Want to know if there is still hope for a beautiful, God-scripted love story? As we turn in repentance from past mistakes and receive His forgiveness, it’s not too late to experience God’s best for us in the area of romantic relationships. Join Leslie as she shares about the beauty of experiencing God’s restoration in the area of compromised purity from her own story, and shares transforming biblical truth that will give you bright hope in God’s very best for your future!
Leslie Ludy: Hey, everyone! It’s Leslie Ludy, host of the Set Apart Girl Podcast: Biblical Encouragement for Women of All Ages. I’m really excited about today’s topic because I know it’s an issue that so many women struggle with – how to experience God’s restoration, specifically in the area of compromise in purity and relationships.
This month we have an online course at our website BraveheartedChristian.com called Secrets to an Amazing Love Story, and it goes through laying the foundation for a Christ-centered romance and how to love your spouse even before you meet them. A lot of people, when they hear about a God-scripted love story, laying the foundation for a Christ-centered romance, or loving your spouse before you meet them, they immediately start to feel guilt, shame, and disqualified from having a God-scripted love story.
Ironically, even though Eric and I have written books on relationships and we wrote our love story in a book and we have a book called When God Writes Your Love Story, sometimes people don’t realize that we actually came from backgrounds where we had a lot of compromise in this area of our lives. So many people fall into the trap of thinking that they are disqualified from God being center stage in this area or scripting a beautiful love story for them because of mistakes that they’ve made in the past. If that were true, Eric and I certainly wouldn’t have experienced a God-scripted love story. Both of us are testimonies of God’s redemption, grace, and renewed purity that comes when you simply take the mistakes of the past, lay them at the feet of Jesus, allow Him to make you new and wash you clean, give Him the pen, and let Him script the story from this day forward. That’s what Eric and I experienced, and I want to share with you some practicals if you’re struggling with guilt and shame over past mistakes.
Our relationship was very set apart, but before we met each other, we both came from situations where we grew up in Christian homes, we went to youth group, we sort of knew how to go through the motions of the right way to build a relationship, but we – both of us – approached purity from a selfish vantage point.
I remember growing up with the question “How far is too far?” and that became my mentality. How close to that edge can I get? Rather than asking the question, “How far can I possibly go to please God and honor my future spouse?” Because we lived that way with that selfish attitude, our lives became marked by sin, impurity, and compromise. Both of us gave our hearts, minds, emotions, and even physical purity carelessly away in temporary flings – even though we were technically doing it the “Christian way.” I used to look at purity sort of like the edge of a cliff, and as long as I didn’t fall off, I felt like I was still keeping my purity. But really, I was all the way on the very edge of that cliff and deep down I knew that I had already given so much away that was meant to be kept sacred.
It’s Never Too Late to Experience Restoration
Leslie Ludy: By the time I caught a vision for the amazing purity and amazing beauty of a Christ-centered, God-scripted love story, I honestly did feel like it was too late for me to ever experience that. Even though I had technically kept my abstinence commitment throughout my young adult years, I realized that my purity had been forsaken a long time ago. I had allowed the treasure of my heart, my emotions, and my physical body to be trampled on time and time again, and I felt very unworthy of a God-written love story.
But God began to show me through His Word and through my times with Him that I could be washed completely clean. I could be restored, I could be made new if I was willing to repent and turn from the path that I had been walking down and truly receive His forgiveness. I could be set free from all the baggage of the past and cleansed from the impurity I had allowed into my life. And I could experience the pure, God-scripted love story that He had planned for me through the power of His grace and redemption.
Now God-scripted love stories are not just for people who have never made mistakes. If they were, Eric and I certainly wouldn’t have had a God-scripted love story. The very reason that Christ sacrificed everything for us was to offer us the chance to be restored, washed clean, and given a hope and a future. I love the statement that Jesus makes when the Scribes and the Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners.
They said to his disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” [And] when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mar. 2:16-17).
That is such an incredible statement to show that we are not disqualified from the grace and the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. In fact, when we’ve made mistakes, we’re right in the very place that we need to be to receive His restoration. So if you feel that you’ve really made too many mistakes to experience a beautiful, God-scripted story, I want to assure you that it’s never too late to be restored and made new by the amazing, cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
It’s important to realize, as we’ve talked about in other podcasts, that repentance means turning and walking the other direction. Once you awaken to the fact that you’re headed over a cliff, you simply need to stop, turn, ask for God’s forgiveness, and by His grace – by His enabling power – head in the other direction. Once you have repented and received His forgiveness, there’s no reason to look back or second guess your position as His child that has been forgiven. You shouldn’t expect a second-rate version of romance. Once you’ve been restored by Jesus Christ, you are clothed in His righteousness and you’re entitled to all the benefits of His Kingdom. Your forgiveness is complete! Your sin is removed as far away from you as the east is from the west! (See Psalm 103:12.)
