Waging Battle for Your Sexuality
About the Guest
Are you prepared for battle? Author Marian Jordan Ellis once felt like God could never love a girl like her, especially with all she had done. And then she met the Savior. Marian sounds the battle call to single women who are tired of always giving in to sexual temptation. Marian assures them they can be victorious in this spiritual battle if they'll resist the lies of the enemy and listen to God's marching orders instead.
Marian Jordan EllisMarian's powerful testimony of coming to brokenness and emptiness and her dynamic account of the gentle mercy and forceful grace of Christ who called her into His love, permeates all of her writings and speaking engagements. Whole in Christ and ready to tell any ear that will listen, Marian has a passion for leading others to her Redeemer. She is a dynamic speaker that leaves indelible marks on her audience... painful rib cages from laughter, and mind-searing impressions of being so-dead-on t...more
Author Marian Jordan Ellis once felt like God could never love a girl like her. And then she met the Savior. Marian sounds the call to single women who are tired of giving in to sexual temptation.
Waging Battle for Your Sexuality
Bob: Marian Jordan Ellis remembers reading in 1 Peter where Peter urges us to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul.
Marian: I read that verse, and it’s like the light bulb went on. God let me see that this battle over sexual purity was a war that was being waged over my soul. And then, I didn’t just see it for myself. I began to see it for every woman of my generation. If the enemy can’t take our salvation, he sure wants to take our destinies. What an easy way to do that—is to detour God’s daughters into sexual sin.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, July 31st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today about how young single women can do battle with lust.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. How often are you consciously aware—do you think—of the fact that life is lived out in the midst of spiritual battle?
Dennis: I don’t think enough. I honestly believe most of us, as followers of Christ, are a little naïve about the spiritual battle that is swirling around us. Barbara and I were talking about that over the weekend. I just said: “You know, I’m just looking at what’s taking place in our lives—and you just wonder, ‘What percent of this is our own stupidity / our own flesh? What part is the world, and what part of the battle we’re in is a spiritual battle of an enemy that wants to take us out?’”
And we’ve got a guest with us who has been a part of that spiritual battle.
Marian Jordan Ellis joins us again on the broadcast. Marian, welcome back.
Marian: It’s great to be here.
Dennis: She and her husband Justin live in San Antonio. Go Spurs! I’ll say it before Bob does. [Laughter] She is the founder of Redeemed Girl Ministries. In fact, why don’t you explain to our listeners what Redeemed Girl Ministries is all about?
Marian: Well, we like to say that Redeemed Girl—it’s not an age—it’s an identity. It’s about women being transformed by the love and grace of Jesus Christ. And the word, redeemed, means to buy something back and restore it to its original intent.
I firmly believe that there are two paths a life can take. God says that He has a plan that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can conceive for those who love Him. But you know what? The enemy also has an agenda to steal, kill, and destroy. I believe Jesus specializes in redeeming girls whom the enemy has taken captive. So, we provide resources, podcasts, teaching, events—all types of things—to focus on those women whose lives need to be transformed by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Dennis: And that’s why you also wrote the book, Sex and the Single Christian Girl. You tell a story, in the book, about a young lady who was standing in line, after you spoke, to speak with you—who had gone to college. Share with our listeners how she got side-swiped in the spiritual battle.
Marian: Absolutely. So, Dennis, I do an event called Girl’s Night Out, which is an evangelistic event on college campuses. I partner a great deal with Campus Crusade and other ministries. Oftentimes, I will be meeting with women who accepted Christ that night; but what I’ve increasingly seen is that there will be a line at my book table of other girls.
One night, there was a girl, in particular, at a very famous campus in the South—that is kind of one of your golden Bible belt schools. She was at my table, just weeping her eyes out. From the outside, she looked like every parent’s dream.
She was beautiful. She was polished. She had 4.0 written all over her. She says to me: “I know Jesus. I’ve been raised in the church. My dad took me to my purity ball. I grew up on Veggie Tales and True Love Waits, and I spend the night every night at my boyfriend’s apartment. I put my purity ring on his bedside table.” She said, “I do not know how I got here, and I do not know how to get out of here.”
That night I realized, “There is a war going on over God’s daughters.” I’d experienced it enough myself, but I thought maybe it’s just me—maybe this war is just my war. Then, I began to see that the majority of women with whom I talk to are girls who have accepted the gospel—they’ve accepted Jesus—they know what the Bible says, but they do not know how to live out this life of purity.
