Monday, 2 November 2015

I Am Not a Feminist

“Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature…Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” – Genesis 2:7&18

As created in the image of God, men and women are equal. In other aspects however, men and women are not equal. We were not created the same physically or emotionally and we were not created with the same particular purpose. As Genesis 2:18 says, God created the woman with the purpose of helping the man. Each gender has a specific role and these roles have been created to complement one another and ultimately to glorify our God and Creator.
There are many things in society that destroy our God given roles as women. Perhaps the most prominent of these is feminism. Feminism lies to us. In an article that can be found at, Sue Bohlin writes about these lies. She says that feminism tells us we can have it all; we can have a career, a family and a great social life all at the same time. It tells us that men and women are fundamentally the same when the Bible clearly states otherwise. Feminism tells us we can and must be great in the world’s eyes. In order to do this we need to put off childbearing and even marriage to pursue our personal (and most likely sinful) ambitions. Feminism tell us that we are self-sufficient as women; we don’t need men. It also tells us that being feminine is being weak. Feminism blurs the line not only between gender roles but also between genders.
Yet God does not call us to “have it all.” He calls us to humility and hard work. We are not to “be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2 ESV) in seeking after greatness. At creation God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28 ESV). God gave the covenant of marriage to us within which we are to be fruitful and multiply; bear children. To put this off until you feel like in order to chase your dreams is to deny the very thing you were created for as a woman. But we can’t just have children of our own free will; we need men. However, we don’t just need them in order to reproduce. Men and women were created to complement one another and to do so specifically within the marriage covenant. Being feminine is not being weak. “A gentle and quiet spirit…in God’s sight is very precious” (I Peter 3:4 ESV). Proverbs 31 tells us that an excellent wife “dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong,” that “strength and dignity are her clothing” and she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” This is beautiful yet this is hard work.
Reading through this passage of Proverbs 31 is challenging to me. I think of all the times I have preferred sleeping or just doing nothing over simple things like helping my mom make supper or folding the laundry. Then my sinful heart says “well what about all those times I did the dishes without being asked or told? And what about all my responsibilities as a working student? I need some rest. And this is talking about the excellent wife, not the excellent daughter. I’m not a bad daughter.” Even though I’m not anyone’s wife yet, I should still strive for these things which a wife should be. My purpose is to be a help to my future husband and in order to be a help to him, I need to start practising now. Saying my wedding vows is not going to magically give me the ability or discipline to “work with willing hands” or “rise while it is yet night and provide food for [my] household.” Getting married won’t make me “love [my] husband and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to [my] own husband” as Titus 2:4&5 call us to.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” – Titus 2:3-5

Carolyn Mahaney has written an excellent book on femininity called Feminine Appeal. In this book she unpacks “seven virtues of a Godly wife and mother” taken from Titus 2:3-5. But these virtues are applicable to all females, no matter their age or relationship status. Women were created as helpers for men. This was the plan from the beginning and it has been stated since the beginning. Titus 2:3-5 give us specifics on how we are to fulfil this God-given role.
As young women, we need to listen to those older and wiser than us. The first “older woman” God has placed in our lives are our mothers. I have been blessed with a Godly mother who has taught me what is good, sometimes without realizing it. Simply by her actions, my mom has taught me a lot about how to work out these seven virtues. I know that not every girl has been blessed with such a mother as I have, but that does not mean you have been abandoned to figure things out on your own. When we are saved, we are adopted into the family of God. We commune and fellowship with this family by means of the church. This is the second source of “older women” God has provided us with.
Now we shouldn’t just sit back and wait for an older woman to come to us and start teaching us stuff. A mutual relationship needs to be built and this isn’t going to happen on its own. We need to be involved in various ministries within our church and this will give us exposure to build such relationships. We need to actively search for this good teaching. This is something I struggle with. I tend to be a loner and that’s not always good because I tend to rely on myself for my own teaching and learning both in and out of the Word. But God has given us the community of the church so that we may learn from one another spiritually and practically.
So what about him? What about our husbands or our future husbands? Well, if we obey God’s Word and marry within the faith, we have nothing to worry about. We don’t need to tick stuff off of a list to see if he is doing or will do his job properly as a husband. If I work on fulfilling my God given responsibilities and purpose as a godly wife and he works on fulfilling his as a godly husband, we should have no worries. And honestly, I’m glad I’m not self-sufficient. Being feminine is hard enough even with the support of a husband (in my case it’s still my parents). I’m relieved that I don’t have to try to be great or self-sufficient and that I won’t “have it all.” I’m relieved that I’ll be dependent on my future husband and that I’ll be in the supporting rather than leading role.
Finally, we do this “that the word of God may not be reviled.” We are to live in such a way, the way that the Bible calls us to as women, so that the Word of our Lord will not be spoken of with contempt. That our lives may reflect the life of Christ our Saviour who suffered and died for our sins. By living in such a way, we demonstrate the gospel which “is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16 ESV) and give no basis for criticism of God’s Word.

