“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers—never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”—Jeremiah 17:7-10 (Message)
“Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose direction and begin to bend.”—Walter Savage Landor
Yesterday was an interesting one. It seemed like it had a recurring theme: counterfeit sexuality. First, I woke up to an article (on NPR.org) that, even to me, was beyond bizarre. Apparently, there is an artificial virginity device that is causing quite a stir in Egypt:
“Conservatives in Egypt are in a lather over a new device that promises to simulate the bleeding a virgin bride experiences on her wedding night. Politicians are calling the device an assault on Islamic and Arab values. But some young women say it’s the inevitable result of Egypt’s double standard when it comes to premarital sex.
The online ad from Gigimo promises women ‘no more worry,’ because they can restore their virginity for just $29.95. The ad says the ‘artificial virginity hymen’ fits in the vagina and, upon penetration, oozes a bloodlike liquid.
‘Add a few moans and groans and you will pass through undetectable,’ the Asian Web site promises in its somewhat mysterious English.”
Key phrases for me?
Restore their virginity
Pass through undetectable
Now, don’t get me started on how many women I know who have started their marital relationship on the basis of sexual deception. A “born again virgin” IS NOT A VIRGIN. You have your virginity ONCE, but as I was reading this article, I thought about how the fear (2 Timothy 1:7, I John 4:18) of being “found out”, even though covenant sex is designed to make one “naked and NOT ashamed” (Genesis 2:24-25), has “inspired” forms of extreme manipulation. I’ve shared several times that one of my favorite scriptures on sex is the Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-17:
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’”
Bottom line? SEX SERVES A PURPOSE and it goes way beyond the physical pleasures. That’s not its purpose. That’s merely a benefit. That’s one of the reasons why homosexuality (and the growing Christian co-sign on it) baffles me so. There are biblical instructions on how we are to live our lives across the board. There’s not even a “loose interpretation” that lends insight that God is pleased with that lifestyle. As a matter of fact, it speaks to quite the opposite. Why? Because it goes against his intended purpose for sex. It’s to make a man and his wife one (and to procreate-Genesis 1:22)…period. Anything beyond that: homosexuality, fornication, adultery, masturbation, lying about doing any of these things, oral sex, “going almost all the way”…is counterfeit. It’s not the real deal. It’s a lie (John 8:44).
Anyway, then after reeling myself back in from that article, I taught a class and listened to some of “my daughters” explain to me why, at 15 and 16, they have their “men” (???) “on lock”; how he better not do this or that because he was “theirs”.
“So what’s the difference between a having a boyfriend and being married?” I asked.
“You’re committed when you’re married. You’re supposed to be forever,” one replied.
“And a boyfriend?” I dug deeper.
“Well, you’re committed to him until you don’t FEEL like it anymore,” another said.
“Is that really a commitment?” I retorted.
“Daaaaang, Ms. Shelllie,” one jumped defensive. “Ain’t nobody thinkin’ bout gettin’ married no mo. Don’t nobody talk about that.”
Sadly, she’s just about right. When I asked the class how many were virgins, only one raised her hand. How many were taught the value of virginity? Not even the virgin knew. And so, not knowing the purpose of covenant sex or marriage, they “play house”. They act like they are married because they haven’t really been shown how to wait (I Corinthians 13:4-8, Matthew 19-Message)…what the purpose of it really is.
I won’t even get into how I (now) find the whole “boyfriend/girlfriend” set up to be a set up for divorce (Malachi 2:16); how, in many (MANY) cases, it programs you to have a temporary mindset about commitment. No, what I really feel led (Luke 12:12) to share is how, while some people play house, even more “play purpose”.
In Jeremiah 1:5 (AMP), the prophet was told, by God, that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Before even being in the womb (which is why abortion is so destructive), God approved of him, set him apart, consecrated and appointed him. Before the womb, Jeremiah had a purpose. We can hold on to this same assurance because Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that to EVERYTHING there is a time and purpose and God’s children are also “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (2 Peter 2:9-NKJV) Oh, but how so many of us are losing sight of that. Oh how it appears that the majority, due to our own lusts (I John 2:16), are neglecting what God told us surrounding the issue of personal purpose:
“In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, so that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!
In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it–to the praise of His glory.”—Ephesians 1:11-14 (AMP)
Just like my daughters “play marriage” because they don’t understand the value of a real one, many of us “play purpose” because we are letting the distractions of this life get us off focus; one day we’re living in accordance to God’s will (which first and foremost would be obedience) and the next we’re not; one day we’re believing him to carry us through and the next we’re attempting to take matters into our own hands.
We can’t afford to be deceived any longer.
Whenever my mother talks about the scriptures that leave her in a serious “spiritually sober-minded state”, one is Isaiah 14:14 (NKJV), when Lucifer (now Satan) said, “’I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (because it speaks to the Enemy’s ultimate mission) and Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV), “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
A couple of days ago, I was talking to one of my “love brothers” about the fact that I found it interesting that God didn’t say, “You never knew me”; no, he said “I NEVER KNEW YOU.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in relationships with people who I thought were one way, but over time, I found myself sounding like some dramatic chick flick: “Who are you? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.” Here I was, entering the relationship under one understanding and now I was involved in something totally different. The purpose had shifted, making things unrecognizable.
I believe that this is what God meant in Matthew when he said “I never knew you.” God created us all for one thing but whenever we deviate from that plan, we become unrecognizable to him.
I purposed you to be a parent. Why are you pimping yourself out?
I purposed you to be a truth teller. Why are you manipulative gossip?
I purposed you to be a giver. Why are you hoarding wealth?
Oh the scenarios can go on and on. Some things, as God’s children, we’re all created to do (worship him, serve him, obey his Word). But there are some other things that are more specific to our personal identities and when we don’t do what he had in mind for us before we were, it doesn’t matter all of the “good” that happens at our hands. We weren’t created to do “good”, we were created to fulfill purpose. A benefit of fulfilling purpose is doing good things. We can’t lose sight of the fact that there is a big difference between living out the reasons for which we exist and doing things for those who do exist. In other words, if it’s not what God told us to do, or created us for, ultimately, it’s in vain. While Christ was on this earth, he did A LOT OF GOOD, but if he had gotten off of that execution stake when he was being taunted (Luke 23), it would have all been for naught. Many benefitted from his goodness but his purpose was to die for our sins. He was not going to let ANYTHING get him off focus.
I don’t know about you, but this has been a big “Check in more, Shellie” wake-up call for me! Seemingly, if I make fulfilling my purpose my TOP PRIORITY, everything else will fall into place; if I stop “playing purpose” and actually ask God to get to the root of what’s preventing me from fully committing to it, a greater intimacy between me, the creature and God, my creator will manifest itself. I can truly know and be known.
And so, my prayer for you? It’s simple. Of all of the things I could do or say, I think this blessing trumps them all:
“May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.”—Psalm 20:4 (NKJV)
Truly, may you stop DOING so much so that you can start BEING what he PURPOSED for you…before there even was a you. That way, even the good, instead of being burdensome (overwhelming, draining), can truly be beneficial. To God and for you.
©Shellie R. Warren/2009