Redefining Purity

“I believe you carry purity,” a fellow student said to me at church a couple years ago. I nodded my head and smiled politely. It wasn’t the first time I had heard that. People often said things like that when they prayed for me or encouraged me. I was hoping to hear something like remarkable intelligence or incredible boldness. Truthfully, I was kind of disappointed to keep hearing purity.

I didn’t mask my true feelings too well though, because the student saw my reaction and said, “Not the ‘Aw you’re innocent, good job,’ kind of purity. But the kind of purity that can change the world.

That caught my attention. If there’s a kind of purity that can change the world, I will take it.

As I dove deeper into this idea of purity, I began to realize it’s actually an invitation into freedom. We can sometimes get caught up in all the “no’s” of the bible and think that God is just another authority figure looking down on us and waiting for us to please Him. The truth is, God doesn’t say no to certain things to take away our liberty, He actually says no to protect it.


God invites you to partner with Him to keep yourself free.


God wants freedom for you, not bondage. He wants you to wake up in the morning and feel hope and expectation for what’s to come, not regret about the night before. He wants you to find the man or woman of your dreams and feel loved by them, fully loved, because you learned to receive love in its purest form. He wants you to live your life knowing that who you are is enough. He wants you to be in places of influence, walking out the deepest dreams and desires of your heart, without worrying about anything stopping you.

Sexual purity is a subject that can trigger shame for some people, but it’s not actually about what you did or didn’t do in your past. Your mistakes don’t disqualify you from carrying it. When you asked Jesus to come into your life and His blood washed you clean, you were called to become a carrier of freedom. Your past mistakes cannot be held against you or disqualify you anymore. Purity is evidence of God’s redemption story in your life. It’s deciding that nothing’s going to hold you  down, nothing’s going to hold you back, and nothing’s going to steal beauty, wonder, and goodness from your life. You’re free to live abundantly.

Purity may not get a lot of credit in our culture, but it is something worth fighting for. I see it in the faithfulness of a man who chooses to go home every day to his wife and kids and be a father and a husband. I see it in the courage of a young girl who asks her date to take her home after the dance, even though he’s dreamy, because one day she’s going to be someone’s wife and he’s going to be someone’s husband. I also see it in the young lady at the altar with tears in her eyes, asking a kind Father if He restores innocence that’s been lost, and finding that He does.

It may take every ounce of courage you have to live counter-culturally. It may take strength you never realized you possessed to say no to things the world places at your fingertips. If you do, you will definitely change your own life, and you might even change the world.

-Andrea Alley

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

 


Star Wars, Four Boys, and the Battle for Purity

Having four boys has taught me a lot about the world of Star Wars. When I wake up in the morning, I am often met with light sabers and Storm Troopers and Darth Vader… So when the latest movie came out, we were really excited to see it. I was possibly even more excited than my boys. I had my outfit planned out… because that’s what guys do, right? Wink.

When we finally got to see the movie, I remember sitting there watching the lead character. She’s this strong young woman who doesn’t know who she is yet. She’s hidden, waiting for her family to come back, surviving. I remember watching her as she began to fight her enemy, and as I watched her fight, I could see myself (obviously in her athletic build… wink) but more than just that…

When I watched this movie I was reminded that we’re all in a battle. We’re not just hanging out, waiting for weekends. No, we have been enlisted in a battle to fight for a generation than needs Jesus. The truth is, the day I chose to give Jesus everything is the day I chose what side I wanted to fight for, and the battle was on.

The battle was on for my mind, my heart, and my emotions. I was going to have to say yes every day of my life. It wasn’t about saying yes in just one moment, but it was about the thousand little yeses along the way that would make up one big yes in my life. When I said my yes, I had to give God, not just my spirit, but my body as well because there is a battle for purity.

Especially when we’ve been raised in the church, purity may sound like or look like someone we know. We may have certain ideas about what it’s supposed to look like, but purity in the biblical sense means being free from guilt and shame.

One of the greatest places for shame to hide in our lives is in our sexuality. There is a reason why 7 out of 10 men are viewing pornography on a regular basis, and 5 out of 10 women are. The church is not helping any of us because none of us feel that powerful in it. The truth is, greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Don’t believe the lie that says you’re always going to live this way, be this way, think this way, that this is just who you are, something’s wrong with you, your dad was this way, your mom was this way… No, you have a different DNA. You have the Spirit of God inside of you. He can begin to shift and change the reality of what the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy.


God wants to put His nature on display in our families and in our purity.


Purity says, “I’m enough and what I have is enough.” I may not have done everything right, but I am enough. There is a quote from a friend of mine, Lisa Bevere, that says, “Purity doesn’t mean being virginal, it means being virtuous.” There are some people that are virginal who are totally perverted. There are some people who love God, and they’ve had a crazy past, but they’re washed in the blood of Jesus, and they’re pure on the inside.