By Rebecca Gage

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Curves of my Character

I grew up surrounded by women who longed to be more than they are.

Now, there is nothing wrong with having goals and dreams; it's just that as humans, we tend to fall more on the offside of the 'field' of God's will. It took a long time for me to grasp the truth about who I am as God's child. I knew there was more to living than what I was seeing. Many women were suffering at the hands of 'men' and complained bitterly about how 'men' weren't good and how they treated them. This birthed fear within me as I thought about marriage and motherhood, which led me to consider the possibility of God making me a eunuch (My former mentor, Pastor Bell, laughed at me greatly. I join him in that every time I remember it). Stories of some great men in the Bible didn't comfort me either, tainted with polygamy (Solomon), infidelity (David), insincerity (Tamar's husbands), unequal love (Jacob to Leah), fear (Joseph before the angel's visit) and many other examples beside. This continued on as I saw women soaring above the home, leaving their homes to attain a 'better life'. My classmates had ambitions of being independent and not depending on anyone; this struck me as strange, considering that they were in relationships back then. Now then, the problem drew me closer to God, asking Him to help me discover who I am in light of His truth. My best friend persisted in telling me to stop being selfish and consider getting married one day. She even formed a 'pact' with one of the teachers at my former high school to convince me of the beauty of marriage. To me, singleness was just so perfect! And believe you me, there is nothing wrong with being single if that's God's gift for you.

Going back home and spending time with the Bells let me see the beauty of marriage; I could see Christ and the Church's relationship in their union. It was refreshing, and meeting other married couples besides my parents got me to question what being a woman meant. Not just a woman, but what biblical womanhood is. Does this mean me staying home, cooking his meals, changing diapers and just being sweetly submissive?? Hmmmmm...who told you that? I wonder.

I would like to propose to you the real meaning of biblical womanhood. The following points may not be exhaustive but they will get you on the right path. It entails knowing that:

¤ God created you.
You are a delicate design made by God Himself (Genesis 2:21-22). He built you instead of formed you. It was in His will and plan to make you a woman. He didn't make any mistake, and there is nothing like He will change His mind on your gender. He is pleased to have made you a beautiful woman. When Adam saw the woman God made, he broke into poetry!

¤ We are sinful, and Christ died for us, too.
At the top of the foundation of true biblical womanhood is the deep realisation that you are a sinner in need of mercy. Christ did not die to redeem men only; He died for men AND women, and that includes you (John 3:16, Romans 3:23-26). God's redemption plan includes women, too. The cross does also require us to humble ourselves before God and realize that we are sinners before God and man. And God is willing to come to your aid and calls us to Him (Mathew 11:28).

¤ We need Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the true foundation of biblical womanhood. Without Him we are so lost within ourselves and whatever the flesh may demand from us. It’s a drought without Him, a famine that knows no end and an empty life. We are prone to live for ourselves, 'selfishing' our lives away instead of giving it away. With the Vanity Fair that the world offers, our desire for it overrides even what some call common sense. You are going through a tough time? Call unto Jesus. You are lonely? Christ is always there. You need help? He is ever ready to provide in what He deems fit.

