Love is worth fighting for

Preface: not a note for young eyes (though when their time comes please teach them to be aware of this!). This note is aimed at those in their teens and above because of the content.

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Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It’s a house we answer in
Then commit to never leave

So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We’ll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it’s something worth fighting for

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they’re falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it’s something worth fighting for

Love will come to save us
If we’ll only call
He will ask nothing from us
But demand we give our all

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it’s something worth fighting for

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It’s worth fighting for

-Love is Worth Fighting For by Warren Barfield
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What are you fighting for? Your friendships? Your possessions? Money? Loved ones?
What about purity? Do we really fight for that? Or is that something that is dropped off at the corner and told to wait while we wage our battles? When are we going to see that battle of purity (and lack of it) is one of the biggest we face, especially in our sex charged American culture. I’m afraid most of us have grown so numb to the sexually charged culture that we see it as normal. Take So You Think You Can Dance as an example. Good show in concept maybe, but look at what the women are wearing. But wait, you can hardly tell they are! That’s my point. What about shows like America’s Next Top Model? That one glorifies beauty…and same situation as the show before. We don’t even have to watch TV. We can walk into the mall and see posters and displays of women wearing less (a lot less) than they should. Victoria’s Secret (in my mall at home) is right by the food court! Coincidence? I think not. What about those ‘other stores’ in the mall? They are cleaner right? Abercrombie, Hollister? Shoot, they have half naked people at the front of their store…and happy people wearing their skimpier clothes within the store. Ok, so you walk out of the mall, but guess what? Those gals, and guys, bought those clothes! And, some of them happen to think it’s ok and not bothersome to wear those out around town, church, school (Christian schools too), and of course everywhere else at their whim. Sure, they think they look cute, and they do. THAT is exactly the problem! Do they understand how they effect men (and women) when they go into…well anywhere? The clothes (and lack of them) are designed to highlight the woman’s body, and they do. Which is the other problem! I know, I do feel for Christian girls (and the few in the non-Christian world) who genuinely desire to dress modestly. It is incredibly hard to find anything worth wearing. The effort is well worth it! And we can forget the all-powerful internet. It makes more sales, and views, than anywhere else and attracts the most variety of people. It is easy, no commitment, and you don’t even have to try to find anything…it pops up at you! You don’t even have to go anywhere risquee to see something you don’t want to. All you have to do is go to a simple site like this one. Photos and videos are everywhere. The amount of angles this can be approached is seemingly endless.(This is just the girls side of things from a man’s perspective. Maybe a woman can write about things from their side.)

In the face of this onslaught of stimulation, where is our purity? Is it still on that corner, or is it being fought for? I know this is a tough pill to swallow, and it is. The sexual is all around us, not only in what we see, but in our jokes and every day language. We are comfortable with it. I think it’s time this changes. Some may argue with me that I am being a little extreme, but am I really? Will your wife think that you’re just going with the crowd when she catches you looking at porn? What about an affair, which is what looking at pornography is anyways (to look lustfully is to commit adultery in the heart…see Matt. 5:28)? Are you really loving God, and your woman/man if you have one, when you look down her blouse or at his picture with his shirt off? Seriously, we have to throw off everything that hinders our walks with Christ! This not only hinders our walks with him, but in our relationship with the one we love too and yes, you.

Satan wants us to forget about our purity, even if we aren’t necessarily looking at pornographic images. It goes to the point that we can’t talk about in our churches. It’s a faux-pas. It is too awkward. It’s not an issue, etc. What lies from Satan! Wake up! Open your eyes to your blindness! Look at our churches! Our divorce rate is the same as the world! Is that enough to get our attention? Need I say more? In many cases I would say yes, but for the sake of space I will not. It still hasn’t gotten our attention. We’d rather keep looking at the lingerie section in a department store magazine and wonder why we are struggling spiritually. Wake up! God wants every part of you, and that includes your purity, thought life, eyes, and actions! You cannot hide that from Him, and He desperately wants to make those His and have His arms around you using you. Why does He want this? Because of His love! You are loving no-one, especially your spouse and God, by lusting. You are spitting in the face of God desecrating His beautiful creation that was meant for Him and that one, special, man or woman. Despite this, God’s mercy is waiting at the door if only you would walk through it. He longs to forgive you, wash you clean, and purify your life. He did this for me, of which I am chief. I mean this too, this is a battle that I have long waged. It has been ugly, Satan knew I was at the thresh-hold of purity and he tried desperately from keeping me from falling pure into His arms. He tore at my clothes and left me bruised and bleeding, but it is nothing that the Father of lights cannot heal. He in fact already has. He can do the same for you. Run after Him. You will make mistakes, as I have, keep pushing forward. At times, it may seem impossible, and you may be thinking of giving up and think it’s not as big of a deal as some make it out to be. God will be faithful, He just needs you to be. He will help you, and through His strength alone can you win this. I learned that one the hard way too. Your love for God, and that special person, is worth fighting for with all that you are. For you that is silently suffering and crying out for help, it is a whisper and phone call away.

