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How To Guard Your Heart

How To Guard Your Heart

Hello dear readers! I had the honor of being asked by the Long family to write a guest post for their blog, The Long Way To Go, this week on the subject of how to guard your heart. Below is a portion of the article, but make sure to go to their site to read the rest! “Guard your heart!” I’m sure you have heard this phrase before, and you might also have found that it is easier said than done. How exactly are you supposed to guard your heart? Disclaimer: I am writing this article under the assumption that you desire emotional purity, and to save not only your body, but also your heart for your future spouse. If you don’t believe in emotional purity, this article might not make much sense to you. However, if you do desire to save yourself, then it is my desire that this article help you to obtain that goal. The concept of “guarding your heart” comes from Proverbs 4:23-27, which states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” This passage is telling us to pay close attention to the inner core of who we are as people. We are to carefully consider our thoughts, desires, and emotions—our heart—as our heart... read more
5 Ways Dating Is Legalistic

5 Ways Dating Is Legalistic

If I were to say, “Courtship is legalistic,” would you be shocked by such a claim? Probably not. We’ve all heard people say that courtship, and/or courtship advocates, are legalistic. To some extent, this is true. While I haven’t met any legalistic courtship believers, I have heard plenty of stories about them. Additionally, anything can become a form of legalism. Any belief, any idea, any thing can become an idol or source of legalism. However, there is a “system” which is far more legalistic, in general, than courtship: recreational dating. Yes, recreational dating is legalistic. Now, perhaps, you may be shocked. You don’t hear people claim dating is legalistic very often, if at all. Before I go into just how dating has become a form of legalism, first we need to define terms. What is legalism after all? There seem to be three forms of legalism today: Good works and/or obeying the Law must be done to attain salvation Good works and/or obeying the Law must be done tomaintain salvation Looking down on other Christians who do not hold to an individual’s standard of holiness. This third form of legalism is the sort of legalism most commonly thrown around today. I have never heard of anyone claiming that you must court in order to achieve or maintain salvation, but if they exist, that is pretty peculiar. However, we do have courtship/betrothal advocates being labelled legalistic because it is believed many of them look down on Christians who do not court. As I said above, this is possible. Courtship and/or betrothal can become idols. They can become legalistic. That being... read more
2014 Top 10 – My Most Popular Posts

2014 Top 10 – My Most Popular Posts

2014 has been a great year of blogging, and was also probably the most difficult year I’ve ever had–in more ways than one. However, overall, all of the difficulty and changes have been very good.I wrote most posts in the past year than in any previous year, so to recap 2014, here are my top 10 most popular posts: (click on the images to visit the posts)   10. No Hugging; Now What? A light-hearted follow-up to my series on why I don’t hug girls, seeking to find a healthy alternative.   9. Emotional Purity –Part 1 A post introducing my series on emotional purity, and why I have personally come to support the concept.           8. I Am A Sexist   My awful confession that I think men and women are different, and created for different purposes.My friends at Freejinger had fun with this one.         7. I Got a C For Defending the Bible A real life and personal example of the bias of colleges against Christians and truth. I have heard many stories about schools showing bias against Christians, but had never experienced it myself until my Intro to the New Testament class which I took at Ohio State.Thankfully, this C was not enough to tank my grade, and I still finished with an A. It wasn’t as bad as the movie “God’s Not Dead.”   6. This Pastor Hates His Children Probably the most difficult article I’ve ever written, this was inspired, again, by witnessing an article being shared around the internet by Christians praising this pastor for... read more
Your Soul Mate Doesn’t Exist