Many of us go to altar calls praying that God would take our sex drive away, but He’s not going to take something away that He gave us. We feel guilty and ashamed and pray “God, give me a sex drive on my honeymoon night. Maybe an hour before. But make me a nun before that, God, so I can serve you.” God says, “No, that’s not how it works.”

He wants to partner with us in the journey, in the story. He’s not afraid to be with you in the struggle, in the success, in the failure, in the confidence, in the insecurity… He’s not afraid, because He’s a good Father and He wants to be with you. What’s even better is that He knows all about it because He created it.

The heroine in the Star Wars movie was in a battle. All of a sudden things changed for her when she started to use the force. Once you realize what’s on the inside of you, you become equipped to live the life God’s called you to live. The bible says that those who know their God will be strong and do great exploits (Daniel 11:32). You are never going to be what anyone needs until you find out what God can really be in your life.

If you’re wondering what to do next, get with God, ask Him to help you. Surrender your mind, your spirit, and your body to God, and He will give you everything you need to be victorious over any enemy that comes against you. You’re not fighting alone, you have His Spirit inside you, and He never fails.


Creating Healthy Expectations

In this blogpost we’re going to talk about another aspect of dating: EXPECTATIONS.

Ladies in the house, you know we all have expectation. A cute brother walks in to church, and you do a metal check. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about, you see if there’s metal on the hand. Does he have a ring? Don’t lie, you know it’s true.

Part of defining the relationship, is figuring out and communicating our expectations. If you’re attracted to someone and they ask you out, or you ask someone else out, I think one of the things we could do to bring health to our relationships is to identify our expectations.

Song of Solomon 3:1-2 says:

 

All night long on my bed

I looked for the one my heart loves;

I looked for him but did not find him.

I will get up now and go about the city,

through its streets and squares;

I will search for the one my heart loves.

So I looked for him but did not find him.

 

Though this is in the voice of a woman who theologians believe is married, I believe there are practical things here we can learn from, male or female. Many of us are looking for “the one my heart loves.”

We search for them, but do not find them. Yes, there’s a play on words there, but I’m taking her words because many of us who desire to be in relationship are searching for that person. Eighty-five percent of single people want to be married or want to be in a monogamous relationship.

So let’s come clean. Let’s stop saying “this is just my friend” when they’re not, or engaging in friends with benefits. No, we need to define the relationship.

 

Here’s a message to the men (and women can learn from this too):

 

1. Own your actions.

Guys, if you are out with a girl alone on a second or third hangout, don’t get it twisted and think that she’s crazy if she suspects you’re interested in her. You might say, “Nah, we’re friends. We’re cool.” I’m telling you from the perspective of a female, don’t automatically assume she’s just there to kick it with you and your friends and watch the NBA finals. This might be the case, but there’s a good possibility it’s not…

Men, and women, own your actions. If you’re hanging out with someone, texting them, and going out just the two of you, don’t think that he or she is reading too much into things when they wonder if there’s something there. It’s time to open up your mouth and have a good conversation. This brings us to point two.

 

2. Use your words.

Don’t be lame. God gave you a mouth, use it. Take the initiative and cast vision for your relationships. If you’re interested in a woman, don’t make her guess, don’t play games. As her brother in Christ, you have the opportunity to lead in this relationship. If you’re not interested in her romantically, set that line real quick. You might feel stupid, and she might even say, “Oh, I actually wasn’t interested in you,” but you know what, it’s okay. If you’re not at all interested, you just want to squash that immediately so hearts don’t get broken. It might be painful, or cause a little bit of drama in the moment, but for the sake of your relationship with sister in Christ, use your words.

 


People’s feelings get hurt when we’re not very clear with our intentions.


 

Now for the ladies:

3. Don’t be weird. 

If someone asks you out for coffee, don’t sit there and start dreaming of being eighty-five years old with them, squeezing each other tight in the sinking Titanic while the interlude of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On is playing in the background. Our minds can go there quickly. All the sudden we’re married, we have 2.5 kids, a picket fence, and a dog named Spot. Yep, our minds can go there, so be careful. We need to give our brothers in Christ some latitude to get to know us. 

I am not throwing stones here. If you knew me and my level of crazy cat lady, you would understand why I feel passionate about this. When my husband first invited me out for coffee, I had to text three friends to get their insight on it. I was freaking out about it, thinking, “Oh my goodness I can’t believe this. What are we going to do?” And I sent him this long email saying, “I feel called to ministry, I feel called to free slaves, I don’t think this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and God parted the Red Sea, He can bring someone to me.” His reply via email was very simply, “No problem… it’s just coffee.

When he said that I realized that I, and a lot of my Christian friends, were hyper-spiritualizing a lot of things. So instead of focusing on the minor, insignificant, maybe even borderline stupid things, let’s start to focus on the more important things, which we’ll get to in another post.

So remember, to keep your intentions and feelings clear in your relationships: own your actions, use your words, and ladies, give guys a little room to get to know you, before deciding if you’re ready to put the white picket fence up. It may feel weird at first, but it will help you out and it will help out the people you’re in relationship with in the long run.