¤ A community of believers surrounds you.
You are not alone! You have brothers and sisters in the Lord, elderly women and men, deacons and pastors who are called to give you spiritual and sometimes material support. Stop being an island and embrace this gift God has given you, a church family. Most of all, He has given you godly women and has commanded them to teach you (Titus 2:3-4)! Isn't that wonderful? Having elderly and mature godly women in my life has taught me so much. Sometimes I even muse over the fact that I have suffered heartache for nothing just because I did not want them watching my life like a ‘soap opera’, or so I believed. You will find that they are more than happy to help you.

¤ You are to live to satisfy God and bring Him glory.
All the time, we hear the faithful media telling us to live to satisfy ourselves, and live our lives how we want to. The whole world has also spiced it up with 'a woman can do it all'. Nothing wrong with wanting to do more in life, but if that takes over or overrides God's will for you, then you have but yourself to live for. Ephesians 2:3 tells us who we once were, and how that after being united to Christ those fleshly desires were crucified, (see Galatians 5:24). Dear woman, God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him and not ourselves.

¤ The Word of God never changes.
The call to live by its commands and principles does not change even though the world changes; its ideas, fashion, politics and decor (Romans 12:2). God does NOT change. He deliberately and intentionally gave us this love letter so that our hearts may not be snatched by the vultures of this world, but rather that you and I may continue to reread this letter until He comes to take us home.

¤ We should not despise the vocation He has called us into.
When God has made it clear what He wants us to do, we have to do it wholeheartedly as unto Him and not man. If your call is being a housewife and mother, then do it as unto God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and so on and so forth. Our primary vocation is to be a helpmeet; however, not many women get married to fully execute that role, but it’s not impossible. God has put men in the leadership role and us in the helpmeet role; we have to respect that, ladies. Wherever you are, you can exemplify biblical womanhood (read John Piper's book titled Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).

¤ We are called to a godly and holy life.
Romans 12:1-2 states clearly that God delights in such a sacrifice. It comes out in the form of loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). It flows from the inside to the outside. She dresses modestly; she is kind and above all a woman who seeks after God's own heart.
For some time I struggled with dressing modestly. I was greatly in love with garments that strangled my skin. Talking to godly women helped me understand the nature of my calling as a woman. My dressing before I got saved; yeah, it got attention but definitely the wrong kind. I enjoyed the attention but later hated it because - unless you are blind - one was able to notice the lust in men's eyes.
A woman is adorned with virtue, and that which the Lord provides requiring daily dependence on Him. It also calls for humility when the elderly women correct you and lack of self-defence. I remember a time when I started off home with a top that was alright; I mean, I checked it in the mirror and it was okay; I mean what kind of brother would be stumbled by that? I went to church and the top started to have a mind of its own...hahaha, and boy, didn't one of the aunties from church approach me. I thank God that I listened to her and her suggestion. Had it not been for her honesty, I would have packed it or given it away...hehehe. It’s still mine and now I wear it in a non-stumbling manner. So ladies, this walk involves accountability. You need to get some, 'kay? Remember, God wants you to pursue holiness (1 Peter 1:16). Read The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges.

¤ It’s not for those getting married or married; it’s for everyone regardless of marital status.
It is part of your personhood and practical life. Its primary reason is to focus itself on God and nothing else. Therefore cast away those thoughts of it belonging to a certain group of women away. Are you a woman by creation? Then seek Him more earnestly and open your heart to Him and He will show you great things! Delve yourself deeper into His Word and you will find that you understand yourself better, because no one defines you better than God.

¤ If you are waiting for a future husband, set realistic demands for and biblical characteristics of him.
I know a handsome, romantic, eloquent, sensitive, smart, rich or well-to-do, funny, knows-what-to-say-all-the-time, fun, nice-bodied and understanding man is likely to sound mmmh mmmh mmmh to you but really, is that what you need? We have been clouded by the television channels we watch, magazines we peruse, and the novels we read to box men in such a disturbing storage box. You want to be free to be you, right? So let him be free to be himself and you have a chaotic world! Yes God knows you need a handsome man, and He will give you one whom He deems fit. I grew up having a crush on the character Harry Potter. I had a picture of him pasted next to my bed and to me, I wanted him to be my husband. I now laugh at my 11 year old self and sometimes hit my head. That's because right now, he can't measure up to the man in my whom God answered point by point in my request.

