Paul and 1 Corinthians 7

I’d like to share my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 7 (The famous Marriage chapter), everyone should read the chapter in its entirety. However for the purpose of space and time, I’m going to highlight certain parts of the passage and hopefully paint a broader picture. As a teenager, a bit after becoming a Christian by the grace of God, some guys I would sit at a coffee shop slaving over this passage. Really though, it was them slaving over what the implication of chapter 7 was and me just listening. The main argument was: “Does God want me to marry or stay single?” Some of the guys even seemed to be wrestling with whether Paul was implying that we should all be single, and whether marriage was a good idea.

            This is where context matters greatly, it can’t be that God or Paul think that marriage is the worst of all things, because the scripture begins and ends within the context of a marriage. The first was Adam and Eve, and the second is more a metaphor between the true children of God and Christ. In EHP Paul tells us men-husbands to love our wives as Christ loves the church. So, again, Paul cannot be speaking ill of the idea as a whole. At the core of chapter seven, I believe that Paul is truly speaking to a life devoted to a life of serving God and others. Which is probably why he says that sexual relations should be avoided, but because of immorality a man must have a wife of his own and vice versa. Not that thinks that sex is evil or anything of the sort.

Hopping down to verse eight, Paul says Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Paul says that it is good to stay as he is (single) why? Because he thinks marriage is wrong? No, otherwise he would be going against scripture its self. Rather (I believe) that he is in one way saying that it’s difficult, and that a person will be torn between serving God and their spouse. I like many other scholars probably think he (Paul) was married before and experienced his own hardship within a marriage, and when he first tasted the goodness and grace of God. From that that point on he was one hundred percent sold for the cause of Christ. Which is great! Furthermore, there might be lessons in this too, perhaps Paul found a peace and contentment with God and self that he could never find in a woman, no, Paul isn’t some bitter woman hater, but he found a mission and calling much bigger than anything else in his life. I also believe that he might be implying that human marriage is temporary and Christ is forever. Even though in my heart I long to be married and a father, the end for me is eternity with Christ. My future wife and I will fight, I’ll fail as a husband and father and my kids will not listen to me.

            So is it still worth it? Or should I just become a monk? Yes its worth it! Become a monk? Maybe, if after a lot of prayer I realized that that’s where God had me headed. Looking back at the coffee shop scene from the beginning, people were really only making what the apostle Paul was saying more difficult than it had to be. Relationally speaking, we Christians can make the realm of relationships all the more difficult. In my junior year of college, I asked a young woman out for a simple cup of coffee, and her response was “I need to ask God about that first”. Now, there’s nothing wrong with seeking God on things in life, but at the same time, it wasn’t like I was going to ask the girl to marry me or anything, it was just a cup of coffee! Paul says in verse 8, that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. That’s one indication that you should thoughtfully and prayerfully peruse that avenue, if on the other hand you do not burn with passion. Then keeping being you, becoming more content, happier, healthier serving God and others.

Perhaps that burning passion will come later in life, none the less though, in verse seventeen Paul says: 17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. Live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them. In one sense, Paul might be making a subtle reference to the ever quoted Phil 4:13, which says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Paul wasn’t referring to be able to be Peter Pan and fly, but rather to be content and endure whatever context that he finds himself in. Secondly, Paul uses the word Assigned and my estimation this is a very big and crucial world, why? Because being the Calvinist that I am, I then believe that God has already laid everything out before us for our lives. I’m sure that some might argue with me on this point, and that’s fine. In that same vein of thought, The Lord knows whether one will stay single or Marry.

            The best thing that we can do is to not only trust him, but seek him daily. It’s also a sobering reality, that even those of us who burn with passage, don’t always get the desires of our hearts granted always. This can also spill over into other areas of our lives as well. This is a profound mystery, that I will more than likely not understand this side of life. Yet, I will holdfast to the reality that God has loved us madly through his son Jesus. And that is far better and sweeter than anything in life. Simply, because you’re single, does not mean you are missing or lacking anything in life. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. So smile, be vibrant and enjoy your life. Keep working on yourself, readying oneself for the reality of maybe one day being a husband or wife. To the married (I’m saying this as a single man, having never been married- go figure). Marriage in the Christian sense,  is a sanctifying experience, you will see each- others flaws in ways you never dreamt, and you will have to forgive each other the same way that Christ has forgiven us for our sins. But it is beautiful and worth it in the end.  

