A Christian's Guide To Relationships

A Christian's Guide To Relationships

Don’t compromise and be like the rest of them.
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The pastor at my local church has been preaching a series that talks about gender and marriage, and how modern culture has distorted God’s image of these two topics.

I’ve found these past few Sundays at church very interesting and his sermons very different from what I’ve heard preached before. You can find his sermon here , it’s worth a listen. It’s satisfying to hear what needs to be said, to feel in touch with other believers, and to know that Christians have not forgotten to stand up for biblical teachings even as we live in this convoluted culture.

This week I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned from this particular sermon. I’m no stranger to having difficulty in relationships just for being the "Christian one" and always refusing to compromise my “radical” beliefs. The lessons to take away from this series on relationships are endless and each leads me to ask other questions and search for more answers in the Bible. But here are a few points to note and they may help young Christians live in this world when biblical teachings are definitely not popular:

1. Sex isn’t casual.

What stops a hookup? No consent. It’s great that society has placed such a high value on both partners verbally consenting however, consent is the only boundary recognized. Culture demands society to do what makes you feel good but only if you both say yes.

That’s what society says but, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6: 12, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” Then Paul continues in verses 18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Even Paul lived in an immoral culture. Even he had to present this message to them. As humans, we have the right to make our own decisions and decide what we want to do with our bodies, but not everything is right in God’s eyes. Our bodies are compared to “temples” because the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts. We shouldn’t live as the ungodly do. God declared sex before marriage immoral, it’s just society that has deemed casual sex acceptable.

2. The Bible only recognizes two relationship statuses, married and single.

The culture during the time period in which the Bible was written differs from modern day, dating didn’t exist yet then, so the Bible wouldn’t mention this phrase at all. That doesn’t mean dating is bad, but there is no direct guidance from the scriptures in dealing with this thing we call “dating.”

Despite this, here’s what my pastor says, if you aren’t married, don’t do things that married people do. He says, “Don’t do permanent things with temporary people” because when we do, things get very complicated.

3. Marriage reflects our union with God.

“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” Ephesians 5:31-32. Divorce wasn’t meant to happen. Yet it has and now we live in a time when marriage isn’t valued as highly as it should be. In marriage and in consummation, you become one body, one person. You are a unit.

God explicitly outlines His image of marriage and gender roles. Don’t let the world confuse you. Being a young Christian in modern culture presents a challenge. Dating is hard when people you come across don’t share your nonconforming beliefs but don’t give in to temptation. Trust that He will direct your path, and lead you to someone who shares your beliefs and values. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”




Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Open Air Preachers Don't Belong at Marshall

There are appropriate ways to share about Christ, and these guys just don't get it.

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Marshall University has an absolutely beautiful campus. After spending 4 years here, spending time around the memorial fountain is honestly going to be something I miss. During the week, campus life was usually always so bustling and exciting. There always seemed to be something going on at the student center plaza, some of which was more pleasing than others.

This past year on multiple occasions, Marshall had a few unwelcoming visitors. Some preachers came in, usually with signs, and would stand along a path that most of the student body would take on their way to and from class. They would start yelling Scripture to anyone who might be listening, but they were very rude and derogatory in their proclamations. One guy had told a girl that she would go to hell for the shirt that she was wearing. Another one was shouting, "God hates gays!" It eventually got so bad that they were banned from campus, multiple times.

As a Christian myself, this makes me so angry to see other people that claim the name of Jesus treat others poorly. Jesus wasn't like that. He was gentle, kind, and loving. That's part of being a Christian. It's what you sign up for. I personally don't believe that these "preachers" should be allowed on Marshall's campus because of the way they represent Christ and how their actions might affect students.

As mentioned previously, I am a Christian myself. I believe that being a Christian is more than a label. It is a calling to live your life in a way that exemplifies Christ himself. I personally know that I do not live up to this calling and fall short of it everyday. However, I know there is a difference between someone who does wrong and recognizes it as such and someone who willfully acts a certain way.

These preachers coming off to nonbelievers in the way that they are is doing more harm to the church than good. People aren't going to want to be a part of something that involves being rude to others. I know some people growing up that have been turned off from the church by another Christian who didn't act like a Christian. Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to like everyone. There are definitely people I have met that I am not fond of; but I am called to still see them the way God sees them, whether that be a part of His family or part of the mission field. Either way, God loves them.

Also, words are very powerful. It is very easy to either lift someone up or tear them down with what you say. When the open-air preachers are telling the LGBT community that God hates them, that is just discouraging and pushing them even further away from the Lord, which is terrible. Also, criticizing someone for what they wear can be very destructive. You don't know what a person is currently battling. Maybe you're not the first person to make a derogatory comment about their outfit. Maybe they can't afford to buy new clothes at the moment. Maybe they are dealing with a much more severe storm and simply don't need unnecessary, petty comments.

Personally, I think it was a good move when these guys were banned. They are not doing themselves or anyone else any good. There are appropriate ways to share about Christ, and these guys just don't get it.
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