¤ Understanding that you can't mix family with your own selfish ambitions and actions.
If you are called to be married and later have children you need to understand that you are needed in the home. Mrs. Bells is a wise woman who made it a point to talk about family with me whenever I visited her home. Hmmmm...that wasn't on my mind as I thought I was a 'eunuch' and wanted to get my degree, then later my masters and then PhD, THEN think of marriage. Not a bad plan, eh? A woman can do it all too. There is nothing wrong with seeking to get educated....nope, nothing. However, there is something wrong with seeking something that will have you spend all your time and energies away from your own home. Who is going to keep house, raise your children and tend to your husband? Your maid? Your sister? Your niece? Your mum? God forbid (Titus 2:3-5)!!! It’s a desperate call for the elderly women to teach young women what is right and good. Many have left their homes unattended to go in search of greener pastures. Families are failing, not because they can't live with each other, but because men and women love their spouses less and love themselves more. It’s a call for biblical manhood and womanhood.

¤ Give yourself to the church and the ministries available.
God has given you gifts and talents and expects you to use them at church. No, you won't be able to preach in church (1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35), but there are ministries and activities that you can do. Romans 16:1-3 has some examples of women in the early church...not forgetting Mary and Martha. So stop warming the chairs in church and help out. Oh! It brings such joy and satisfaction to work for the Lord.

Biblical womanhood is a life pattern for women to seek after God's heart more earnestly, to seek Him first (Mathew 6:33), love Him (John 14:15) and to glorify Him with our gender and its roles and duties, thereby having joy in it. God made you feminine for a reason. John Piper defines femininity as this:
"At the heart of mature femininity is a feeling disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman's differing relationships."
We need to thank and praise God for the task He has laid before us. Examples are plenty in the Bible (Ruth, Esther, Sarah, Anna, Rahab -after conversion, Mary, etc.), and in the godly women in our churches. May God guide you in discovering who you are in Him.

By Chisomo Mwandila

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Coitus Corrupted

They taught me…

Adding a lot more weight to each letter of what was considered forbidden fruit, each letter spelling out the unmentioned, shamelessly stripping off what covered my nakedness as I understood hers, as I understood what happens when we come together bare, unclothed, and full of desire.

It was just a thought at first, one I couldn’t comprehend, especially at my tender age of approximately 2920 days after birth. But I did partly understand, I understood from the look on their faces, and their hushed tones that this was one thing that was a shame to mention, a shame to delve into, a shame to think about. So I became silent, observing, just listening to the muted expressions of disgust at the thought of it, the thought of wanting it…

Another 96 full moons had passed and the world as I knew it had turned a shade close to indigo, I understood it better, much better, but… I had to understand it on my own, alone in the shadows, without a whisper or voice, in silence, only interrupted by a moan to remind me that I had indeed understood, and understood well, too well.

There is a word that comes before “…the bad and the ugly” a word that I didn’t know at the time, a word I had learnt when I had already thought it was too late, a word that held the key to free me from my imprisonment, from my ‘understanding’.


I was mystified, how could this be a good thing, how was it right in any way, how had I never associated it with such a positive word, a positive thought?


I was once told that it felt good when she didn’t feel like she was forgotten, when she didn’t feel forgotten in the moment, much like a conversation… Wait, should I have heard that, should I have learnt that, should I have committed it to memory? I must say now that I didn’t regret it, but should I have? I don’t think so.


For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is to be received with thanksgiving.”- 1 Tim 4:4

So if God made it then it must be good… but is it really? I’d like to believe so.

As I sat watching two little girls look over books in a book store I watched their reaction as they came across a book that mentioned it on its cover, “We shouldn’t read this book, its bad, its evil…”

They understood me, they were me at 2920 days of life after birth, but I also understood that 96 full moons later their world would turn indigo, in silence, shame, solace, hopelessness.