Your Soul Mate Doesn’t Exist

I have bad news for you: your soul-mate doesn’t exist. – There isn’t one person “out there” ideally suited to perfectly fit or complete you in every way. None. However, there are likely several different people whom you would be compatible with in marriage. –  This truth is made more obvious when you contemplate the horrible mess we would have if simply ONE person married the wrong “one”.  That would mean each of these two people’s real “ones” will end up marrying the wrong “ones” as well. Therefore, one person marrying the wrong “one” will lead to a devastating domino effect of broken dreams and spoiled potential. – So either we are doomed to marry the wrong “one,” or else there are multiple people out there who could be potential marriage partners.   – Isn’t this the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard?  – Somehow our culture has adopted this soulmate fantasy as truth. We might as well believe that echos are the result of a punished mountain nymph, since both stories have the same origin: Greek Mythology. – The Ancient Greeks theorized that humans were actually once androgynous, and were one being comprised of both male and female features. However, because of humanity’s pride, and in an effort to double the number of humans who would give tribute to the gods, Zeus split the humans in half. Each human would forever long for his/her literal other half; the other half of his/her soul–their soulmate.  – Still believe in soulmates?  – Another problem with the idea that there is someone out there who will perfectly fit your needs and make you happy, is... read more
Even Arranged Marriage Is Better Than Dating

Even Arranged Marriage Is Better Than Dating

Jack LaValley, a relationship coach featured in the publicity blitz, said, ” You don’t have to do it exactly like I did, but I have things to show you about how I made a successful marriage, and I wasn’t even in love with my wife when I married her.”1 – Some people are probably baffled that I’m actually going to make an argument for arranged marriage. But thanks to my friendly commenter, Wynd, who gave me the idea, I am doing just that.  – Courtship can be difficult and complicated. There are a lot of boundaries you have to follow, and it can sometimes be risky (though certainly far less risky than dating). I’ve joked to my parents a couple times that it would be so much easier if they just picked a wife for me. Although that is not what I really want, it would be a lot simpler and easier.  – I’m not going to argue that you should adopt the practice of arranged marriage, but I think there is a lot we can learn from those who do practice arranged marriage. Who knows, maybe when I’m done writing this, I’ll have convinced myself that arranged marriage is better than courtship. All I know for certain is that even arranged marriage is better than dating.  – “Really? You’re going to say that an arranged marriage is better than dating? A business deal is better than true love?”   – Yes, arranged marriage is better than dating when it comes to finding the right spouse, and it’s not even close. However, done correctly, arranged marriage is far from... read more
How To Stay Emotionally Pure In Courtship

How To Stay Emotionally Pure In Courtship

Okay, so you’ve been pure and now you are courting. What role does spiritual purity play in courtship? Most would agree you should still be physically pure, but should you still strive to be spiritually pure? I say, yes! This is because there is still a chance a courtship will not end in marriage, and should that happen, you still want to be free of baggage. – Whether or not you seek emotional intimacy in courtship, of course, depends heavily on your definition of courtship. When I refer to courtship, I am talking about a time to evaluate whether or not two people would make a good match for marriage; however, there shouldn’t be any pressure or expectation that the courtship MUST end in marriage. Even in a courtship, you should seek to remain faithful to your future spouse. Courtship is discovering whether or not you have found your future spouse. Maybe you have found them, maybe you haven’t. Since there is a chance you haven’t, you can’t jump all in yet.  Your heart shouldn’t be set on the presumption that you will marry this person, because the courtship could be stopped prior to marriage. You must still seek to be spiritually pure for your future spouse. If a courtship does not end in marriage, but those courting have both acted with purity, then the courtship is still a success.  – That being said, it’s ideal to only have to court one person, so you still only want to court someone you strongly believe you should marry. But, you could still be wrong, so don’t think just because you... read more
Why I No Longer Talk Privately to Girls Online

Why I No Longer Talk Privately to Girls Online

With my series on “emotional” purity drawing to a close, I think it would be helpful to talk about some practical solutions to maintaining emotional purity. Part 3 of this series—a guest post by Emily Long—I think provided some good tips, but I’d like to go a little bit more in depth, and also provide a couple of my own tips.  – I find it sad that many of the arguments I’ve seen leveled against Emily’s post from a couple weeks ago are arguments that I used to make myself. Yes! The beliefs held by many of these critics were beliefs I used to hold; however, it took several difficult experiences for me to finally realize the danger of communicating privately online with the opposite gender, and not striving to be emotionally pure.  – However, these experiences aren’t unique to me. In fact, I know a guy who has very similar experiences. I will call him Sam, and he has given me permission to use his story for this post.  – Sam had had very little interaction with girls until he joined an online forum full of other homeschooling Christians.  The forum happened to have a girl:guy ratio of 5:1, so by default, most of his friends were female. In the past, Sam had been rather standoffish toward girls, and he regretted that. The Bible spoke of treating each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, so that’s what he would try and do on this forum. –  Because of the similarities he shared with so many on that forum, he developed some very close friendships. He became very... read more
Is Purity Finite? – Purity Part 6

