Issue: Is it possible to still love Jesus and live a sinful lifestyle? Like promiscuity, homosexuality, adultery, etc.
Insight: I believe it is possible for them to love Jesus and still be living a sinful lifestyle. It would be an indicator of the depth of their love and commitment to Jesus though. The more you love Jesus, the more you try to be like him. Someone who is bound to habitual sin; has to come to a place where they love Jesus enough and are willing to trust Him enough, to allow Him to set them free in those areas. Many people compartmentalize their lives and allow God only into parts of their life, not into every area. Once again, it just portrays their level of commitment. However, be cautious about judging people based on their lifestyles, truly it is only Jesus who knows exactly the heart of these people and only He knows the exact depth of their love and commitment to Him. My challenge for you is if you know someone living a sinful lifestyle, but says they love Jesus, continue to pray that their relationship with Jesus would continue to grow and deepen. Let Jesus do the rest.
If God puts it in your heart to say something to them, ensure that you do so out of a place of love. Every time Jesus confronted someone it was done in love, not judgement.
Issue: I know how I should live and yet I find myself falling into my old patterns time and time again. What can I do about this? Will I ever be able to break free from my old patterns.
Insight: You are not alone in this struggle. Paul, one of the most well known men in the New Testament also faced this. In Romans 7:7-24, Paul talks about his own struggle with sin. How he does what he does not want to do and how he does not do what he wants to do. He thanks Jesus in this passage for setting us free from the bonds that tie that sin to our eternal destiny.
Yet how do we experience freedom before eternity? To be honest, we won't. We will not reach perfection until we are in heaven, however we can continue to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Romans 12:2 confirms this. We are transformed as we grow in our relationship to God. Continue to grow in your walk with God and slowly old patterns will start to fade as new ones emerge.
Issue: I am the only Christian in my family. My husband and children do not even want to hear anything about God. It is so hard to be a Christian in this atmosphere. What should I do?
Insight: I know how difficult it is to watch a family member suffer and in a way this is the same. The freedom from sin and the guilt that goes with it is an amazing gift. Those who have not experienced this gift first hand I believe are definitely suffering. They are drowning in the guilt of their sin and it is hard to watch. It is almost like you are throwing them a life preserver but they respond by saying they don't want it because of the brand name. This is trying and difficult, however I will try my best to give you not only some hope but some ways to stay strong.
First of all I want to share some hope with you. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, Paul states "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." Therefore the one encouraging thing is that your family is sanctified through you.
Secondly, continue to pray for them. Pray specifically that God would bring other Christians into their lives. Pray that the Lord would continue to show them his love in and through you. Pray that the Lord would use you to be a blessing to them and that God would protect you from the enemy while standing in the gap for your family.
Lastly, spend a lot of time alone with God, in prayer and studying the Bible. It is when we spend time alone with God that He can give us the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of circumstance. This time with God will not only strengthen you, but it will also give you a clearer picture of God's heart for your family and may even allow you to have the right words to speak at the time when your family would be ready to receive it.
Insight: This is quite a question. The answer you would find our culture is promoting is that sex is a normal facet of any romantic relationship, I disagree. Our culture also promotes the belief that marriage is just a piece of paper and doesn't really mean anything, once again I disagree. Our culture promotes the belief that love is a fleeting emotion and people fall in and out of love all the time, again I disagree.
The Bible is quite clear that sex outside of the covenant of marriage is a sin. The covenant of marriage more than a commitment. A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and man. A marriage covenant is the agreement to be united as one flesh with one another until death, this is an agreement between a woman, a man, and God. Therefore, sex outside of this covenant is sin. It is that simple. The Bible is also clear that love is a choice, not just an emotion. When two people get married they are making the decision to love one another and only one another for the rest of their lives. Jesus commands us to love one another multiple times in his teachings, if love was only an emotion could it be commanded? No.
Now you asked me what my thoughts are, and this paragraph is my answer to that question. From my observations and my own experiences, I can tell you that sex creates a bond between two people and this bond is not easily broken. Sex is meant to join two souls together and when people have sex outside of marriage, this bond tears at the heart and leaves parts of your heart behind and takes parts of the other person's. It is messy and painful. I do not believe that sex can ever be considered casual, I believe that at some point some people's hearts are so tattered, they think to themselves 'What is one more rip?' This is how it gets devalued. In my observations I have seen wonderful people feel like they were worth nothing because they had sex with someone and then that someone walked away. Wonder why depression is rampant in our world, look at what we value. We put more stock in relationships with each other than our relationship with God. Try the reverse and see what happens, you might just be pleasantly surprised.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.