“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” – Gen 2:25

This is it, this is it right here, God created humanity and made them naked with no shame, no solace, full of desire, and it was a good thing.

I see it now, I see its beauty, I see its value, I see its good, I see its intent, I see its expression, and I see its creator.

I am a son of Adam that longs to look at my Eve’s nakedness with no shame, and make love to her knowing that I am doing good by it.

I am an author, thousands of years  after he wrote his sensual song to her, anticipating my own melody and lyric, preparing my ink and my quilt to not only pen it down but demonstrate that expression of love.

I am a musician much like Sean Carter that would one day love to hear my wife say,” You’re mine” getting her drunk in love.

I am an unmarried man who is willing to wait, not out of fear or shame but out of awe at such an amazing expression that gives commitment one of its highest rewards, sexual intimacy.

So how dare I, and how dare you think or talk of it as anything less than good, no no, great, such a gift that should be treasured and taught well.

Sex is a beautiful thing...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

White Boy In Black Skin

It doesn’t take people longer than five minutes in conversation with me to say the words, “You’re such a white boy”. With a simple roll of my eyes and shake of my head I brush it off and proceed with my life, not really bothered by what was just said because the truth is I know what they mean…and there is an element of truth in it.

What is confusing for me is how certain things I do are associated with skin color: for example, aesthetical order, the way I’d treat a lady and things I would say. Growing up I had never thought of differences in skin color and how that would relate to how people act. In my eyes everyone around me was the same as me. I was color blind and I’m not saying that was a bad thing at all.

Looking back now I have a clearer picture of why people have referred to me as a “white boy in black skin” (or an Oreo) and why I acted the part so well.

1.)    I’m from Pretoria. If you don’t know much about Pretoria, you should know that it has a very high population of white people. I grew up in an area that was predominantly white and for a while my family was one of the very few black families living in that area. So I grew up in this type of racial setup which meant my friends were mostly white, my teachers were white, and my neighbors were white (by the way, the complex I stayed in was painted white and the color of my school shirt was white too, but that’s not the point).

2.)    My parents raised me as me. My parents never brought up the issue of color in relation to how I should behave or do things and they never forced my black ethnicity on me. They didn’t see the paradox of black and white and raised me that way.

3.)    I wanted to be white. This is a heavy point because it’s almost shocking but I believe there were a few reasons for this:

a)      I wasn’t proud of the fact that I looked different from others around me but I’d only notice we were different when they brought it up.

b)      In the community I grew up in black meant bad. If there was a black guy walking the streets the assumption was that he was a thief or some sort of criminal. If I was walking with some white friends we would be cautious of the black people that walked past us or wouldn’t walk past them at all: true stories.

I can recall an incident that would amplify my point. So one day my brother had a friend over from school and they were playing outside, close to the front gate, when a stranger (who was white) came to the fence and started talking to the boys. My mom quickly noticed the situation and called the two little boys inside and asked them what the man had wanted (I’m not sure what answer they gave her).  She then cautioned them to be careful and not talk to strangers because they could be dangerous but then my brother’s friend with a confused expression on his face said, “But this guy was white.”

c)       The color peach was called ‘skin color’. This is no joke: when we would draw with our colored pencils and wanted to borrow the color peach from a friend we would ask for ‘skin color’. I must have thought that being white was the right skin color to have because it was insinuated in these situations.

d)      I liked white girls and was rarely attracted to any other kinds of girls. In my mind I thought I would marry a white girl. However, very few white girls wanted to go out with black boys (maybe because they never considered it an option). I remember liking this one girl (actually a lot of guys liked her) and one day her brother came to me and said that his mom had said that things go wrong when black people and white people get married. In that moment, I wished I was white.

4.)    I didn’t like black.

