One of the enemyʼs favorite lies is, “Wanting it is the same as falling for it. And you know you want it. So you might as well give up.”

In truth, wanting to satisfy some fleshly desire is the most ordinary and common thing in the world. And, anything we do to fight any of it is a victory worth celebrating. Itʼs natural, in the most literal sense, to want something wrong. You have a sinful nature. (So do I.) It takes submission to something supernatural – Godʼs Spirit – to not just go the way youʼre wired.

Unka Glen Fitzjerrell from September ‘12 Bridge Box devotional.

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Is Setting Boundaries Backfiring?

Anonymous asked:

Hi There! Thanks for having such an awesome blog and ministry! I have a question regarding relationships. I have spent a lot of time praying, and it is clear to me that God also wants me to guard my heart and to be careful when it comes to being physical. However, when it comes to relationships now, this is very difficult to explain to guys that I try to become close with. Usually all goes well, and then the discussion about boundaries arises, and I explain how this can be a struggle for myself, and that I need to be careful, so as a couple, we might have to wait longer to explore some of the other physical stuff, even though both of us may have gone farther in the past. And after that discussion, between a day, a week, or a month, the guy is backs out, and I am left alone again square one. Am I doing this totally wrong, or am I just paranoid? Because of this pattern, I have been scared of how to approach the boundary thing in the future. Help? Advice? Please? (Edited for length)

I answered:

I am so sorry that these guys are bailing on you. However, that is way overshadowed by how amazing and awesome it is that you are setting boundaries and sticking to them. You are, as far as I can tell, doing everything right. You are being up front and honest, and maintaining your boundaries.

This may seem like an odd thing to say, but your situation is setting boundaries working well. I know it doesn’t necessarily feel like that, but it is true. We have to define our goals in order to know what success is, The goal of dating is not to simply be in any old jacked up relationship with any person who comes along. The goal is to have fun, and to find someone you want to move forward with. Someone who is not going to call you back because you tell them you aren’t going to have sex with them is not someone you want to move forward with. They are doing you a favor by revealing their true colors so you can move on to someone else.

One thing to take a look at is: what kind of guys are you dating? If these guys aren’t Christians, then the problems start right there. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to figure out what you want from a relationship before jumping into dating. You are also under no obligation to date everyone who asks.

Setting boundaries will sometimes drive people away. That is kind of the point on some level. If your boundaries are sensible (which your’s absolutely are) then that acts as a shortcut to keep people out of your life who have no place there in the first place. You are on the right track, don’t get discouraged. You just need to keep an eye on what success is to realize you are having it.

-Matt from The Bridge

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People are always going to have an opinion on what you should be doing (which is a different thing form offering wisdom). You have to decide who doesn’t get a say, otherwise you will drive yourself nuts trying to please everyone. You get a say, people directly involved (like a significant other) get a say and Jesus gets the final say.

Jed Brewer on episode 48 of the Say That podcast

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With everything the enemy puts before you to tempt you, there is a revelation— this is your weakness, this is one of the things most likely to take you out, your desire for this thing is the most important thing for you to eliminate from your life.

In other words, the Devil has handed you a blueprint for what areas of your Walk need work. A smart man takes that blueprint, sits down with a pastor or mentor, and starts developing a strategy on how to fix the gaps in the armor.

Unka Glen Fitzjerrell from The September ‘12 Bridge Box Devotional

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You Are A Work in Progress, and That is Okay

This Christmas season I noticed a common theme among some of the classic Christmas stories like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. They all have a common plot device (spoiler alert for stories 169, 66, and 55 years old): the protagonist’s life is forever turned around once they have their big emotional experience and finally understand what Christmas is all about. The turn around is total, instant, and there are no doubters.

I think one of the reasons we love those stories is because we wish things worked that way. That one day, we would finally hear the right sermon, read the right book, or pray the right prayer, and that would finally put us over the brink and there would be no looking back. But, that is not the way life works, not the way walking with Jesus works.

We want the bright light from above that is going to illuminate the whole thing, our entire life, but we don’t get that. Psalm 119:105 says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Imagine walking along a totally dark road, with a flashlight that only lit the ground right in front of you. You would have to take things one step at a time.

Walking with Jesus is about taking things slowly and one thing at a time. That is why Jesus commands “do not worry about tomorrow”. It is easy to yearn for that Scrooge/Grinch moment where everything falls into place and we become a completely different person, but that is a trap. God is not frustrated with you being a work in progress and you shouldn’t be either.

-Matt from The Bridge

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Judging your emotions only leads to an emotional snowball: ‘I feel bad about how I felt, now I feel bad for feeling bad, now I am angry about feeling bad about feeling…’ and so on it goes. At some point you have to declare ‘we have hit the limit, I have felt all the feelings, everybody out of the pool.’ You need to acknowledge your emotions to start moving on, but getting lost in them doesn’t do any good.

Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 48 of the Say That podcast

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“There has been, in the entire history of the world, exactly one person who walked the Earth without sinning. That was Jesus. Everybody else falls into the category of “sinner”, and there are no degrees or subcategories, just sinners. That includes pastors and grandmas and Christian book writers.

So pointing out that a human being is a sinner is like pointing out that water is wet. People do not need someone to point out there sin, they need someone who knows what to do about it, they need a savior. If you only point out the problem and don’t point them to the solution, you haven’t actually done any help. That is not the way Jesus interacted with people.”

-From The October ‘12 Bridge Box Bible Study