When I was in Uganda last December teaching the Bible to children, the Lord impressed on me that He envisions a different Uganda in 20 years and that those children were the ones who would make Uganda different and better.
I want to see that Uganda! I intend to be back in 20 years to take pictures–because I want the before and after photos!
You see, in Uganda, the average age is about 14. For comparison, the average age in the United States is about 38.
There are more children in Uganda than there are adults. Why? Because war and AIDS have killed a generation.
As a result,
- there are about 85 students to 1 teacher in the classrooms.
- Many, many grandmothers are raising their children's children.
- Children are in orphanages.
- Children are raising themselves while their parents are off working.
I want to see this different Uganda that the Lord envisions. I want to see what is now the slum of Katwe as a prosperous, beautiful place that makes the Lord smile both day and night.
So when I went to Uganda a few weeks ago to talk about purity, that is, abstinence before marriage, I started by asking the teens what they would be doing in 20 years. I told them to take their age and add 20. How old will you be? What will your life look like?
+20 What Will Life Be Like for You in 20 Years?
Why think ahead 20 years? Because the Lord has a plan and a purpose for every person's life.
His plans are good, and they further His kingdom.
Question is: Will we seek His plan? Will we obey Him?
“For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV84
In the United States, we like to claim Jeremiah 29:11 as our very own prosperity gospel. As several bloggers have been writing recently, we are flawed in our thinking.
If you read the verse before ("When 70 years have been completed…"), then you know that God is telling His people that His plans are for the nation as a whole and that the next generation is who will see welfare.
Remember that Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, was in exile at this time (do you ever feel like you are in exile?), and the nation was in exile because of its disobedience to God (Jeremiah 25:4-5, 8-9).
Disobedience. Remember that. We'll return to the topic of obedience shortly.
If you read verses 12 and 13, then you know why God wants to provide prosperity, future, and hope:
“Then you (My people) will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13 NIV84
There's always a God-glorifying reason why He wants you to do what He wants you to do. God wants you to seek Him. He wants you to find Him.
And if you're going to choose to stay in exile, then He wants your children. He wants your children to seek Him. He wants your children to find Him.
Remember–He is the great teacher:
- The Father teaches (Isaiah 48:17)
- The Son teaches (do you really need a citation here?)
- The Holy Spirit teaches (John 14:26).
When you find Him, you can learn the way you should go, His straight path for you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB
In both the United States and Uganda, we have forgotten that "in all your ways acknowledge Him" and "seek Him" and "search for Him with all your heart" means obeying Him.
I mean, really–Why is it that we expect God to prosper us when we don't obey Him?
Seems to me that when it comes to purity, to abstinence before marriage, and to adultery, we have followed the world's ways, not God's.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.
1 Corinthians 3:19a NASB
So, what does God say?
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled.
Hebrews 13:4 NASB
What does that mean?
It means PURE.
It means abstinence before marriage.
It means that the only person you should EVER have sex with is your husband or your wife. If you're not married, then you don't have a husband or a wife and therefore no sex.
As I told my teen just the other day, premarital sex is adultery. By having premarital sex, he would be cheating on his future wife.
The body is not for immorality but for the Lord and the Lord is for the body.
(Emphasis mine) 1 Corinthians 6:13b NASB
If you are married, then you have exactly ONE husband or ONE wife (Genesis 2:24)–and you will ONLY have sex with him or her (Exodus 20:14).
God does not want the pain of premarital or extramarital sex for you.
God does not want the pain of pregnancy outside of marriage for you.
God does not want the pain of abortion for you.
God wants you to trust Him with all your heart.
God wants you to seek Him with all your heart.
God wants you to acknowledge Him in all your ways.
God wants to make your path straight.
God wants to teach you to profit.
God wants to lead you in the way you should go.
Too Late–I've Already Disobeyed
Too late, you say? You've already had sex outside of marriage?
Don't be fooled into thinking that just because I am blogging and following the Lord now means that I have always followed the Lord. You're not that naive.
I am a GenX-er who has done what most others in our society have done. I am in my second marriage (and my last, just in case you were wondering!). I did have premarital sex. I am not perfect.
I will not preach from a "holier than thou" pedestal. I want you to have life better than me. I want you to learn from my mistakes. I want my children to have life better than me. I want my children to learn from my mistakes.
Let's work together to stop generational sins!
It's not too late. It's never too late to turn back to God.
It's Never Too Late to Turn Back to God
We can change the course of our lives, and we can teach our children so that they do not repeat our sins.
+20. What will your life be like in 20 years? What will your children's lives be like in 20 years?
The Lord has changed the course of my life, and I am teaching my children purity so that they do not repeat my sins. God's promises are not just for me and my children. They are for all of His church.
If you are having sex outside of marriage right now, stop. Do not continue in sin.
How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:2b NASB
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews 10:26 NASB
For this is the will of God, that you be sanctified [separated and set apart from sin]: that you abstain and back away from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor [being available for God’s purpose and separated from things profane], not [to be used] in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God and are ignorant of His will; and that [in this matter of sexual misconduct] no man shall transgress and defraud his brother because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we have told you before and solemnly warned you.
For God has not called us to impurity, but to holiness [to be dedicated, and set apart by behavior that pleases Him, whether in public or in private]. So whoever rejects and disregards this is not [merely] rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you [to dwell in you and empower you to overcome temptation].
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 AMP
God has a lot to say about sex. These are just a few verses.
But as we Christians know, we need only go to the throne of God in confession, true repentance, in order to be forgiven.
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren (that is, fellow Christians), that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Acts 13:38 NASB
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs 28:13 NASB
I have confessed my sins before the Lord. I have confessed my sins before my husband. I have confessed my sins before my children.
And I am free from guilt!
Let the wicked (that's me!) forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.
Isaiah 55:7 NIV84
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:19 NASB
It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery (to sin, sexual or otherwise).
Galatians 5:1 NASB
The Lord is calling you and your children to walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (See 1 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB)
When we trust in the Lord with all our hearts
When we do not lean on our own understandings of the world
When we acknowledge Him in all our ways
He will make our paths straight.