 

BIANCA JUAREZ OLTHOFF IS A WRITER, SPEAKER, AND IN LOVE WITH TWO MEN: JESUS AND HER HUSBAND, MATT. BIANCA SPENDS HER WEEK WORKING AS CHIEF STORYTELLER FOR THE A21 CAMPAIGN, AN ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION, AND AS THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROPEL WOMEN. SHE LOVES HAVING DANCE PARTIES IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH HER TWO STEP CHILDREN OR COOKING MEALS FOR FRIENDS. 
WEBSITE: BIANCAOLTHOFF.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFFSPEAKS 
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFF 

Am I Attracted?

In this blogpost, we’re going to talk about an issue I’m passionate about. We’re going to talk about…

DATING (eeeek!)

I know, it can be weird, it can be a touchy subject, and Christians have all kinds of ideas and beliefs about it from courting, to dating, to “dourting”, to kissing dating goodbye. You may have tried to google what the Bible says about dating and found yourself in a whirlwind of scriptures about harlots and prostitutes and verses like “it’s better to marry than to burn with lust…

This time around, we’re going to look at the book of Song of Solomon. This is a beautiful way to learn about dating because we’re learning by looking at this relationship between two other people in the Bible.

Now you might be married, single, widowed, divorced, but I think this is a topic we all can learn from. People in our community are in all different life stages, but we as the church are called to have a handle on what it looks like to live life well.

The first thing I want to cover under the topic of dating is ATTRACTION. So let’s dive into the first chapter of Song of Solomon. Verses 2-3 in this chapter say:

 

Let him kiss me  (Ooooh, watch out ) with the kisses of his mouth—

for your love is more delightful than wine (if you’re over 21- wink)

Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;

your name is like perfume poured out.

No wonder the young women love you!

 

Verse 2 is revolutionary. This is the Holy Bible, and we’re talking about kissing. We’re talking about passion. This is God’s Word, and His Word is infallible, inspired, and included for our benefit, and it’s talking about attraction.

Sometimes in church we can hyper-spiritualize things like, “I’m going to pray and fast and wear sackcloth and ashes to see if this is the person I should ask out for coffee… Listen, I think a great first step is to figure out if there’s attraction there. So if you’re asking someone out, or someone has asked you out, stop for a second and ask yourself, “Can I see myself attracted to this person?”

 

Now, let me just take a second to say, there’s a difference between attraction and lust.

Attraction is “Wow, that guy is handsome. That girl is pretty. I like her style. I love his heart for God.

Lust is more like, “OMG he is so fine, did you see him? Oh my gosh He has an eight pack like Usher.

 

When you start to cross over into lust, you gotta reel that back in. You may try to throw some 1 Peter 5:14 in there when you see a handsome man: “Greet one another with a kiss of love…” Uh uh. Nice try. That’s not what he was talking about. Attraction is one thing, lust is another.

Bringing it back a little bit, we need to be attracted to the person we’re eventually going to marry.

Guys, stop settling for the girl that carries a ten pound bible and your mom really likes her. Girls, stop settling for the guy who at least has a stable job because you’re afraid your biological clock is ticking. Don’t be rushed. Ask very fundamental, basic questions.


Am I attracted?


When Adam first saw Eve in the garden, he didn’t say, “Wow, I think she will be good for helping me till the garden and picking fruit.” No, he says, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’  for she was taken out of man.” There’s this lyrical poetry that happens when he sees her for the first time. There is something redeeming and beautiful that happens when you are attracted to someone.

So if you’re thinking about asking someone out, or someone has asked you out, start with the fundamental, basic question: Are you attracted?

Stay connected with us for the second part of this series Creating Healthy Expectations

 

BIANCA JUAREZ OLTHOFF IS A WRITER AND SPEAKER IN AND IN LOVE WITH TWO MEN: JESUS AND HER HUSBAND, MATT. BIANCA SPENDS HER WEEK WORKING AS CHIEF STORYTELLER FOR THE A21 CAMPAIGN, AN ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION, AND AS THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROPEL WOMEN. SHE LOVES HAVING DANCE PARTIES IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH HER TWO STEP CHILDREN OR COOKING MEALS FOR FRIENDS. 
WEBSITE: BIANCAOLTHOFF.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFFSPEAKS 
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFF 

For Her Eyes Only

THE PROBLEM

Our society seems to dictate that men pursue women and not the other way around. This can create a pretty powerless culture for the girls.

Furthermore, if the girl wants to be a virtuous woman, then she must refuse to use sensuality to seduce a man. This theoretically reduces her chances of “catching her guy.”

Yet, the truth is if a girl fishes with shark bait, then she will most likely catch a shark. I mean, if a girl is trolling the “man waters” with the 3 B’s (boobs, butt, and belly button), then she will likely catch a girl-watcher, not a virtuous dude.

It’s hard to keep a guy who was only attracted to your body because there’s always someone with bigger boobs and a better body.