Ok, so you want to fight, you want to be pure, you want to honor God with your body. How do you do it? The main highway through which things get into our minds is through our eyes. They have to be controled. This isn’t something that you can slowly do and come off of. You need to go ‘cold turkey.’ Which means nothing, notta, negative visual stimuli. Posters? Take them down and throw them away, they are no more use to you. People? Cut off (if possible, or tone down) relationships with those who cause you to stumble. If you don’t want to (or can’t) do that (are they worth more than God or the person you love?), then put your foot down and let them know, for example, that you will not watch or do anything with them that involves a movie with questionable content. Internet? Don’t go anywhere you know you might get tempted. Register for a free online accountability service that monitors the sites you visit and sends them the websites you visit to keep you accountable. Use tools like Firefox and Adblock and Flashblock to block any images on “safe sites” that might cause you to stumble. I have no problem blocking someone’s image on facebook, you will still remember who they are. Facebook even helps you by being able to hide newsfeeds of people that can cause you to stumble as well. The internet has great power to cause you to stumble, but also great power to keep your eyes pure. You just have to step up and use it. Learn to ‘bounce’ your eyes. Don’t gaze and drool, you’ve already lusted…even with a checkout. That isn’t for you. If a girl bends down, look or better yet, turn the other way. She is not yours to look at. She is God’s and if she has one, her husband’s. Find an accountability partner that you can trust to keep you accountable (refer to online service…you need someone to keep you accountable). They can be the person you vent to, an encourager, one who beats you over the head when needed, someone who listens, and someone who keeps you in their prayers. If you need counseling, don’t be afraid to seek it! You’re NOT the only man or woman who struggles with this! You won’t appear as weak. In contrast, you are being strong for seeking out help when you’re at your weakest. You could have sat there and wallowed in self pity and guilt, but no, you are actually fighting and reaching out for help!

Another avenue is our thoughts. You may not be looking at anything, but you can still recall whatever you may choose. We have to have the mind of Christ and through Him take every thought captive. This is a much harder area to control. It gets hard when random thoughts pop in out of nowhere, but with time and training through Christ it is possible to be in control of your mind. We cannot at times control outside influences (improperly dressed women and men walking by) but we can control though Christ what we do with those thoughts. Give your impure thoughts to Him and dwell on noble things (Philippians 4:8). God is faithful, and we have to be to Him as well.

Last is of course, actions. They tie into what is above, because you are choosing to ‘bounce’ your eyes and take captive your thoughts. Don’t go places that give you trouble when possible (Victoria’s Secret).

There is a plethora of information out there that can help you in your fight. There are many books, self helps, etc. Don’t forget about reading Scripture and prayer. Those are your most important tools to win this fight. See below for references in Scripture that say immorality is wrong. Scripture takes a strong stance here. God wants all of you. You are His temple. You can only win through Christ, so don’t cut Him off when your fight is at its most difficult. He is the only one that can be with you at all times and the only one who can keep you accountable when no one else is around. Focus on Him and pray constantly. Without Christ, you might as well pack up your gear and go home because you are not going to win without Him. Please don’t make the mistake when things are going well that you don’t need Him either. Your face will hit the mud and you will wonder what went wrong. Your focus can never leave Him, not for one second. His love is worth fighting for, your purity is worth fighting for, and she is worth fighting for. Don’t let anyone hinder your walk with Christ. Don’t let someone you don’t know get in the way of the one you know and love best. It’s time to stop leaving your purity on the corner and forgetting about it while you’re fighting elsewhere. Be a man and take action!

Scriptures (with some help from Every Man’s Battle):
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
–Matthew 5:28

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
–Mark 7:21-23

that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
–Acts 15:29

4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
–Romans 6:4-7, 12-14, 22 [read all of Romans, it’s great]

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
–Romans 12:1-2

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. Butput on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
–Romans 13:12-14

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
–1 Corinthians 5:11

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
–1 Corinthians 6:18

I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.
–2 Corinthians 12:21

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
–Galatians 5:16-6:2

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
–Ephesians 5:3-4

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body.
–Philippians 1:20

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
–Colossians 3:5-6

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
–1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
–Hebrews 12:16

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
–1 Peter 4:3

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
–Jude 7

But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
–Revelation 2:14

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
–Revelation 2:20

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
–Revelation 21:8

Please keep in mind that all of these ideas are not necessarily mine. The book Every Man’s Battle has been a great resource for me. Please if you can look into reading it do so. Steve Arterburn and his co-author’s words speak much better than mine, and he goes much more in depth. I felt like this silence needs to be broken and lives controlled by their impurity need to be cleansed for God’s glory as mine was. If you have anything to add or suggestions, please feel free to comment or send me a message. I can always edit!

More reading: A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shallit (Thank you Nancy), Harry Schaumberg and Patrick Carnes are also two good writers on the subject (thank you Knowlton)

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We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8

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