So, they are stuck in shame and failure; and they feel defeated. Then, they begin to listen to the lies of the enemy and say, “You might as well keep on doing it.”
Bob: What are those lies? What takes a young woman, who wants to be pure, to head into compromise? What’s she believing that she’s—what’s she falling for?
Marian: You know Stu Weber said that every Christian is a walking battlefield. I think we need to realize that we have a battle on three fronts. We have the world that we live in—which is the culture that says: “It’s just sex. It’s no big deal.” And every day, it gets worse. So, we have that part of the battlefield.
Then, we have our own flesh. As Christians, we have to recognize that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit—which makes us the temple of God—but we also have our old sinful nature that we have to deal with. Then, finally, I believe we also have the enemy—who is strategic, and seductive, and who targets temptations at believers to get them to detour from God’s plan and God’s will.
For me, coming to realize that these battlefields exist helped me understand that a girl’s just not like Brittany Spears and saying, “Oops, I did it.” There was something going on in her life that led to that moment, and her being unaware of the battle does not excuse her from the war.
Bob: And I guess the question is: “What is typically going on? What’s the subtly? What’s the bullet the enemy is firing—or the thing in our flesh that he’s appealing to?”
Marian: Okay, so, several things. I would say, first of all, the Bible teaches us that we have to have renewed minds. When a Christian girl has a relationship with God, but her mind is not constantly being renewed by God’s Word, she’s very susceptible to the lies which are Satan’s temptations to lead us into sin. I would say that would be the entry point—is the mind.
But there is also, what I would say, the soft fertile ground of a woman’s identity—that if that’s not formed and shaped—it makes an easy access point for the enemy to come in with those lies which would lure her away. So, in the world—where a girl is believing that her identity is as a sexual object—it doesn’t matter if she is a redeemed daughter of God—but if she sees herself the way the world sees her: “This is what makes me lovable if I’m desired sexually,”—then, in the moment of temptation, what the enemy’s going to do is target that place of insecurity in her so that she will be led into sexual sin.
Dennis: One of the things you do in your book is you quote John MacArthur on temptation—
Dennis: —and I just think this is worth repeating right here. John MacArthur said, “Every temptation directly or indirectly is the temptation to doubt and distrust God.” You go on to say:
“Satan taunts us: ‘Obedience to God’s command keeps you from the desires of your heart. True happiness can be found in this detour.’ He’s tempting us to get off track and to go in search of happiness and fulfillment without God.”
Marian: Absolutely. Can I be vulnerable for a minute?
Marian: I came to Christ at 25, and I fell in love with Jesus—and I’m saying like butterflies / goose pimples. I loved Jesus. I wanted everything in my being to honor God with my body. It was a no-brainer for me. I had come out of that darkness, and I was single-minded—vision on Jesus.
I never thought purity would be a struggle for me. Can I be honest? I’m saying that was probably spiritual pride because I’d lived in the darkness—I’m, now, living in the light. I thought, “I’m going to sail to my wedding day and never think twice about this,” because I honestly loved God.
But being single for 15 years after I trusted Christ—I didn’t get married until I was 38—I went through several relationships. While my love for God did give me that passion and desire to live for Him, the struggle became real because I, too, have flesh. I, too, live in the world.
Marian: I, too, face temptation. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I began to realize there is something going on outside of me that does not want me to honor God. There is something else that’s going on here. Then, I was reading God’s Word. I was in my quiet time; and I was reading 1 Peter, Chapter 2—which I had probably read this passage a hundred times. In this passage, Peter says—you know, his famous words—“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation of people for God’s own possession.” So, he begins to tell God’s people again: “This is who you are. This is who you are.”
He keeps going on to describe this world we live in that’s darkness and how we are going to be tempted and buffeted by temptations.
Then, the money verse for me was this—he said, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which”—wait for it—“wage war against your soul.” I read that verse, and it’s like the light bulb went on. God let me see that this battle over sexual purity was a war that was being waged over my soul.
Then, I didn’t just see it for myself. I began to see it for every woman of my generation. If the enemy can’t take our salvation, he sure wants to take our destinies. He sure wants to take our marriages. He sure wants to take our lives. What an easy way to do that—is to detour God’s daughters into sexual sin.
I realized: “I am fighting something greater than just my own flesh here.
