Ask Your Preacher
God bless you, brethren. I keep hearing among professing believers that we can "bind ourselves" with our words. Is this of any truth? If I were to have said something like, "being single all your life is not that bad", am I now bound to being single all my life? Or if I said something like, "God sometimes has a higher purpose than to heal us as he did with Paul", am I now bound to never receiving healing from God?
Christians are bound by their words but not in the way you are talking about. Jesus tells us that we should make sure our “yes is yes and no is no.” (Matt 5:37). When a Christian says they will do something, they need to follow through. Part of having Christian character is being the type of person that keeps your promises. In that sense, we are bound by our words.
However, you are talking about making statements that aren’t vows, merely observations or opinions. That is an entirely different matter. The Bible doesn’t teach anything about those types of statements binding a person.
How can I jumpstart my relationship with Jesus when I've been lazy about it?
The first thing we tell people to do when they say they are interested in being closer to God is to start consistently attending and being involved with a congregation. Heb 10:24-25 says that the local church provokes us to love and good works and that when we forsake studying, worshipping, and being involved with the church, we become spiritually sluggish and lazy. Those who go, grow – those who don’t, won’t. We don't know exactly where you are in life, but if you need help finding a faithful congregation near you to study with, work with, and help... please e-mail us, and we will happily get you in touch with a faithful, vibrant group of Christians near you.
Can people fall out of love? If the love you have for each other is true, why do so many marriages end in divorce? I am not married yet, but my boyfriend and I know we will be someday. I love him more than my own life and second only to the Lord, whom by His grace, sent me my best friend. But I hear almost every day of someone who I believed to have a Christ-centered relationship breaking up, or worse, ending their marriage. How can this be? How can people stop loving the person they marry and have promised to love forever? Are they really losing their love, or are they being lazy and not wanting to work at the relationship anymore?
Happily Ever After
Dear Happily Ever After,
To answer your question, we need to talk about the difference between passionate love and the type of love the Bible says a marriage needs. Passion is a fickle thing; passionate love is what we most often associate with love because that is what society teaches us romance is all about, but passion doesn’t always stick around. When a marriage faces the strains of day-to-day life, sometimes you don’t “feel” close… but God teaches that a godly marriage is built off of a stronger type of love.
Biblical love (best described in 1 Cor 13:4-8) is a choice, not a feeling. A loving husband chooses to do that which is in the best interest of his wife. He is to seek to love his wife as Christ does the church (Eph 5:25). A husband’s love is sacrificial; it is a gift he chooses to give unconditionally.
A wife is to respect her husband (Eph 5:24). She shows him respect even if he doesn’t deserve that respect. She chooses to let him lead the household regardless of whether he is good at it. As long as his decisions do not force her to disobey God (Acts 5:29), she follows him. She treats him as a man and honors him as head of the household even when he acts petty and small. Her respect is unconditional.
It is the lack of biblical love in marriages that has created the high divorce rate in our country. Godly marriages are successful because both people choose to love each other even through the hard times. Godly marriages take work, but it is good work, and it is rewarding work. Ask any older couple that still holds hands when they walk down the street – it isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.
Hi; I was reading about what some of the earliest Christians believed, and apparently, in one of their earliest rule books called the Didache, it says that they had to publicly confess all their sins in church to everyone else. Is this something we still have to do today? I always thought we could just confess to God if it was something private, and I don't want to have to go in front of my church and tell them everything I've ever done.
Dear Privacy Please,
We must follow the Bible, and the Didache isn’t the Bible. The Didache is part of what is often referred to as ‘second-generation Christian writings’. Even though it is a historically significant document, it isn’t part of the Bible, it isn’t inspired by God, and we don’t use it to decide what is right and wrong. The Bible never says that we have to confess our sins in front of the congregation. It does tell us to confess our sins to God (1 Jn 1:9), but it doesn’t require that we do it publicly or that we do it in every circumstance. Here are a few circumstances when the Bible says confessing your sins to others should be done:
- If you have sinned against them, you must admit it and ask for forgiveness (Lk 17:3-4).
- If you believe the knowledge of your previous sin will help them (1 Tim 1:15-16).
- If you are struggling with a sin and need help (Jas 5:16, Eccl 4:9).
- If it would be deceptive to not reveal the sin (1 Jhn 1:8).
But don’t fret about baring all before everyone else; the Didache isn’t the guidebook – the Bible is.
I'm in the process of overcoming a sexual sin. The problem is that I can't get rid of these sinful thoughts and desires. I honestly have no clue of what to do. I pray, I read, and I study, but the desires and thoughts remain to the point where I think my head’s going to explode. What should I do?
Overcoming addiction is a difficult process because the struggle often gets worse as soon as we try to fight it, and we feel so weak at times, and the battle so insurmountable. How you are feeling right now is very normal and a sign that you are truly fighting this sin. Here are some things to consider that might help:
- Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
- Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? Sexual addictions require isolation and there are typically habits and routines involved that lead up to consummation of the sin. You may need to look to change habits, routines, and make sure you aren’t isolating yourself from real life. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).
Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.