relationship, it dominates it. I suspect you are already getting to the point that you two get together as often as you can to make out. You rarely just spend time together talking or doing things together (at least not things which involve sexual feelings).

Until you get yourself under control, you are not going to be in a position to teach her the gospel. Instead, you run the risk of being like the false teachers: "For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning" (II Peter 2:18-20). In other words, you can't lead your girlfriend to freedom from sin while sinning with her.

Thus, the very first step is for both of you to lay down rules for yourselves that both of you are not going to violate. You don't go with to her house or she to your house when no one else is there. You don't go into each others bedrooms or into areas where you two are alone or at least know that someone can walk in on you at any moment. Basically, make it difficult for you to sin while you work at keeping your thoughts and behavior under control.