Misplaced Love

Here’s the deal. No man or woman can fulfill us. I know it sucks to hear, but love delights in truth. For me, I know that this hard truth needed to be beat into my entire person all over again. Is it wrong to want a relationship? And a healthy one at? Of course not, God created us for that.

In my prior blog entry, I spoke about my frustration with the current standing of the so called “Alpha Males”. The more I listened and read to what many of them had to say, I quickly noticed that many of them were simple pick up artists. And sadly I found myself buying into this crap.

I then wanted to go out and see how many women I could pick up, by saying all the right things etc. And then it hit me… Wow that’s really, really shallow and frankly cheap. Because all the cheap thrill really leads to nothing of substance.

I don’t think there is anything wrong to long for someone be with, to long for healthy communication affection, marriage and so on. But as a follower of Christ, I/we should know that no one could possibly love us as madly as Christ does.

I also confess, that at times I have driven myself crazy trying to find a mate. Which again, isn’t wrong. But it is wrong to lose yourself in it. Without looking more at the one that loves us the most. Which is Jesus Christ.

Our love in turn becomes misplaced, we take the love from a person and put above the love of God. Which in many ways can cripple the mind and soul. Scripture tells us to seek first his kingdom, this really just means to seek God first. Let him fill us up first.

Now, I don’t believe that because we seek God first, that it then means a mate will fall into our laps or living room couches. I still think that we ought to keep our hearts, eyes and minds open. The same way that if we our hungry, we have the ability to get up and go get food.

When we seek first his kingdom, we re-order our hearts, our thinking is clearer, we are more at peace and we are more ready to love as Christ loves us. So, today if you find yourself in the same boat as me. I implore you to seek God boldly and confidently without condemnation. As him to reorder your heart. And he will. Its so worth it!

Day 3: Fighting Back

Yesterday was a huge success, the Lord gave me the strength to resist and fight back. I am filled with joy that He is so faithful. Today however, this particular moment is filled with a bit of temptation to cope in Unhealthy ways.

The good news is, I have noticed the trigger and rather than giving in. I am going to sit with tension, wrestle with it even. I refuse to let this win any longer. It will not be my master. But I will master it.

I want to reiterate that there is hope, that things can get better. Even when people tell you they can’t. A new future, a new mind a new heart and new eyes are possible. You simply have to choose fight. You’re not alone in the fight. You were never meant to be.

If you have an hour to burn, please read this book:

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/10/09/how-to-quit-porn/

Motivate and fight my friends.

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Fighting My Addiction Part 2

I believe that one of the hardest elements of fighting any addiction, be it porn, sex, food, drugs or what have you. Is actually believing that you can fight back against it. The truth is that when we have been bogged down by addictive patterns for so long it can be extremely difficult to believe that anything better can become of your life.

Being that I fight my own addiction daily (porn), there was a time when I deeply believed that I couldn’t break free from the grasp that addiction had on my life. So I basically surrendered myself to this addiction, believing that it was now my master. Eventually though, I became sick of looking at pornography and quickly realized that it was never really that satisfying as people made it sound.

And if we’re honest, we might very well say the same thing. We also have to remember that simply because people choose porn over a real person, yes very little to do with them actually  being “satisfied” and more to do with the wiring in their brains being so high jacked.

There are some therapists who claim that there are some people, whose brains will never be the same because of how much exposure they have had to pornography. While that might be true, it does not mean that things cannot get better. Far too many in medical/ helping professions have very little belief in faith and what inner strength and courage can actual do.

When I first started walking away my own addiction, it was the most difficult challenge I have ever had to face. Everyday that I fought the temptation grew stronger. There were many times when I had no choice but to get on my knees and cry out to God for help. There were many times when I would call a friend or spend lots of time in the gym. Anything to get myself through the tempting moments. Slowly but surely, days started to stack on top of one another.

By God’s grace, my desire to look at poronagraphy became less and less. And I began to desire a real relationship, with a real woman. Change is possible, healing is possible, hope is possible. You just have to be willing to commit to a daily fight. One that you will not win on your own.