Is Purity Finite? – Purity Part 6

Part 1: What Are Your Thoughts? Part 2: What Is Emotional Purity?  Part 3: The Struggle for Emotional Purity Part 4: Is Emotional Purity Harmful? Part 5: Is Emotional Purity Biblical? – Hold this bucket of water. It’s filled with your “purity”. Every time some water accidentally sloshes out, or you intentionally take some out, you can never get it back. Every bit of water you lose out of your bucket is purity that can never be reclaimed. You have a finite amount of water. I think this is how some people view purity, even those who have rejected the notion of being pure all together.  – Often, we see purity portrayed as being finite. We all start out at full health, and as we go through life, whatever amount we lose, can never be reclaimed. There are no purity gas stations to refill. Every little bit of purity you lose from your bucket makes you just that much less pure. –  Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the issue of impurity, but to many areas of sin. We feel that we all start out good and innocent, and as our sins accumulate, we become less and less capable and deserving of the good life God has in mind for us. Indeed, we soon can begin to believe that we don’t deserve anything good, or that we have “messed up” too many times to be redeemable. This is a lie that Satan plants in our heads, not God. – I’ve talked a lot about the goodness of purity throughout this series, but what if you haven’t always been... read more
Is Emotional Purity Biblical? – Purity Part 5

Is Emotional Purity Biblical? – Purity Part 5

So far in this series, I have introduced the topic of “emotional purity”, defined what it is, we’ve looked at emotional purity from a girl’s perspective, and I have shown how many of the common arguments against emotional purity are poor or inaccurate. Now I’m going to address emotional purity from a purely Biblical perspective. Is emotional purity biblical? –  Emotional purity is frequently vilified (even by many Christians) and I find this pretty sad. Why would you want to turn down something so good? God created us to be pure, and He knows what is best for us, which is why there are so many verses and passages in the Bible instructing us to be pure. It’s for our good and the good of others. –  There seem to be many Christians who think that the idea of emotional purity is not Biblical, and that physical purity is all that matters (and there is a spectrum of belief along that front as well).  I disagree. There are many passages in the Bible that make a distinction from physical purity and purity of the heart.  – For example, Colossians 3:5, – “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”  – Sexual immorality is distinguished from “impurity.” They apparently aren’t the same thing…or maybe Paul is being redundant? Redundancy doesn’t seem to be the answer, since this same language comes up multiple times.  – Ephesians 5:5, –  “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is,... read more
Is Emotional Purity Harmful? – Purity Part 4

Is Emotional Purity Harmful? – Purity Part 4

Part 1 – Emotional Purity: What Are Your Thoughts? Part 2 – What is Emotional Purity? Part 3 – The Struggle For Emotional Purity: A Guest Post By Emily Long – “All the broken hearts in the world still beat/Let’s not make it harder than it has to be/Ohh, it’s all the same thing/Girls chase boys chase girls” – Ingrid Michaelson –  I think many people take the approach Ingrid Michaelson does in her song, “Girls Chase Boys.” What’s the big deal with emotional purity? All the broken hearts in the world still beat, let’s not make it harder than it has to be. That makes sense, right?  Emotional purity just over complicates things.– Others would go on to say that there are serious problems with the idea of emotional purity. Some mock emotional purity as unrealistic or a fantasy. “Surely emotional purity isn’t even possible in this day and age.” Others claim it is downright harmful, while still more insist that to have emotional purity you must “invent a sin” such as this article argues. –  Do these critics have a point? –  While I believe that—like all good things—the concept of emotional purity can be twisted or abused, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The idea that we are to be pure in more than just our physical actions is good, Biblical, and very possible to maintain. As I said in part 2 of this series, I believe “emotional purity” is an unfortunate term to use, since people infer it is all about controlling emotions, when it’s actually about directing our thoughts, and being wise with... read more