 

THE SOLUTION

So what’s a girl to do?

1. Realize that most men don’t understand women, and you always fear what you don’t understand!

2. Pay attention to the way he treats his mama because however he treats her, he will treat you in the end.

3. Be beautiful, but not sexy. Contrary to popular opinion, dressing sexy says, “I’ve got nothing else going on.”

4. Take an interest in the things he is interested in. It will dispel a bunch of the fear in him if you can relate to something he loves.

5. Believe in him: his personhood, his destiny, and his ability.

This was the reason I grew in love with Kathy…she believed in me when no one else did. (If you don’t believe in him, you are wooing the wrong dude).

6. Don’t play “hard to get,” play your “I am worth sacrificing for” card!

7. Most girls like the “chase” because they were born to be pursued. But if you’re not interested in the dude, don’t lead him on. Other guys are watching, and a trail of male tears builds a rough road to your front door.

8. Hang out in a group before you date. Guys gain courage as they gain understanding.

9. If you do your “sister act” with him, he won’t think of you as a lover. Many guys have close friends who are great girls, but asking them out feels like they are dating their sister.

10. Be subtle, but let him know you are interested in getting to know him. A note works great.

But what if he doesn’t choose to pursue me? Then you will know pretty quickly, and you won’t waste your time with a dude who’s not interested!  

11. If you like someone, ask a friend who knows him to introduce you. This helps break the ice.

12. Don’t date a guy with a bad reputation. Reputations are built on repetition (repeated behavior). It may sound exciting to date a bad boy, but marrying one will ruin your life.  

13. Find some old, wise people to be accountable to in your romantic relationships. Love is blind, so listen to their input.

When my mom met Kathy for the first time, she told me, “Now that’s the marrying kind.” Kathy was 12 years old at the time. Five years later, I married that girl. That was 40 years ago!

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

9 Principles for Healthy Confrontation

When Jesus walked the earth, He had a few advantages over us. Minor things like He never sinned, for instance, so He never had to worry about hypocritically pointing out faults in others while neglecting His own. He was also God and knew the hearts of men; therefore, His assessments of people’s motives were always accurate. Undoubtedly, these advantages gave Him confidence and grace when it came to approaching a confrontation; He was neither shy nor overly harsh.

We, on the other hand, have to be told, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). According to this standard, confrontation must never involve yelling at someone, accusing him or her of evil, venting frustration or punishing the person for failing or hurting you. We must be especially careful about not judging the motives of people. In my experience, our so-called “gift of discernment” often turns out to be suspicion in disguise, especially when we are upset with someone.

Over the years, I have learned these nine principles for practicing the art of healthy confrontation:

 

1. WHEN A PROBLEM ARISES, GET AN APPOINTMENT TO TALK TO THE PERSON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Waiting too long allows the seed of bitterness to gestate. Don’t wait for anger to be your counselor. Remember, this is not about punishing the person for his or her inappropriate behavior. You are meeting with the person for his or her benefit. The goal is to help mold the person into the image of God and reconcile your relationship.

 

2. LET THE PERSON KNOW HOW HIS OR HER BEHAVIOR HAS AFFECTED YOU.

Describe in detail how the person’s actions are making you feel.

 

3. KEEP YOUR ARMOR OFF BY BEING TRANSPARENT ABOUT YOUR OWN STRUGGLES.

When a person is responding to you, listen from your heart to his (her) heart. Many people are not good at articulating their struggles, so you often have to listen beyond their words. As the person is speaking to you, don’t develop your defenses or turn the conversation into a war of words. Ask questions that unearth the root problem. What is really wrong? What kind of core problem would cause these symptoms?

 

4. ALWAYS GIVE THE PERSON THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, NO MATTER HOW HE OR SHE HAS BEHAVED.

Remind yourself that the person you are having a problem with was made in the image of God and, therefore, most likely has a good heart, even though his or her behavior is negatively affecting the environment. Never think of the person as an enemy, but instead as a wayward son or daughter (father or mother). Show honor at all times. Let the person know you believe in him or her.


Remember, you only have as much influence in someone’s life as they have value for you.


 

5. ASK THE PERSON HOW YOU CAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

By this time, you may have found out that you are actually part of the problem. Maybe you are King David in this situation. Has your fear, weakness or dysfunction become a seedbed for the person’s strength to be overemphasized or his or her weakness to be exposed? Have you reacted to the way you were raised or to some negative circumstances in your own life?

 

6. IF OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION, IT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.

Don’t talk to other people about your offense with the person. Don’t build a case against the person by bringing up other people’s names in the conversation, saying things like, “I talked to John and Mary and they have the same problem with you.” This just makes you look like a coward and a gossip. If you do that, don’t be surprised if the person being confronted feels like he or she is a victim of a gang assault. You are not there to be someone’s attorney.

On this note, if someone comes to you to talk about a problem with someone else, tell him or her to go talk to the person, not to you. I have 550 employees who work for me at Bethel Church. Many of my team members used to come up to me and begin to tell me about a struggle they were having with another staff member. Before they got 20 seconds into their discourse, I would interrupt them and ask, “Have you talked to this person yet?”