“I am fighting something greater than just the rom-com world that wants to brainwash me. There is an agenda—an agenda— that wants to detour me into this.” Then, I realized: “I’ve got to wise up and fight. It’s those wars who want to wage war against your soul.” You know what? I lived in his prison camp; and I said: “Not again! I’m not going back.” So, I dug into this Bible. God began to reveal to me what this war looks like and how to win it by His power and His truth.
Dennis: One of the ways you chose to fight the war was to identify those lies—
Dennis: —that you had women articulating to you that they had believed. In our time remaining, let’s just quickly go through these lies and share with our listeners: “What is the enemy’s strategy?” because I think we don’t realize what’s coming at us. If we can spot the lie, when it’s stated, we can call it what it is.
But if we are unaware, then, we can be caught off guard by these lies.
Marian: When Satan came to Eve, he didn’t come to her with a fishing hook. He came to her with an idea / a proposition—her mind. That’s exactly what he still does today. He comes with thoughts in our mind—and those are from culture / from everything else—but every temptation begins in the mind. So, when I began to categorize these lies that women believe—and the ones that I was, as a Bible-teaching Christian author / speaker—hearing myself, as I was dating, as a Christian woman—I began to recognize what his lies were.
The first one, I would say, is: “But we’re in love. So, it’s okay.” You know, I—I remember meeting my husband / becoming my fiancé and beginning to doubt: “Did God really say that sex outside of marriage is wrong? We love each other.”
Then, I would stop and think: “Am I being possessed. What’s going on here? I know what God’s Word says. Where did that thought come from?” It’s this strong, powerful suggestion that says: “But you’re in love. But you’re in love, and that’s what people in love do.” I have to stop and go: “No, God didn’t say love was the standard. God said a covenant was the standard.” But it was so subtle and so strong that I had to realize: “That’s not from me—that is coming from somewhere.”
Dennis: And then, the second lie comes—that you write about: “But we’re going to get married someday.”
Marian: Right. And especially as women are getting engaged—or even telling themselves that. A lot of girls will tell, “Well, if we’re sexual activity, he’ll marry me.” I think that’s common for Christian girls to tell themselves that—to make themselves feel better about it.
But one of the biggest lies in our culture—our culture has rewritten sex, of course. We know that because sex was designed to be an image of the covenant of God and a picture of our relationship.
It’s a—you know, marriage is so under attack by the enemy. So, what sex is—the enemy hates God’s design. So, one of the biggest lies that women hear today is: “Sex is not that big of a deal.” So, women have to learn what God’s design is / what God’s design for covenant is—and in that—that’s a strong, powerful stance against the lie of the enemy.
Bob: I think there are a lot of young women who are believing: “If I don’t compromise in this area, I’ll lose this guy”—
Bob: —“and I really don’t want to lose this guy. I don’t want to lose what I’m enjoying from this relationship.” So, they’ll give in just to try to keep the benefits—whatever those benefits of the relationship are.
Marian: Yes. A lot of those benefits are their own emotional security and the identity they are deriving from that person. And for me, it began to be a litmus test for the type of man I wanted.
If a guy was going to expect sex before marriage—and a lot of so-called Christian guys do—then, that told me the type of man I was getting.
Bob: So, a young woman, who’s showing up at the singles group at her church and thinking, “This is a safe place”—
Marian: Oh, that’s so dangerous!
Bob: —“because I’m here with Christian guys.”
Marian: Right. And I saw a lot of new girls getting eaten up by wolves that way.
Bob: What’s the deal with the guys? I mean, maybe you need to write that book; huh?
Dennis: Well, having had a few conferences for Christian singles—I can tell you there are guys who know where to find the quality women. They come to a church single group or to a single conference. They can masquerade for a weekend or for a Sunday as a “follower of Christ,” but it doesn’t take long for their real motives and their real character to be revealed.
Marian: And I just want to give a shout out to the good guys out there who love Jesus. My husband was one and went dateless for a long time when he was a high school and college guy—who did love Jesus and did want purity. This may be a longer conversation than we have time for—but a lot of women don’t like the good guys—and a lot of Christian women too. And—
Dennis: What do you mean by that?
Marian: It’s back to that brainwashing of the mind that I was talking about earlier. This is a longer conversation—but when you have been fed the lie that you are trash—that when a guy begins to be kind, and honoring, and gentle, and Christ-like—the girl who has come from the world, who is now a believer, does not know how to respond to that. I will say that God had to do a renewing of my mind but also a healing in my heart to be able to receive a pure and Christ-like love from a godly man and to not reject that.