I will never forget one incident as a kid with my good friend Josh. We were playing an imaginary war game (if you never played imaginary games by yourself or with friends it’s not too late to do so now) and then suddenly Josh turns to me and says, “You do know that you’re a black guy in this game, right?” and I was shocked and got so upset with him because in my mind I pictured myself as a white soldier (maybe because I thought black soldiers sucked). It felt like a demeaning role, like he wanted me to be the bad guy (and of course we had to be heroes). My buddy Josh was actually being good to me; he wanted me to be who I am. I didn’t see it like that at the time but I sure wish I did.

I try to think of how all this has influenced me today and how I’ve changed and grown. I’m an adult now but my childhood was a step I had to take to get to where I am today and my experiences in the past will always go with me. I’ve lived with different kinds of people with different cultures and different colors of skin, and I believe my views on people now are influenced by the different people I’ve met in the past. And I’ve learnt that experiences in the past may have occurred in the past but the lessons are sometimes learnt much later in life.
Eventually my family left the beautiful city of Pretoria and moved to another city, Lusaka. Much like Pretoria it’s a capital city, but unlike Pretoria it has an overwhelming number of black people. When I first arrived in Lusaka I felt out of place because it was so weird seeing so many black people and I felt everybody was staring at me because I ‘looked different’.

Now what’s interesting is that Lusaka has its own views on race, white people and ethnicity. It’s when I arrived in Lusaka that I got a lot of comments about being a white boy. Some people have their own ideas of what white people do or don’t do and have their own ideas about what black means. The truth is I find most of it annoying, ignorant and prejudiced. What black America promotes blackness to be is what I hear a lot from people: it’s all built on stereotypes and Kevin Hart jokes. Having heavily interacted with both black and white people it’s clear that both camps don’t know much about each other and even themselves.

So having been higher up the mountain (than I was before) and given you a description of what was below me, let me tell you at what point I am now:

1.)    I love my color. I love who I am and how God created me (seriously I do!).

2.)    People recognized me as black when I started to rap a few years ago and the whole ‘white boy’ thing started to fade away (not completely).
3.)    Traditional people think I’m uncultured (Hey, it’s not my fault I’m a white guy…).

4.)    I don’t act like any color; I’m just me.

5.)    I love Trevor Noah’s shows. He and I are similar in some ways and he just captures cultural diversity so well.

6.)     I love colored people (those of you in America, that’s the color of your president: yep, unfortunately he’s not black; and yes, it’s okay to call someone colored where I come from. No, really; it is).

7.)    I love diversity in culture. I love relating and meeting people from everywhere.

8.)    I’m grateful for some of the things I’ve been through in life.

9.)    I still have a lot of white friends that I get along with.

10.)  I also have a lot of black friends (and Koreans, Indians, Latinos, etc.).

11.)  And finally, I’m still and will always be color blind.

Knowing who you are is important, but the color of your skin doesn’t define your character or personality and it won’t define your likes and dislikes or spell out what you can or can’t do. For example, I love cricket and rugby, and those are seen as white sports; but I love soccer and basketball too (‘black’ sports). Be proud of how God made you; be proud to be a black swimmer or a white runner or whatever you wanna be. Don’t let your color dictate how you view yourself and how you view others. And don’t let your upbringing corrupt the right way to view the world, always view it the way the Creator wants you to view it and His people. I may always be an Oreo, but I’m not going to let that define me; I won’t.

But you know, being an Oreo taught me this. Think about it.

Lenny Kay

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Could I Be In Love?

 How many times have we heard and said the words “falling in love”, either in reference to our own feelings or someone else’s? Probably too many times to count, right?

A few weeks ago as I was listening to a track by Beleaf Melanin, I came across a line in which he says, “Why fall in love when you can stand in it.” I paused and seriously thought about it, and knew I had to address this sooner or later.

It was at that moment I realized that most of the time we think we know what love is when we really don’t. I mean the phrase “fall in love” seems harmless and on point, but did you ever think about where that phrase came from or what it really means?
Our minds have been so poisoned that we often don’t notice that we have a warped view of what love is, especially in relation to the opposite sex.

What I want to do here is give you something from what I’ve been learning from experience, observation and studies about love.