Nine out of ten times they would say, “No!”

Then I would ask them, “What business do you have talking to me if you haven’t even talked to the person who offended you?”

It is important to remember that a person who talks to you about someone else will one day be talking to someone about you. Allowing people to complain about others creates a culture of gossip. I personally will not tolerate it at Bethel.

 

7. IF YOU REALIZE DURING THE CONVERSATION THAT YOU ARE THE PROBLEM OR A PART OF THE DILEMMA, BE QUICK TO REPENT.

Humility always leads to repentance. Don’t defend yourself; leave your weapons outside the door. If the other person is wrong, verbally forgive him or her. Forgiveness restores the standard, so the person needs to be treated as if he/she never sinned after he or she repents.

 

8. IF YOU COME TO AN IMPASSE, HAVE SOMEONE YOU BOTH EQUALLY RESPECT JOIN YOU IN ANOTHER MEETING TO HELP RESOLVE THE ISSUE.

Bringing someone into the meeting that is not respected by one of the parties will only feel like the other person’s attorney is present. But a wise person who is not emotionally attached to the conflict can bring insightful perspective that is hard to see when you are in the middle of it, and will usually help bring the necessary resolution. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a problem with someone only to find out in a meeting with him or her that I am the problem. Having a respected third party present helped me see the truth.

 

9. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DON’T WITHDRAW FROM THE PERSON AFTER A CONFLICT.

Make an extra effort to stay close to him or her during the healing process. This is often the difference between a long healthy relationship and a lifelong pattern of conflict.

A study was completed in the business world many years ago concerning this issue of conflict. The survey showed that when a customer had a problem with a business and the company satisfactorily solved the issue, that customer became many times more loyal to that store in the years that followed than they were before the conflict.

I believe that conflict and confrontation resolved inside the core values of the Kingdom actually strengthen our relationships. These struggles are the sign of real relationships where people feel safe to tell one another the truth in love. This creates covenant societies that bond around family values, instead of fatherless sibling rivalries where orphans vie for preeminence in the pecking order of the world’s chicken coop.

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

The Mystery of Marriage

Marriage means to merge – the two become one flesh. It’s a mystery that begins with a blood covenant. It’s the reason why God gave women a hymen, so the covenant could be ratified before the children were conceived.

Some people marry, but never merge. Independence, fear, mistrust, selfishness, and unforgiveness become impregnable walls of division – a forcefield of indiscretion.

A mergerless marriage leaves Adam (husband and wife) “alone,” longing and yearning for connection, feeling incomplete, abandoned and isolated.

When the mystery of matrimony is nullified, marriage is reduced to a mere partnership; agreements exchanged, duties assigned, and territory surveyed.


Yet the unyielding wonder of one love, one body, and one spirit longs for expression.


This passion for intimacy and need for connection woos us into the vortex of sacrifice where we finally experience life. The climax of marriage is experienced when we lay down our rights and take up our cross.

This is the Genesis dream, which lies in the heart of the Father: “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. The two shall become one flesh.”

When married couples lay down their lives for one another and merge in the mystery of supernatural assimilation, the contrast between marriage and cohabiting will speak for itself.

The gay marriage debate also evaporates in the shadow of the manifestation of the miracle in which a man and his wife flow seamlessly into one. This constitutes the cord of three strands that remains unbroken.

The two are three because the miracle of marriage is in the third cord of love, which is God Himself.

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
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The Redemption of Men

I remember when a man pummelled a woman’s head with the heaviest part of a telephone receiver in a phone box outside of Liverpool station. I remember getting out of my car down the street, screaming from a distance to save her life.

Whoever she was.

I remember him looking up, grasping from his violent breath, to see who had the audacity to interrupt him, leaving the half-conscious woman to now run after me. I remember the police being just around the corner. I remember how vivid and monstrous the sound of him beating her was – 16 years later.

Those are the trials that we define as traumatic in domestic violence, the ones people fight for years to overcome. For as much as physical abuse is the definition of evil in relationships, we seem to sideline the emotional torment, the slightly less burdensome journeys we never signed up for when he first asked us out on a date.

For the majority of us, hurt is very subtle, yet it’s startling how lasting that can be, it’s startling how bruised the heart can get with their emotional punches.

I remember being lied to. Regularly. By different boyfriends.

I’ve fought for a man who didn’t want to fight for me.

I’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, I’ve ducked away from being in a domestic violent one.

I’ve been on his mind and in his living room for a thousand hours and still he can’t decide whether he wants to date me.

I’ve been the confidante to the mistresses; I’ve been the confidante to the wives.

I’ve been the butt of their self-hating jokes.

I’ve been involuntarily part of a smear campaign so they can cover their own reputation in a mutual church community.

I’ve lost Facebook friends, I’ve been ignored in the streets, all based on the fact I decided something wasn’t right.