I think a lot of women, who come to Christ later in life, have that same kind of baggage. So, they are in the church too. They are being pursued by godly men who do want to honor them, but they don’t know how to receive that. And I would say to a woman listening, who—maybe you find yourself in that category—there is probably some work of healing that God wants to do in your heart so that you could see yourself as a beloved daughter who is worthy of being treated in a good way by a godly man. I had to go through that kind of healing in my life. I am in a marriage that is a miracle today because the girl I was at 25 would never have married a godly man like this.
You know, there are wolves in every congregation, but there are also good guys in every congregation. I would say—for me—prayer and discernment would be the two biggest tools I would suggest for godly women—
—prayer that you would be protected—you know Jesus tells us to pray that we would not be led into temptation—so, prayer. And discernment—to watch a man’s character and to value yourself enough in Christ that you would be willing to wait for God’s best.
Bob: Don’t you think that godly guys sometimes look boring or just not very exciting?
Marian: And I think that’s part of that—
Bob: That brainwashing?
Dennis: The good guy.
Marian: Yes, the good guy. And I’m a champion of the good guys. My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I like to tell people I married George Bailey. I want to champion the good guys out there who love God and who are trying to do it right. I believe in them. You know? [Laughter]
Dennis: You just mentioned the magic word. If there was—
Bob: It’s a Wonderful Life.
Dennis: —Wonderful Life. There’s this thing that comes down from the ceiling because Bob’s only seen it about 578 times there.
Bob: Yes, we’re together on that one.
Dennis: We just gave each other five.
Let me just read this passage just to remind our listeners what God thinks about what we’re talking about here. It’s in 1 Corinthians 6, verse 18: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God? You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” That’s the call. That’s the vision.
Bob: And the truth is—I can’t hear anyone quote that verse anymore without this song popping up in my head from Passport2Purity®. In fact, Keith, cue up the song if you would.
When we put together the Passport2Purity resource for parents to use with their preteens to help address these issues of purity before adolescence comes around, we thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if some of these key verses from Scripture would get lodged in our head because of music?” So, we went to our friends at Seeds Family Worship. They wrote some songs and produced them. This is the one they did for this verse from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6.
[Seeds Family Worship singing Not Your Own]
Bob: You know, you get a verse like that put to music and it just—it sticks. That’s what we hope happens with a lot of 11- and 12- and 13-year-olds as Mom and Dad take them on a Passport2Purity getaway this summer or this fall—that they memorize some Scripture, and they have some great conversations about dating, and the birds and the bees, and adolescence, and how all of that’s going to work together.
You can find out more about Passport2Purity when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the homepage—where it says, “GO DEEPER.” There is information there about Passport2Purity; and of course, information about Marian Jordan Ellis’ book, Sex and the Single Christian Girl: Fighting for Purity in a Rom-Com World. You can order her book from us, online, as well.
Again, our website: FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER,” for information on Marian’s book and for information on the Passport2Purity resource. You can also call to order either of these resources—call 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
You know, you think about what we’ve been talking about today and about how countercultural it is—I mean, we live in a culture that has become inundated with all kinds of messages related to human sexuality that are in direct opposition to what the Bible has declared for centuries. Our goal here, at FamilyLife, is to stand firm—to remind and reinforce biblical truth when it comes to issues like purity—any issue that affects marriage and family relationships.
Our goal is to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world, one home at a time. And we appreciate those of you who share that goal with us—who support this ministry—who keep this radio program on this station and on our network of stations, all across the country—online, on our mobile apps. You do it with your donations, and we’re grateful for your support.
Today, if you make a donation, we’d love to send you a CD from Dennis Rainey talking about the importance of a spiritual foundation in a marriage relationship. This is a message from an I Still Do™ event a number of years ago. You can request the CD when you make an online donation. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click in the upper right-hand corner of the screen where it says, “I Care.” Make an online donation. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make a donation over the phone, and ask for the CD from Dennis Rainey. Or if you’d prefer to mail a donation, our mailing address is P O
Box 7111, Little Rock, AR.
And our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we are going to talk about your last dating relationship—the last guy you went out with before you got married—and that would be your husband. We’ll talk about how you fought for purity in that relationship as you guys began thinking about marriage. I hope our listeners can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
©Song: Not Your Own
Artist: Seeds Family Worship
Album: Passport2Purity (p) 2012
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