The opposite of sexual sin is not abstinence; it is holiness. You can still be abstinent and be lustful. The point here is not just eliminating the physical problem and that’s it, no, there has to be heart and mind change, a paradigm shift.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7, New Living Translation
Karrie tugs her jacket closer to her body as she hurries down the street from the bus stop to her apartment. The sky is splashed with color and a cold wind rustles the trees. Suddenly, a man jumps in front of her.
“Can I kiss you?” he croons huskily.
Karrie gags as she looks him up and down totally creeped out. He is enveloped in baggy grey sweatpants. He doesn’t stink, but she still has no intention of kissing a stranger. You probably don’t blame her either.
NEXT STEPS: Young Adult Ministry Training
A pastor once said that asking God for things when you don’t cultivate a relationship with him it is like asking someone you don’t know for a kiss. If a random stranger asked me for a kiss, I would certainly refuse them. I might even refuse my boyfriend a kiss (I can explain, don’t judge me). This makes me very guilty. Am I even in a place to be asking God for anything?
Yet, something causes me to pause at this analogy. Isn’t there that verse about God bestowing sunshine and rain even on the good and the evil? Hold on! We are in a relationship with God. Some might dispute, but aren’t we all God’s children? Made in His image?
There was once a rebellious teenager. He always asked for things all the while being disrespectful and inconsiderate. Even though, his mother faithfully cooks his dinner, washed his clothes and sacrificed to send him to Adventist schools. Yet, he is constantly complaining because he doesn’t have the latest iPhone or gadget. He wants a fancy car. He wants a vacation to Europe. Would that mother desire to meet the wants and grant the needs of her son?
Somehow, this insolent teenager is blessed with an extremely forbearing mother. She loves him unconditionally. She strives to guide him on the right paths. She looks for ways to make him happy. She tries to help realize the joy of serving and respecting others.
Notwithstanding all the love this insubordinate child receives, there is likely a subtle blackhole in his heart. He can’t experience a certain richness of a relationship with his mother. He doesn’t let her stroke his hair as he cries when a girl breaks his heart. He doesn’t confer with her about his career path even though she knows him best. He doesn’t laugh with her as she tells him about his little baby antics. He doesn’t feel the depth of his mother’s love as he doesn’t fully appreciate it. His missing out.
You can ask God for an A on that final. However, it will be nothing like going step by step with God through the semester. You’ll miss asking Him to show you the best way to study. You benefit from the ways he helps. He may guide you to useful resources or people. He may cancel that quiz that you couldn’t study for anyway and help you concentrate on the other material. His peace will envelop you helping relax and concentrate on that exam.
I have learned that we are the ones who lose when we don’t cultivate a relationship with God. When we see God as a stranger, we’ll ask for favors like strangers. When we see God like a father, we’ll confidently come to him asking for the things we need, basking in the knowledge that He loves us. We’ll feel the difference.
Katie quickly evades the creepy stranger calling a quick but polite “no thank you” over her shoulder. Then, she darts into her apartment. Her husband is in the kitchen preparing dinner. She sidles up to him. Their eyes meet. Admiration and love dances across her face. They lean in for a magical kiss.