Choosing Purity

The world we live in today has been contaminated by an over exposure to sexual sin. Everything we watch, read and hear points to sex and purity has become unfashionable. We have become so blind that we fail to acknowledge that sexual sins have spiritual consequences. Sexual sin is so serious that it can bring weakness to anyone’s walk with God.  It is almost impossible to develop or maintain intimacy with God when we allow sin to take over our bodies.

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” Psalm 24:3-4

A major sin that many Christians battle with is lust. Lust is the root cause of many sins in our world today such as fornication, adultery, premarital sex, pornography, and homosexual relations. A popular Christian author once defined lust like this: "To lust is to want what you don't have and weren't meant to have. Lust goes beyond attraction, and appreciation of beauty, or even a healthy desire for sex—it makes these desires more important than God. Lust wants to go outside God's guidelines to find satisfaction."

Lust is the defining struggle for our generation.
Ok but, what is lust exactly? The dictionary defines lust as an intense or unrestrained sexual craving. The Bible also mentions lust in a variety of different ways but Job 31:11-12 summarises what lust is perfectly:

"For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. It is a devastating fire that destroys to hell. It would wipe out everything I own."

Lust pushes its slave (us) to continually do what pleases us. That doesn’t make sense right? How can a slave master want their slave to always do as they please? Well that’s how it works, we think we are doing what pleases us, but in reality the more we do what lust wants such as watching pornography, fornicating, dwelling on impure thoughts, the longer we stay in its bondage. When we do what lust tells us to do, the more enslaved we become, and freedom becomes harder to achieve.

Why do we struggle with lust

Promise me, do not awaken love until the time is right” Songs of Solomon 8:4

That’s the problem with our generation, we are too quick to let our emotions run wild and control us instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us. We awaken feelings and emotions before Gods appointed time and allow the devil to plant seeds of sexual desire in our minds and that now influences our actions. 
Another reason why many of us struggle with lust is because we think we won’t get caught. We believe that lust isn’t a visible sin. It’s not stealing and it’s not murder, so it’s not that big of a deal, right? So technically God has to forgive you. No!

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.Galatians 6:7-8
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” Romans 6:1-2
Modern day Christianity tells us that some sins are bigger than others so God won’t mind if you commit small sins. That’s a lie! We are also led to believe that God will always forgive as long as you keep asking. This is partially true but not completely.
 1. Sin is sin; there is no hierarchy for sin. Murder and premarital sex are both the same in Gods eyes. We shouldn’t allow the devil to trick us into thinking that some sins aren’t as important as others. 2. If you ask God for forgiveness, He will forgive. However, if you approach God with no desire to change and with the intention of staying in your sin and just asking for forgiveness when you’re done, then we have a problem. God’s forgiveness is based on true repentance. To repent means to turn away from sin completely, admit that you were wrong and decide that if you face the same temptation again, you would make the right decision.

Living A Progressive Life

A friend of mine recently took a management course online for career and personal development reasons. This somehow impacted me. We all want to keep achieving more as we grow. In our academics, we are obliged to succeed at each stage so we can move on to the next level. In our careers, we put in effort to achieve optimum outcomes so we can eventually earn some form of reward. In business, we aim to achieve great goals and reach many clients which in turn brings in more profit for us. Finally, in our families, we want our family members to prosper in all they do.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you
(Matthew 6:33)

However, the main area we need to be progressive with in is our spiritual life and connection with God. As we grow physically, we need to realise that all these achievements are God's will for us and we need to keep nurturing our relationship with Him alongside all we do. God is responsible as our heavenly father for providing our needs and helping us achieve our life goals while we are also obliged as His children to acknowledge His presence and will over our lives.

The way we feel about having our regular meals and health checks is the way we should feel about spending time in God's word. Our daily meditation is very essential for us to grow closer to God everyday. The benefits of keeping a constant and growing relationship with God tremendously outweighs the outcome of living a neutral lifestyle. God has a way of making all the happenings around us work out for our good. He can turn the greatest of disappointments into opportunities. Our aims and objectives can be achieved with the least effort on our part just because we have dedicated our life to His will. When we spend time meditating on His word everyday, He acknowledges such acts and also keeps us under His watch, He releases our mind from all sorts of worries, anxieties or fear of the unknown.

And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in (Isaiah  58:11-12).

As we therefore go about our daily lives, aiming for our various goals, let's consider bringing Christ into all our affairs. Let's ask Him to teach us because we do not know how to proceed without Him. Let's practice regular communication with God through our prayers. Let's spend time meditating on God's word as we will always find a scripture that will lead us in the right path. Let's make a plan of how close we intend to be with Jesus Christ as we grow. Let's trust in Him to make our paths smooth and void of fear, worries and anxiety.

