Dying to the flesh....a tough decision to make!    by  Bernadette Love
Nevertheless, to avoid
fornication, let every man have
his own wife, and let every
woman have her own husband.

I Corinthians 7:2
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After the breakup of my twenty plus year marriage that had been riddled with abuse (verbal, emotional
and sometimes physical) I realized that I had never known the joy of true, romantic love.  You know, the
kind that you read about in novels and witness on television.  I thought at that time that romance, and all
that went with it was a figment of someone's imagination.     

I desperately needed someone or something to make me feel desirable and lovely.  I rationalized that
something had to be wrong with me because I had not been able to make my marriage work.  I took the
blame for everything that had gone wrong and this only made my matters worse.  Strangers would tell
me how pretty I was and I didn't believe them so you know I didn't believe my friends and family.  They
were supposed to be nice to me.  I was a mess.

Now I knew that sex outside of marriage was wrong.  I had been taught that all my life.  While I was still
living in the house with my husband, I was true to him.   But, when he left me for another, I found myself
trying to validate myself in the arms of men who made me feel pretty and desirable.  I didn't have a
different man in my bed every time you turned around but I have to admit that I had my fair share.  
However, this didn't do it either.  And yes, I'm pulling the gloves off.  

I was never, ever satisfied.  Not any reflection on the men, but I knew in my spirit that I was wrong.  
Therefore, I would never consciously allow myself to enjoy what was happening.  For a long time I just
knew that something was wrong with me.  I thought that maybe I was just too scarred emotionally to
ever enjoy the love of a man.  But, God in His infinite wisdom and mercy allowed me to see the light.

One day I made the decision that I was really tired of the madness.  The guilt and shame that I felt after
each encounter kept me from asking for God's best and certainly I could not expect His best.  My flesh
had me so bound up that I was miserable.  But, the scariest thing of all was that I realized that I was not
alone.  As I talked to other women I found out that this need for validation is like an epidemic.  I was glad
to find out that others shared my dilemma but heartsick to know that it is a dilemma at all.

One thing I found out about celibacy is that it is an easy thing to do when you are not tempted past your
point of endurance.  If there is no one in your life that you have strong feelings for or are incredibly
attracted to, yes, you can say no and keep going.  But low and behold, it seems that when you want to
do the right thing, temptation is always only a breath away.  

It is a daily struggle, this dying to the flesh thing.  But it is a struggle that the believer must gain the
victory over.  It is not enough for us to go to church, sing in the choir, usher, praise dance and even
preach and teach the Word.  The Lord has every right to expect excellence from His people.  We are to
be different from the world.  The world says that whatever feels good is good.  Not so for the believer.

In Genesis 17 we find that God made a promise to Abraham that He would make a covenant with him
and multiply him exceedingly.  You know the story.  We've heard it all our lives.  But, the first part of the
promise says..."walk thou before me, and be thou perfect."  Don't think that you can willfully walk in sin
and expect the blessings of God to run over you and over take you…it doesn’t work like that.  

In doing research on this subject, I found several articles supposedly written by liberated Christians,
who state that sex outside of marriage is not only ok, but it is highly recommended because of the
physical and emotional ramifications of celibacy.  One article stated that there was no biblical
foundation for abstaining from fornication.  The definition of fornication is:  sexual intercourse between a
man and woman not married to each other.  And why is this such a big deal?  Because sexual sin is the
easiest to get into and the absolute hardest to get out of.  And the Word tells us in I Corinthians 6:18 –
Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that commeth fornication sinneth
against his own body.

Let’s put some scripture on this subject.  These are just a few of the scriptures that I found on the
subject.  It would take too long to expound on all of them so I picked a handful.
Acts 15: 28-29 - For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than
these necessary things: 29 – That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from
things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.  Fare ye well.    

Mark 7: 20-23 – And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  21 - For from
within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders. 22 -  Thefts,
covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  23 – All
these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Romans 1:26-29 – For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did
change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27-And likewise also the men, leaving the
natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is
unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was met. 28- And even as
they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave then over to a reprobate mind, to do those
things which are not convenient; 29-Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness,
covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers.

Galatians 5: 19 & 24 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness…24 – and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the
affections and lusts.

Dying to the flesh and running from sexual sin is not easy.  When you make the decision to try it God’s
way, you can rest assured that temptation will come out of the woodwork.  It will be raining men
everywhere you go…and they will be fine, good looking men…just what the doctor ordered.  Your
hormones will seem to take on a life of their own.  You will find yourself even looking at men who you
would not have given a second thought to before.  I know, I’ve been there and done that.  I have heard
some singles say that their pastors can’t relate because at the end of the sermon they are going home
to loving arms, well most of them anyway.  But, I am single and celibate.  Not because I have to be but
because I chose to be.  I woke up one day and decided that no man was worth me hurting my God for
again.  I want to live a life that is pleasing to him.  I want to be able to stand on the promises of God and
be ready when he comes again.  I really don’t want to be somewhere where I shouldn’t, doing
something that I have no business doing when he returns for his church.

If you are a believer, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then I am appealing to you.  No
one can take your salvation away from you.  But your lifestyle and the choices that you make can keep
you from experiencing the favor and the blessings of God.  Your sin can hinder your fellowship and keep
you right here when the rapture happens.  You will eventually experience the joy of heaven, but you will
go through hell to get there.  This was never his plan for the believer.  

Will it be easy to say no to that man who is blowing in your ear, telling you all the things that you have
always wanted to hear?  Nope.  It will not be easy to walk away from arms that make you feel all that you
desire to feel.  It will not be a piece of cake to close the door on the one man who can make your liver
quiver, but I assure you, the results will be astounding.  The Word tells us in I Corinthians 7:9 that it is
better to marry than to burn with lust.  If you love him enough to lay with him, love him enough to marry
him.  And, if he doesn’t want to marry you then he doesn’t deserve you.  A man who loves you will not
want to cause you to live in sin.      

Decide today to do it God’s way.  He promises not to put more on you than you can bear.  With every
temptation he will give you a way out.  He has a wonderful life for you, complete with all the trimming that
you always desired.  He will give you peace while he is preparing that right person for you.  He will
comfort you while he prepares you to be the gift that you are supposed to be for that right man.