Question:

Hi,

I’m a female in her twenties who considers herself a Christian. I’ve had an interest in God since I was a little girl. No one went to church in my family but me. I bring hope to my family. They look up to me because of God. I know it’s not my work, but I rely on God for all that He’s done and continues to do in my life.

Despite my reading and having an understanding from a young age, I didn’t have the proper fear of the Lord to be obedient to Him, and I wasn’t ready to fully surrender my life to Him. I kept one foot in and one foot out.

I had an epiphany just a few months ago. I woke up feeling greatly ashamed and sorrowful for everything I was doing against God. I cried my eyes out and pleaded for forgiveness. Specifically, for having sex with this one guy who I don’t love or trust, but I convinced myself “it’s ok if I keep sex just between me and him and not sleep around.”

Once I repented, everything about me changed. I’m no longer the same person. I stopped going to clubs, bars, and drinking. I changed my wardrobe to modest clothing, and a lot of other things to help me focus on God and not get so caught up on worldly things. I was doing great. I’ve repented before in the past but never had obedience or a proper fear of the Lord. It was different this time. I have a much greater understanding. I removed that guy out of my life but he’s here again and I was confident in my new strength in the Lord. It has been six months and I was sure I was never going to fornicate again. But I did. With that same guy. I fought the temptation but I didn’t give it my all. A little part of me was feeding into it. Next thing you know, it happened!

Immediately, I put a pillow over my head and started crying. I knew what I was doing. I thought it through before it actually happened. But I can’t believe it! I am devastated. I’m sick to my stomach. What does that mean about me as a Christian? Do I really love God or have fear of the Lord? Am I really a Christian? But most of all, will I be forgiven again for this horrible sin that I pleaded for forgiveness before and changed my life around because of it? I don’t know what to think about myself anymore. I knew better this time.

I have never been one to want things sugar-coated to me either. I need to know because this is serious to me. I thought I loved the Lord, but how can I go back on such a thing if I love Him? I haven’t been baptized yet. I wanted to practice obedience first and I’ve been praying and relying on God to lead me when it’s time. I trust the process, but I don’t know how to feel about myself after this. I don’t want to give up. I’m willing to sacrifice as much as possible but I get confused about what I should be sacrificing, how much to sacrifice, and if God is still going to forgive me. I know salvation isn’t based off of my works but I fear doing too little or too much.

Thank you for your response. I greatly appreciate it and sorry for rambling.

Answer:

There are two issues I would like to address with you.

You see yourself as a Christian, but you have never fully submitted to the Lord. "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). For most of your life, you trusted that being "good" was good enough. But you lived a worldly life. You finally realized that you can't reach heaven by chasing after the world, but you still hold off doing what God commands because you want to wait. Thus, by putting off your baptism, you continue to show that you aren't approaching this with a "not my will but Yours" attitude.

Forgiveness of sins comes after doing what God says you must do, which includes baptism. "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7). I would like you to read:

The second problem is that you were focused on not committing fornication again, but you allowed sins to occur that led up to fornication. Fornication starts long before sexual intercourse occurs. There is the lust for sex, the sexual touching, the lewd behavior, the sexual talk, etc. that all simulate sexual desire. You tried to wait until just before the act to say, "No," but by that time you were not thinking clearly because you were sexually aroused. "Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14).

Related to this was an overabundance of pride. You thought because you made a mental commitment that this was enough to hold off temptation. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). When you know you have a vulnerability in a certain area, the proper response is to stay as far from it as possible. You should never trust yourself to be stronger than Satan -- he will always find a weak point. When you allow yourself to be prideful because of past successes, you drop your guard.

You were right to get rid of this man because he was a source of temptation for you, but you allowed him back into your life. He doesn't care about your commitments, he wants sex, so he will keep chipping at your defenses until you let him in.

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