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Fighting My Addiction

keep-craving-in-checkAs a psychology major, one area of study that has caught my attention of the last few years is substance abuse. Also known as chemical dependency. Ironically enough, Christians have questioned why a biblically centered college has a program like this.

Shouldn’t it be obvious? Every single one of us is addicted to something, the question then lies in whether we know it to be true of ourselves and whether we are willing to admit it as well.

What’s my addiction then? Pornograpy, yes I am a Christian and I struggle daily against the temptation to view pornography. How hypocritical right? I’m not afraid to say so myself, the fact is no is consistent with how they live their lives all the time.

I am not proud of having this vice in my life, in any way. Yes I’m aware that sex is a gift. One to be enjoyed and even to be longed for. But in a certain context. The context of marriage with a real person. The research is very clear that pornography is extremely harmful to the brain

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-pornography-and-the-brain

The amount of shame, guilt and regret that has stemmed from this has almost been too much. God’s grace has been the only way that I have gotten through this. It hasn’t been easy, I’ve made it over 90 days without it in my life. However, I have recently relapsed back into the habit again.

It’s sucks and I feel horrible about it, but I’m not giving up the fight. And neither should you. I don’t care if you addicted to overeating, and you recently filled your stomach with so much food you couldn’t get out of bed the next day. Get back on the saddle.

The last thing we need to is to enter a cycle of self hatred and abuse. Know that you are forgiven and cleansed.

 

 

SEX!! (From a Cerebral Palsy Perspective)

Sexuality is a big area that takes up a lot residence in our lives, as humans we are sexual beings (creatures, if you will). It can raise much controversy among political and religious faction, let me openly state however, that I am a follower of Jesus and openly submit to Gods original design for sexuality. I am not one who can easily check his beliefs at the door. That aside, I am not here to argue and continue the endless cycle of stone throwing among people who believe differently then I.

Rather, my goal is to communicate openly about the desire for intimacy, relationship or whatever you wish to call it these days, as it relates to someone living with cerebral palsy. One might think that there is really no difference between one that has cerebral palsy and one that is able-bodied. While the desire is still there for both, it can be very different.

First, there is some misunderstandings for some regarding cerebral palsy and sexuality. I remember being in my second year of high school, and this chick straight up asked me if I could have kids. I looked at her puzzled and said “um… yeah” I remember wanting to say something snarky, such as “everything works just fine honey”. But I held my tongue.

Mind you though, she probably didn’t have rude intentions behind her question. She was probably generally curious, most people though, I believe, probably confuse cerebral palsy with being paralyzed from the waist down. Which I am not. There are several people with cerebral palsy (men and women) that are mothers and fathers, so the issue then is not that certain parts don’t work very well.

Another area that might come into question, is how people with cerebral palsy plan on being able to take care of their children. This is something that I have thought of as well, I even began to feel sorry for myself and think that it wasn’t possible. But it is, very possible. As long as the person is filled with the determination to make it work. I recently saw a video of a mother, who was in a wheel chair, she would gently slide her daughter across the floor while she was in her crib to feed her.

Another video I saw, was of a women who had much worse C.P. then I, and she would slowly get down on the floor to be with her child. So having the ability to be in intimate relationships (marriages) is not some far off desire one must try and reach out and grab, but how one gets there might be very different.

What I mean is that, when it comes to dating, marriage and sexuality, I find that it takes an extremely special person to enter into the life of someone living with cerebral palsy or any other condition. why? Because not ever one understands and is not willing to deal with what that all may entail. It’s sad but true.

Some people who have far worse forms of C.P. may in fact require more care from a significant other, and that is sometimes something that not everybody is willing to deal with. Which on the flip side of things can make the person living with cerebral palsy feel unwanted or undesirable, which then go back to feeling like a burden and ever so frightening suicidal thoughts.

This for some, may lead to seasons of feeling alone, as though they may never meet anyone. It also may cause some to rush into relationships that will only leave you to endure more pain. But I promise you this, if you can venture on the process of being comfortable in your own skin, the journey won’t seem so long. You’ll be fine with your own company, you’ll have more joy and when you finally do meet someone, the wait will be so worth it.images