I’ve had to defend my right to exist with other women in his life.

It was the luxury apartment or me. And he took the apartment.

I’ve been controlled.

I’ve not been talked to for ten minutes in a car ride because he didn’t like my shoes. And I liked my shoes.

I’ve been advised to do my homework and by homework – he meant more squats.

I’ve been advised to eat more. I’ve been advised to eat less.

I’ve been told it’s between me or another girl he’s interested in – he ended up dating both.

I’ve been promised babies and weddings, with it never following through.

I’ve been flirted with to discover I was just the stop-gap girl to appeal to his own emotional needs.

I’ve been uncovered to a whole ray of people who knew my name, but I couldn’t have placed theirs.

I’ve been ditched because I wouldn’t put out. I’ve been ditched because I did put out.

I’ve been the apple of their eye in one week and a stranger to them the next.

I’ve had the biggest smile on my face when I finally found out their fickle fabrications. Yet my smile swiftly vanished when I learnt how long the lies had gone on for.

But this isn’t an invite to some pity party. This isn’t a recall on some of the poorer relationships I’ve endured.

 


This is a reality check to all those women that say that there aren’t any good men out there.


 

‘How could she start this piece of writing with her horror stories of male encounters and expect us to have hope?’ I hear you cry.

I declared it myself that there were no healthy men.

I have said that line more in my Christian days than in my atheist ones. It seemed I found more brokenness in men, who longed for God yet forgot about goodness, the problem was, I was functioning from a hopeless ache that looked for physical evidence; back-up stories that proved that men weren’t kind. After so much hurt, a back catalogue of dating misdemeanors – how could we have hope?

It’s a line that is spoken not from a bitter edge or a negative personality, but from a heart that has been hurt so much, their lens is now faded to a duller tint and it protects, it keeps out, it stops us from messing around our own hearts and disempowers the ability to be vulnerable. We think this jagged edge of pessimism will be realistic, however vulnerability is your greatest protector and hopelessness is your sharpest opponent to love.

Despite the subtle pains I’ve faced, masked in the phrase of ‘long-suffering’ there are men out there that turn all these stories into redemption, that make the rainbows finally shine through the treacherous thunder.

They are there. Once you clean your own lens.

Sometimes with purpose in your pocket, some self-love and friends that adore you, you wipe the bi-focals yourself. Other times it takes an encounter with a great man.

Here’s where the redemption arrived at my door.

I had men who complimented every detail of my dress. Choosing the very shoes the previous one hated.

I’ve been the reciprocity of his affirmation.

I’ve faced his honesty with an apologetic smile and a change of behavior.

I’ve never had to raise my voice, because he already heard me.

I trusted his next moves.

I’ve not needed half the amount of basic boundaries because the dude finally showed up with his own.

I found men who said sorry in the moment – not a year later.

I’ve had a man sacrifice money, travel, and dreams for the day, just to meet me.

I discovered men who sought advice from a small committee of healthy friends, never seeking comfort from half of a broken world.

I’ve found the mightiness in a man’s humility to tell me the truth even if it might hurt his own pride.

I’ve found men who wanted my soul over a posh duplex.

I no longer had to ask why, because his words were always followed up by action.

I’ve been loved in my complexity as well as my diversity.

I was loved in my mess so much that perfectionism jumped out of the window.

I found security in myself because he didn’t rest on my confidence – he had his own.

I’ve been asked questions, instead of be accused.

If I had a need, it was a pleasure for him to fulfill it thus I was no longer seen as a drain.

I was gently confronted with a soft tongue and a trust to resolve.

I no longer blamed myself for another person’s behaviour. For he took ownership of every step he made.

I was satisfactory to him, without using my body.

 


These are the redemptive ones. These are the mighty men, who will restore your past experiences. These are the ones who will never speak anything less than highly of you, despite their own pain of losing you.


 

I promise you: the ‘you’ who is out there wondering if there are any good men. If you did something wrong. If you’re too old. If you’re too young. If you’re not good enough. If you’re too picky. If you’re too too too…

Take off the self-questioning so you won’t question men so much. Take down the wall of protection so you don’t ooze distrust. Take up discernment to another level so that you can avoid one more horror story to the storage unit of poor experiences, and raise up the standard to encounter kind men, gentle men, men with back bones, men with justice hearts yet a teachability to always be able to say sorry and grow. We were never looking for perfection, we were looking for humility. And it had to start with us.

It was never about how good the men were out there, it was always about how much we truly believed we deserved it in the first place.

