My dear fellow Christian,
I’ve always said that the temptation I fear the most is a relationship I shouldn’t be in. The possibility of being loved is excruciatingly compelling, and it can make us all stupid. I know how it works. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal if he isn’t a Christian or he wants to sleep over. We’re experts at rationalizing and ignoring the danger.
I understand the pull of that temptation, but I’ve also lived long enough to see the heartbreaking tears of pain, and grief, and regret of people who have had past relationships that were not in God’s will, and so I’m compelled to write to you to plead with you to seek God first above all things.
You have the right to make the decisions in your life. But you also have the right to know all the facts plainly first. I am writing, not necessarily to convince you of something (although if that were to happen, I would be happy!), but to clarify the situation as much as possible for you so you can see your choice as it truly stands. Make the choice that you must, but you must make that choice based on truth and an understanding of the cost. If, when you make your choice, you are deluding yourself on any point involved, you are doing yourself a disservice. Let there be no foolishness of believing that you can have everything and there is no choice to be made. Will you follow Jesus or the relationship? For whom do you have the greater love? My responsibility ends at making your choice clear for you. After this, it is in your hands. Then, with full knowledge of what you are deciding, with nothing disguised or hidden from yourself, you must make your choice, squarely facing the results, taking full responsibility for the pain (for there will be pain and cost no matter which you choose), knowing that you entered into your decision with your eyes open.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones….
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed…
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;
they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;
when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared. (Proverbs 3:5–26)
ON THE REWARDS OF HEARING THE WORDS OF GOD:
- Proverbs 27:6: Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
- Proverbs 3:11–12: My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.
- Proverbs 15:32–33: He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
- Proverbs 9:12: If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
ON SPECIFIC COMMANDS IN QUESTION:
- 2 Corinthians 6:14–15: Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
- 1 Corinthians 7:39: A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
- Acts 15:19–20 (the commands that the Council at Jerusalem decided the incoming Gentiles ought to follow): It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
- 1 Corinthians 6:18–20: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.
- Matthew 6:33: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
ON THE SERIOUSNESS OF REJECTING GOD’S INSTRUCTION:
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8: It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
- 1 John 2:3–4: We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
- 1 John 1:6–7: If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
- 1 John 3:4–6: Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.
- Romans 6:1–4: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
ON THE NEED TO DECIDE IF YOU WILL FOLLOW JESUS OR YOUR OWN DESIRES:
- 1 Kings 18:21: Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
- Matthew 10:37–39: Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
- Luke 14:26–27: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
- Luke 9:57–62: As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
- Revelation 3:15–16: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
ON SALVATION AND THE DANGER IN WHICH YOU PLACE YOURSELF:
- Luke 8:5–13: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed…some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture…This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God…Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
- 1 Timothy 1:18–19: …[F]ight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
- Hebrews 3:7–11: So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
- Hebrews 6:4–6: It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.
- 2 Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
ON SEEKING GOD FIRST, REJECTING EVERYTHING THAT SEPARATES US FROM HIM BECAUSE HE IS BEAUTIFUL, AND WONDERFUL, AND WORTHY:
- Hebrews 12:1–2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Philippians 3:7–8: But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
- Psalm 73:25–26: Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
- Psalm 16:7–11: I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all;
He has compassion on all He has made.
All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all He has made.
The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;
He hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love Him,
but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145)
He may not feed you the kind of food you want, when you want it, but He will feed you.
Jesus is better. Please believe it. Run to Him now, and He will welcome you without shame. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
With love, tears, and pleading from your faithful friend and sister,