God bless

Michael, Contributor 
Hey!! I'm from Osun State in South-West Nigeria. I am a Computer-Science graduate and I am currently studying for a postgraduate qualification in Information Technology while working as an IT Projects Engineer!! I am a firm believer in God Almighty and I enjoy living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I love sharing my written pieces through my social media pages and hope to share them with you guys too! My watchword is – "With God, all things are possible".

7 Lessons I've Learned A Year On From Graduation

So its been a year since I graduated, its been an interesting journey to say the least. I definitely do not feel like I’ve got everything together but I am confident that God’s got this.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29

 1. Stop trying to figure it out

Once you graduate everyone expects you to have it all figured out. Some people do, but the majority of us don't. However it's not the end of the world if you don't. In spite of what your aunt’s husband’s cousins neighbours best friend says, you don't need to have the next 10 years planned out. Over the last year, I’ve found that even if you don't have everything planned out, figure out what you definitely don't want to do. This will help you make sure that you don't just accept the first mediocre opportunity that comes your way. It’s extremely common to see that new graduates (including myself) tend to grab the first thing that comes so they can seem like they know what they’re doing. 

"There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" Proverbs 14:12 

There's nothing wrong with taking time out to seek God about your next steps.

    2.   Quality over Quantity

People always say that the friends you make at university stay with you for life. That's very true, to a certain extent.  I saw my uni friends everyday, we lived together, went to church together, fellowshipped together, and had our fair share of arguments. Sound familiar? Fast forward, a year down the line, dynamics have changed. There is no way you can manage to spend that much time with the same people all the time when you leave uni. And if you don't prepare your mind for this beforehand, it will hit you like a ton of bricks. Evaluate your relationships, make sure they're built on a solid foundation. If they are, even if you don't speak everyday, you can be rest assured that you're still friends, chill!  

Also, remember that thing your parents used to tell you, quality over quantity? It's true! As you leave university, you will also begin to realise that the squad doesn't need to be big. Three solid friends that can support you through tough times are better than ten friends that are only available during the good times.  

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” Proverbs 17:17

3.   Contentment Complacency 

As Christians, we love to use the word contentment but at the same time we fear it. 
The Bible defines contentment as “an internal satisfaction, which does not demand changes in external circumstances”. While complacency can be described as “a self-satisfied state of negligence or carelessness, especially in relation to one’s personal situation. See the difference? 

If you are a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, peace of heart and mind should be yours to enjoy. Your heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine. He has limitless resources and, as a minimum, will give to us according to our actual need. Just because you are satisfied with your portion in this season, does not mean you have become complacent and have “flopped” in life.

Although, there are times in the graduate journey, where you will feel like you've made it. You've got that job, earning a "decent" wage, you can buy what you want when you want. When that happens you need to take several seats and stop because that's not where God wants you to be, He has greater in store. However the problem with us is that we never see beyond our 9-5. We get comfortable and think that this is it. It's never it! Our God is the creator of heaven and earth so it's never it! We are called to greater. But that is not to say that we should live in constant anticipation of what the next season holds. Enjoy your current season and know that God has a great plan and future for you, which he will reveal in his time. 

“Be content with such things as you have” means as believers such should be our trust and confidence in God that we should be satisfied with our condition regardless of our circumstances. For we know assuredly that if we are faithful God will cause all things to work together for our good” Romans 8:28

Seasoned by Seasons

I woke up with one of my friends on my heart.  She had appeared in my dream last night.  After texting her to see how she was doing, I reminded her how sometimes we run into some hard seasons but faith is one of the main reasons why we can’t give up!  This definitely wasn’t a coincidence because she expressed how grateful she was for the thought and encouraging words! 

A few hours later during church service, the praise and worship team’s last song was “Don’t Do It Without Me” by Bishop Paul S. Morton.  Majority of the song says “whatever you’re doing in this season, don’t do it without me”.  The song continues to ask God not to leave them out of any blessings or healings that He might perform in this season.  Later that evening, one of my close friends sent a message in a group text praising a writing piece of mine she had read and encouraging us to trust God in the various seasons of our lives. 

One day, three different encounters, all hitting on the same main point.  SEASONS.  After the text from my last friend, I sat there pondering on all three occurrences.  This was certainly not a coincidence. For the past few months I had been struggling, questioning my current season.  I had been praying about what to do, how to think, and most of all asking God for comfort and encouragement if He didn’t give me anything else!  After meditating and reflecting, the Holy Spirit reminded me of two points: 

1. All seasons aren’t going to be favorable, pretty or easy.
2. No matter what season we are in we have to embrace it!
Bishop Morton’s song focuses on not leaving him out on any healings or any other blessings from God.  Yes, I don’t want Him to leave me out of a blessing, but I also don’t want God to leave me out of a LESSON!  Most times when we refer to blessings, the first things that come to mind are the beautiful experiences.  We shouldn’t want God to leave us out of ANY season He’s planned for us, favorable or not!  

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