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Growing up in the church, by the time I became a teenager, I was over the million rules. You were just always bombarded by all the things you couldn’t do. God was this supreme being who didn’t want you to have any fun. He demanded you live by archaic rules that existed long before the invention of electricity or condoms. So in my teens and into my twenties, I was more moved by secular values than sacred ones.

Isn’t that what your twenties are about? You’re out of your parents’ home and out of the shadow of their rules. For the first time in your time, you just want to openly do what you want to do. Back then, we didn’t view God as a loving Father, protector, provider or friend. We saw him as oppressive, void of fun, heavy-handed with rigid rules. But doing what you want to do comes with a lot of things you don’t want.

As I grew up, I realized God was more interested in a relationship with me than my abilities to simply rules. Religion is man’s idea of what pleases God. But a relationship with God is a living, breathing, evolving process that helps you become who He’s destined you to be, not out of fear but out of love. When you love someone, you want to please that person. You want to make that person smile. The more I drew closer to God, the more peace and joy I got out of pleasing Him, not in a repressive or oppressive way but in a satisfying way. Loving God, knowing He already loves me and there is nothing I could do to make Him stop loving me, was the most liberating experience of my life.

God’s Word are instructions for living. Religion unfortunately somethings makes it more about the doing rather than the being; so we go through life focused on doing things in our own strength and trying to earn God’s love instead of just focusing on being who He created and destined us to be, honestly, purposefully and authentically. The Ten Commandments are important, but the most important command Jesus game is to love God with all your heart and all you mind and your neighbor as much as you love yourself. So loving God comes with doing what pleases Him as written in His Holy Word, the Bible.

Recently I had a conversation with a couple of Christian moms I know about sex and how they advise their young adult sons on matters of sex. Without hesitation, they said they tell their sons to use condoms. I listened to their reasons and then I thought about what the Word and wisdom of God says about premarital sex. I’m no prude. When it comes to sex, I’ve made my share of mistakes and bad choices. That’s why the word of God is so vital. It’s what we return to. It’s our compass when we get off track and lose our way. Because I’ve done it the wrong way, it’s important to me to teach my kids and those I mentor the right way.

I’m sure when God provided the instructions for sex being for marriage, he knew one day someone would invent condoms. God’s Word doesn’t change because of the modernity of time. Lies, deceptions, and sin have been around since the garden of Eden. Sin is not a new phenomenon. People having been doing their own thing since the fall of Adam and Eve, but God’s Word and wisdom still stand; it’s still applicable.

As I listened to the two moms provide their secular world views on sex, I couldn’t help but think: if we as Christians aren’t following the Word, wisdom and ways of God, how can we expect the world to do so. How can we get others to believe what we don’t practice? There’s an old saying, “You can’t compromise and conquer sin at the same time.” We can’t nitpick which parts of the Bible we’ll obey and follow. It doesn’t work that way and worse, it sets a bad precedence to those around us. If our sole purpose in life is to draw others to Christ, we, with our live for secular and popular views, are failing. Oh and “nobody is perfect” is not an excuse to habitually live outside of the will of God.

I always remind my kids that my position as a parent is to connect them to their¬†Heavenly Father and His will and plan for their lives. I always use the word of God when instructing them on matters because it’s not about what mom and dad think. It’s about what God says. God holds us accountable for what we teach our children. We can’t raise them based on what’s popular, acceptable or cool at the moment. World view changes, but the word of God is constant, consistent; it is life and health.

Everything else in this world requires instructions from the manufacture. Microwave, cars, appliances, airplanes, they all come with operational and maintenance¬†instructions. But the idea of following God’s instructions often becomes situational or nonexistent because we’ve come to value secular philosophies and culture over the timeless word of God. If we believe God is true, why do we gleefully accept popular lies? When we chose to deliberately and repeatedly ignore God’s Word and instructions, the results can be tragic, not because God is punishing us but because sin comes with heavy consequences. When we chose to obey an enemy who hates us and shun the instructions of God who loves us, life becomes a disaster.

Now at the age of 41, I appreciate God’s word now more than ever. So much of the struggles I endured in my 20’s could’ve been avoided if I had just obeyed, valued and trusted the wisdom of God in all areas of my life, including relationships and sex. Now I try as often to help my children and others I’m fortunate to mentor be much better that I was. When it comes to sex, there isn’t a condom in the world that can protect you from the enemy of your purpose and peace.

Remember: trust God. Believe His word. It will bring health and life. If we are teaching our kids and others any differently, we’re failing them and ourselves. The Word of God may not be popular, but obedience to His instructions brings peace and blessing.