 

Originally published on www.herglassslipper.co.uk

 

CARRIE LLOYD IS AN AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST FROM THE UK, WRITING FOR GRAZIA, COMPANY MAGAZINE, HUFFINGTON POST, CHRISTIANITY MAGAZINE, MAGNIFY, ALPHA LIFE, THE DAILY MAIL AND MORE. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF ‘THE VIRGIN MONOLOGUES (AUTHENTIC MEDIA). HER EXPERIENCES HAVE COVERED PREGNANCY CRISIS COUNSELLING, TO PASTORING YOUNG ADULTS AS AN INTERN AT BSSM IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. HER PASSION IS FOR ABOLISHING SEX TRAFFICKING, HELPING UNLIKELY HEROES, AS WELL AS SPEAKING TO TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS ABOUT HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. HER BLOG ON THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF CHRISTIAN DATING CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.HERGLASSSLIPPER.CO.UK

10 Lies We Believe About Sexual Purity

Amidst all the magazines, movies, and television telling us what sexy is these days, purity doesn’t get a lot of air-time. When it does, it’s not very positive to say the least. We wanted to help set the record straight. No matter what you’ve heard about it, sexual purity is one of the greatest things God has given us to steward. It’s radical, counter-cultural, and walking it out means walking in true freedom. Here are ten lies we’ve seen people believe about sexual purity:

 

Lie #1: God is embarrassed about sex.


God invented sex, and He doesn’t regret it. He didn’t look away in shock or disgust the first time Adam and Eve came together in the garden. He doesn’t tell married couples to avoid it unless they’re procreating. God loves the way He designed a man and a woman to come together and feel connected and bonded like no other thing on earth allows them to connect. He designed it to be an expression of covenant love and for babies to be brought into the world this way.

 

Lie #2: Being curious about sex is wrong. 


Curiosity is normal. It’s not shameful or a sin to be curious about sex. The decision you have to make is how you’re going to act on your curiosity. Find someone who has a great marriage to answer your questions about sex within the context of God’s design for it. God sets up boundaries to protect us, and exploring sexuality by going outside of His design for sex is where we find ourselves in trouble. We have some great resources for learning about healthy sexuality here.

 

Lie #3: Purity is just for single people.


You don’t just have to slide into your wedding night, virginity barely intact thinking, “Phew, I made it. I’m in the clear.” God gives you a sex drive before you’re married because you’re still going to have to steward it inside of marriage. You are going to marry a human being with a schedule, needs, and other things that will mean you don’t get to have sex every single time you want to. Being able to steward your sex drive will ensure that you can help your partner feel safe and respected and give you a more fruitful sex life in the long run.

 

Lie #4: God is disappointed when you are distracted by a good-looking man or woman. 


God’s not disappointed in you. It’s in your design. If you have a desire to get married one day, that desire is not in you by accident. It’s natural for you to pay attention when a good-looking man or woman walks by. We’re not saying it’s okay to look at someone in an objectifying or lustful way. There’s a difference between looking at someone lustfully and admiring beauty. Attraction is one of the first steps to finding someone to spend your life with. Practicing self-awareness helps us know when attraction is tied to a need wanting to be met. In that case, it’s important to make sure we get it met in a healthy way.

 

Lie #5: You shouldn’t want to know anything about sex until you’re married (except don’t do it).


Not being educated about what healthy sexuality looks like hurts us more than it helps us. God wants us to know about sex and the intricate design He has for it. He wants us to experience it in the most beautiful way possible: inside a marriage covenant. This doesn’t mean we dive into more than we’re ready for or that we talk to our kids way above what is appropriate for their age level. It simply means that we set ourselves and our families up for success by learning how to walk out a healthy, whole lifestyle.

 

Lie #6: Being “inexperienced” is unattractive. 


Do you know what is really attractive? Self-control. Think about it. Being able to steward your sex drive is an attractive quality. Being patient and respectful of the person you’re in a relationship with is one of the most attractive things you can do. Otherwise, when you get married and you meet a handsome man or gorgeous woman who is not your spouse, what are you going to do? You have to be able to have self-control. You’re going to have to go back to what you learned from walking out purity all those years before marriage.

 

Lie #7: You shouldn’t have a sex-drive until your wedding night. 


Oh if only we simply had no sex drive and then it magically appeared on our honeymoon night. Wouldn’t that make things easier? Like it was mentioned before, God gives you a sex drive before you’re married on purpose. He wanted you to learn how to steward it. He’s not mad at you for having something He gave you. There’s no shame in having a desire for sex. Getting your needs for intimacy, comfort, and connection met in a healthy way will help your desire for sex to calm down.

 

Lie #8: Once purity is lost, it can’t be restored.


Believing this lie is believing that what Christ did at the cross was not enough and that it didn’t cover everything. Colossians 1:21-22 says, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—” We believe purity can be restored and walked out no matter what your past has been like. We’ve received countless emails from women who have experienced emotional and spiritual restoration, and even the physical restoration of their hymen.

 

Lie #9: It’s impossible to walk out purity your whole life. 


We have access to sexual images and content like we’ve never had before. Casual sex seems like the norm in our culture. Even inside of the church we hear a lot of testimonies about people coming from rough pasts then turning their life around for Jesus. These testimonies are amazing, and we are thankful for the redemptive power of the cross, but it doesn’t have to be this way for everyone. Your children and other young people you care about do not have to walk through a bunch of moral failures and hopefully be restored later. There are many people, even in this day in age, who walk in purity from the beginning to end of their life. The same grace that restores and redeems people is the grace that allows people to walk out purity their whole lives.

