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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Standing Firm 2




by Omar Miranda

 

Here’s another post from the discussion board at insightmagazine.org:

“Hi. I’m 19 and a Christian. I grew up with the belief that sex should be saved for marriage. Most of my friends aren’t virgins. One close friend recently told me that she hooked up with a guy who isn’t her boyfriend. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to stay abstinent; I am starting to doubt if saving sex until marriage is worth the wait. It is unlikely I am going to find a man who is willing to wait. Any advice?—Mo.”

Mo, thanks for writing. I appreciate your honesty and courage. I hear your conflicted spirit. On the one hand, you love God very much and want to do His will; on the other, you have friends who are giving in to the world’s ways, beliefs, and behaviors. You can, though, have the strength to make the right decision for God!

A few really important things are at stake here: your relationships with God, with your friends, and  with the world. All three would be negatively impacted if you took the easy way out. I hear your gloom and frustration. Let me assure you of a few things:

1. God loves you and wants only the best for you in life, but He’s not going to stop you if you choose to have sex.

2. God’s standards are clear and are not negotiable. When God says don’t, what He’s really saying is “Don’t hurt yourself!”

3. God will give you the strength and courage to stand for Him and make the courageous and difficult decision to wait until you’re married to have sex. I promise—it’s worth the wait!

You asked for advice. So here are a few things. First, ask God for a heart that is completely committed to pleasing Him and Him first and only! You can’t base what you will do on what others are doing. You can’t let yourself be pressed into the world’s mold. As the apostle Paul said: “Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him” (Romans 12:1, 2).*

Second, you’ve got to make up your mind about what you’re going to do before you get into a questionable situation. There’s a powerful story of four teenage boys who were in a difficult situation involving serious peer pressure, so severe that if they said no, they could have been killed on the spot. Daniel and his three Jewish friends were taken captive. “One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families. The king said, ‘They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials.’ Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah. But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego. Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat” (Daniel 1:3-8). 

The moment that Daniel heard that he would be fed the pagan king’s food and drink, he “made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved.” He didn’t wait until he was hit with the request and then think about what his decision would be. He made up his mind ahead of time. Daniel understood that God’s standards, rules, and laws are higher and better than those made by people. The moment you and I begin to justify our decisions and try to make excuses as to why our ideas are better than God’s, we get into trouble. The only way to be successful, happy, and healthy is to live life God’s way. You and I know that sexual decisions are always staring teens in the face; thus, the question is not when is the temptation coming, but what will you do when it comes? Decide ahead of time to do what God wants, and with His help you can’t go wrong!

Finally, you may feel like you’re the only one who feels that celibacy and allegiance to God is important, but Mo, I promise you this: there are others, many others! I want to tell you a story of someone who was trying his hardest to be faithful to God and yet became so discouraged that he wanted to die! The prophet Elijah had just killed many wicked, pagan prophets and was now running for his life. He was emotionally, physically, and spiritually wrung out. I’m sure that’s the way you feel right now, but I want you to read this story and see what happens: “He [Elijah] answered, ‘Lord God All-Powerful, I’ve always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!’” (1 Kings 19:10). Elijah is so wiped out that even after saying this and God revealing Himself to him, the prophet repeats himself to God! But listen to what God says in verse 18: “But seven thousand Israelites have refused to worship Baal [a pagan god], and they will live.”
 Elijah thought that he was the last person who was faithful to God because that’s how he felt, but God reminded him that there were 7,000 more people who were also faithful!

Mo, I hope that you take heart in the fact that God knows what He’s doing when He tells you to live a certain way. Also, take heart in the fact that you are not alone when it comes to standing for God. Hold tight to God’s hand and don’t compromise. Trust me when I tell you that if you give in, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. I made the wrong decision, and I wish that I hadn’t done it.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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