If you know anything about my history you’d know that I received an Honors award in heartbreakery and infatuation, which is a prestigious award for the foolish and ignorant. I’ve broken hearts and been heartbroken all because I thought I knew what love was when I really didn’t. Even after Christ gave me a new heart I still thought wrongly about love, and in the process hurt myself and others around me. I remember often asking myself how long I’d keep moving in the same cycle, liking the same girls, and ending up in the same trashy pile I just came from. I was ready to give up on love entirely, it seemed hopeless and empty, because I thought as long as I had anything to do with hearts there would be a crack straight down the middle. I was tired of this, and I desperately needed a break.

If you’ve ever gone swimming and tried to keep your breath under water and eventually come up to breathe, you’d know the feeling of relief and a rare appreciation for air. When I discovered the true meaning of love it felt like a breath of fresh air as it filled up my lungs and gave me life. When I found Joshua Harris, he gave me not just a fresh view but a biblical and Christ centered perspective or outlook on love. He along with people like Elisabeth Elliot, Randy Alcorn and a few others helped shape my view on relationships, marriage and of course love. I had to correct quite a few wrongs, which included seeking forgiveness from girls whose hearts I had broken and living in repentance of my mistakes. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. Do I regret those mistakes? Yes I do, I wish I could rewrite my story, but what’s done is done. By God’s grace I lived to learn from my mistakes, and pray someone learns from mine.

As I learnt what love really is, I also learnt what it isn’t. The world has its own view of love which I had believed for so long, and had allowed to corrupt me. The world’s view of love is as follows:

1.)    Love is for the fulfillment and comfort of self. It’s all about me, and what I want.

2.)    Love is a feeling. It’s all about the warm fuzzy feeling you feel tickling your heart when it skips a beat every time you see that special someone. If that feeling is not there, then it’s not love.

3.)    Love is uncontrollable. I can’t control my feelings; they just happen and control everything about and around me.

It’s scary how we probably think along these lines when we try to define what love is, when in actual fact these points describe what love isn’t. So at this point you may be asking what love is. If it’s not primarily a feeling what is it?

To properly understand love we need to go to the one thing that cannot make a mistake, is inerrant, and all sufficient for everything, yes even about love, and that one thing is the Word of God.
The Bible is a book about love, from beginning to end, telling the greatest love story ever, about The King who graciously died for people that didn’t deserve it (Rom 5:8). All those who find forgiveness and life through Christ are called to follow in His steps, to love others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)

Through His perfect example, Christ taught that:

1.)    Love is the fulfillment of self but for the glory of God and good of others.
True love is completely selfless, it gives, sacrifices, and dies to its own needs (John 15:13). Jesus died for us, and so we need to be willing to die for others.

2.)    True love is not measured or governed by feelings. True love always expresses itself in obedience to God and service to others. Jesus says in John 14:15 that if we love Him we’ll keep His commands.

3.)    Love is under our control. Jesus chose to love us by choosing to lay His life down for us. I once read that the danger of believing that you “fall in love” is that it also means you can “fall out of love” just as unexpectedly.

Some of you may say that this sounds cliché and unreal, besides Christians have been known to be the cheesiest people with the cheesiest lines, and all because they don’t see life for what it really is. Most people who have this view are the same people who end up getting screwed by ‘love’ and never learn from their mistakes, because they’ve never known what real love is. And trust me, once you understand what real love is it changes your life forever.

“When we extract the poison of self-love, our entire motivation in relationships is transformed…more changes occur when we seek to love with Christ’s love” – Joshua Harris

So what does this look like in practice in our everyday lives? This may sound very theoretical, but what does it look like before our eyes?

Let’s take an example of two people, Steve and Courtney who like each other deeply but before they just throw themselves into a relationship, they critically analyze themselves and ask themselves these questions:

1.)    What is my real intention for getting into this relationship? Is it to satisfy my lusts or my feelings? Is it because of social pressure?

2.)    Am I awakening feelings that I won’t be able to meet with equal commitment?

3.)    If we get into a relationship is it going to help or harm the other persons walk with God?