And as I’ve talked about in other podcasts, we so often get hung up on this idea, “Well, I just can’t forgive myself.” Really the issue is not in forgiving yourself, it’s agreeing with God. When you’ve repented and turned, when you’ve asked His forgiveness and He’s washed you clean, the Bible says your sin is as far away from you as the east is from the west, and you’ve become a new creation in Him (see 2 Cor. 5:17). If you’ve been plagued by past mistakes and compromise in the area of purity, I want to offer you some biblical advice that can really help lead to that complete restoration and healing.
Step 1: Repent and Turn
Leslie Ludy: The first practical is to repent and turn. Now we’ve already talked about this a little, but I’m going to go a little bit deeper into it. Jesus said that, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable … that one of your members [should] perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable that one of your members [should] perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:29-30).
He tells us that once we awaken to the fact that we’ve allowed sin into our lives, we shouldn’t continue doing the things that led to that stumble in the first place. So if you’re an alcoholic, you should no longer go to bars and drink beer. If you’re addicted to pornography on the internet, you shouldn’t spend hours surfing the internet on your own with no accountability. And if you stumbled in the area of purity, you shouldn’t remain in close contact with the one that you compromised with.
In a lot of cases – in fact, most cases – sometimes there can be exceptions to this which I’m not going to go into today, but in many cases you need to cut off the thing that caused you to sin. A lot of times that means backing out of an unhealthy, impure relationship that you’re in. Now that’s not to say that God can’t heal, restore, and cleanse an impure relationship and rebuild it upon a foundation of purity, but there needs to be a recalibration. There needs to be a season where new patterns can be established and Christ needs to claim the throne in your life once again. Purity needs to govern your every action and thought, and when you’re in an intense emotional relationship with someone, you really aren’t able to allow Christ to renew and retrain your habits. You so easily become distracted by your feelings for another person. It’s all too easy to fall right back into the same sin and compromise over and over again.
Even though it might be difficult, I would encourage you to honor Christ by taking a step back from the relationship, surrendering it to Him afresh, and letting Him rebuild it, only if it’s obvious that that is what He is doing and only after there has been a season of healing, renewal, retraining, and restoration.
Whatever the compromise triggers are in your life – whether it’s an impure relationship or impure habits – ask God for the grace to turn and walk the other direction. Do whatever you must do in order to cut temptation out of your life, even if that means stepping away from an ungodly relationship. It might mean getting rid of your computer, withdrawing from unhealthy friendships, throwing away ungodly music and movies. Remember, nothing is more important than your relationship with Jesus Christ, and if you put Him first, He will fulfill your soul far more than any unhealthy relationship or habit ever could.
Step 2: Receive God’s Forgiveness
Leslie Ludy: The second practical is receive His forgiveness. Here is a story from Scripture where Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and at dawn He came back to the temple and all the people came to Him. Just as He sat down to teach the Scribes and the Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand in the middle of everyone.
“Teacher,” they said to Him, “This woman has been caught in the very act of committing adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone this kind of woman, what do You say?” But Jesus knelt and wrote something on the ground. As they continued questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “The one among you who is without sin, let him throw the first stone at her.” And again He knelt and wrote something on the ground. Those who heard left one at a time beginning with the older ones first, leaving Jesus alone with the woman (Jn. 8:3-11 paraphrased).
Now the angry mob wanted to humiliate and destroy this woman who had been caught in sin, but Jesus, the only One who had the power to judge and condemn her chose a completely different response. Full, complete, perfect forgiveness. Jesus knew the sins of each person in that crowd, and He knows every sin that we have ever committed from the day that we were born. It is pointless to try and keep our sins hidden from Him. When we come to Him truly broken over what we’ve done, and we are willing to say, “Lord, I have nothing. I can give You nothing. I truly am completely dependent on Your forgiveness and grace.” He says to us, “I don’t condemn you; go and sin no more” (see John 8:11).
Remember as I’ve said earlier, when we are washed in the blood of Jesus, we become completely clean. When He looks at us, He doesn’t see our failures and mistakes, He sees a new creation, a child of God, restored and made white as snow – not by our own merit but by His.
If we are to truly receive His amazing forgiveness, He can take the sin that the enemy meant to destroy our life, and He can use it for His glory. He can take a broken, shattered heart and life and script a beautiful tale of His perfect love. I love what it says in Psalm 103:2-5, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: ho forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with god things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Leslie Ludy: I hope this episode has encouraged you to realize that you are not disqualified from God doing something truly beautiful and heavenly in this area of your life no matter where you’ve been in the past. I encourage you to first of all completely repent if you’re in an unhealthy, impure relationship. But also, even if there are things that you’ve done in the past, but you’re still not free from those things, to fully receive God’s forgiveness which is waiting for you simply when you come to Him and ask for it.
If you would like to go deeper into this area of renewed purity and understand what it means to lay the foundation for a Christ-scripted love story from this day forward, please join us for our Secrets to an Amazing Love Story course, which is available during the month of February at BraveheartedChristian.com.
This course is perfect for every age – singles, married couples, small groups, individuals. It’s over 10 hours of video teaching from Eric and myself of all the foundational principles that will help you understand how to have a God-scripted love story and a Christ-centered marriage. So visit us here for more on that! I pray you have a blessed and Christ-centered week!