 

Lie #10: If you’re struggling with a purity issue, you’re always going to struggle.


You are dead to sin and alive in Christ (Romans 6:11). Whether you’ve been struggling with something for fifty days or fifty years, you can be free. It may not be easy, and it may take a lot of work, but it’s possible. The first step is believing you can get to the point where you’re completely free. Bring other people in, get help, take drastic measures, whatever it takes. Getting free is worth it.

The enemy loves to feed us lies about sex because he knows how valuable it is in its purest form. Part of having faith is believing God and what He says about things. If God invented sex, why would we go to any other source to find out how it works best? If any of these lies hit home for you, take a deep breath, and let God wash over you with the truth. He has a beautiful design, and He has only your best in mind.

 

Want more information about what healthy sexuality looks like? Check out our Let’s Talk About It Curriculum.


What’s In Your Yard?

For a while I thought being a good follower of Jesus meant saying yes to everyone. I thought I was supposed to  help out every time someone asked and take every opportunity to serve. Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said for us to lay our lives down? Wasn’t it mean to say “no”?

This didn’t work out well for me though because in the end, it’s incredibly stressful and overwhelming to say yes to everyone. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned that helps me protect what God holds me responsible for in my own life.

 

Cleaning Up Your Yard

A couple years ago, we bought a house with a beautiful yard. Unfortunately, this yard doesn’t look beautiful all by itself. There’s work that goes into it, and it’s our job to make sure it’s taken care of. We may try to convince the neighbors to come over and do some yard work, but it probably won’t work. What happens in our yard is our responsibility, no one else’s.

I’m going to let you in on something: you have a yard too. It’s inside of you. Self-control is knowing how to manage your yard. It’s having a say in what happens around you.

Now some of us may have crazy yards. It looks like we have no boundaries and all sorts of people and things are in our yard. It may be our mom’s feelings, husband’s choices, or kids attitudes. You know someone else is in your yard when you feel responsible for their happiness. If they’re unhappy, you start running around trying to figure out how to make them happy. You might say, “Ah!! I have to make you happy for things to be okay in my yard!” This is dangerous. We start to sacrifice our bodies, our minds, our wants, and our needs because we’re trying to make sure that other person is happy. Instead of stressing over their emotions, a better option would be to recognize that their feelings are not actually in your yard. They have to take ownership for their well-being, just like you have to take ownership for yours.

 

Setting Boundaries

So how do we help people out of our yard? By setting boundaries.

Proverbs 25:8 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

It’s our job to have boundaries, to have walls that are healthy around our lives. What does this look like? People are adults, and they can act however they choose, so we can’t actually set limits on them. We can set limits on our exposure to people. We can give ourselves space from people who act or react in destructive or unhealthy ways. Part of being kind to yourself is not giving people full access to you all the time. It’s okay to pull back, and say, “I love you, but I need some space here. I’ll catch you later.” Start to set those boundaries so they don’t have access to everything in your life.


“Part of being kind to yourself is not allowing people to have unlimited access to you all the time.”


When you first start to set boundaries with people, they may not like it. They may even accuse you of not caring or being unloving. When this happens to me, I have to remind myself that I have done nothing wrong. How they choose to respond to me is up to them. How I choose to respond is up to me. I still care about them, but I’m choosing not to give them access to what I hold most precious to me which is the core of who I am. I have to protect that.

 

Taking Care of Your Emotions

The other way you steward your yard is taking responsibility for your own feelings. You may feel mad, sad, or frustrated, but you have to realize that those emotions are in your yard. No one else is powerful enough to make you feel a certain way. Pull it back, keep it in your yard, and work through it. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling frustrated? Why am I feeling angry? Why am I feeling like I want to give up?” Figure it out. Sometimes it’s just a one day thing that you’ll feel better about tomorrow. Other times it might be an unmet need that you have to take care of. Part of stewarding your yard is figuring out how to express your wants and needs and get them met in a healthy way.

If your kids are under eighteen and aren’t adults, they are supposed to be in your yard. They’re your responsibility to take care of until they grow up and get to have their own yard. The moment you take ownership of the fact that you’re a parent is the moment you get the power to do what you’re called to do. When I thank God for giving me four healthy boys, He comes in to help me parent them well. In the moment you take ownership, you receive the grace to raise your children and take care of what’s in your yard.

We set boundaries in our relationships to protect what God’s given us to steward. Taking responsibility for other people’s emotions is exhausting. If you feel overwhelmed, you may have some people things in your yard that don’t belong there. Loving yourself well is making sure you do what you need to keep yourself healthy and whole. You may get a little resistance from people at first, but in the end you will be able to give your best to people in the times they do have access to you because you valued yourself enough to make sure you’re healthy, rested, and whole.

To find out more on this topic, check out this bible study resource from our director or Danny Silk’s podcast on Boundaries.