4.)    If we do get into a relationship at this moment, will someone end up getting hurt?

5.)    Do I have a correct view of marriage?

6.)    Am I thinking about myself or doing what’s best for her/him?

7.)    Am I doing this just because I have feelings for her/him?

These are some hard questions to ask, and some of them painful, but it’s all for the good of others, the glory of God, and your joy. Don’t let feelings guide you, but instead let your feelings be guided by truth and true love (which is not primarily a feeling but an action of goodwill towards another person backed by commitment). Love is a service to and for someone else, and we need not go any further than 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to understand this.

 Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not arrogant. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.

This is love, it is pure, perfect, long-lasting, true and God honoring. Love is a commitment; it’s sincere, unselfish, and responsible. It’s not about what I can get, but about what I can give. It starts with understanding Christ’s love and responding to it, and expresses itself in how we love one another.

Pursue this kind of love, and don’t let the world falsely define for you what they think love is.

Your friend,

Lenny Kay (a.k.a The Exposition)

Monday, 13 May 2013

Born behind a Pulpit Part 2(Danielle Van Meter)


The story of my being a pastor's kid is difficult story to write in isolation because it is tightly interwoven to the entirety of my life, and bleeds into so many other aspects of my journey. Often when I am in an existential mood, I sift through the personality traits or struggles unique to me and try to trace them back to this aspect of my life. Pastor's daughter. How exactly did that shape me differently than any other member of a family with any other father's vocation?
My life has been a good one. I have no doubt that being a daughter of a pastor comes along with some 'perks'- I've been privileged to see the inner workings of the leadership as the elders move towards new ministries. I have met and spoken to prolific, renowned pastors whose sole reason for remembering me is my last name. I've attended family camps of more churches than I can remember and as a result have met diverse people with endless true-life stories.
But, like life and this groaning creation, nothing is left untouched by the Fall.
My father’s ministry is made up of humans- images of God thoroughly ravished with sin- and he is called to be actively involved in lives for the good of the church. It’s a messy business. There are times that he comes home and anyone can read the empathy on his face from his listening to the brokenness of others. There are times when he doesn't acknowledge my questions because in his mind he is still in his counseling room, or in a hospital, or at the funeral of a little boy. There were times when I was near-tears, yet I would shrink back from telling him why because the laments of a teenage girl seem petty when he has come from counseling a family torn asunder.
At a sensitive age, I was disturbed at the pervasiveness of such brokenness, but now I understand it is a blessing to have grown up seeing the human struggle- and redemption- in such a real, important way.
One remark I’ve often heard from pastor’s kids is a feeling of being held to a higher standard, but I would be underestimating the grace and sympathy of my church family to say that I felt the same. If anything, my pride rendered me incapable of being honest. I was afraid if I was completely open about my sinful struggles and times of doubt, it would reflect badly upon my father. I held back because I thought if somebody found out we were not a fruit-of-the-spirit family all the time, that person would not be able to respect my father in the pulpit. This battle between fierce loyalty and honesty gunned me down for years, until I was able to realize the truth of James 5:16- that where there is honesty among community, there is healing. More than being a good representative of my family, God desires me to be a good representative of Christ. That is freeing, because it means that I am no different than any other redeemed sinner, seeking God on a journey Home. 
I am sure my story on this subject differs from others’, but mine rests on the kind of pastor my dad is.
 I remember when our church once went through a split, and young as I was, I understood what slander was. It ached to the depth of my being- hearing the car pull in late at night, the steady step of my dad, the low voices emanating from my parent's room. It was all too much for me so I draped my blanket over my shoulders and tapped on my parent's door. My ten year old vocabulary lacked the words needed to sufficiently represent my feelings, and I said a feeble, "Dad, I'm sorry people hurt you." Though it was late and my father tired, he sat on the edge of his bed with me and explained to me the necessity of people following their Biblical convictions, even if it meant their leaving the church or causing minor hurts. And that's the kind of man my pastor is. A good one. That's the kind of man my dad is. A good one. He just happens, for me, to be one and the same, and I wouldn’t change that for all the world.