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Seeing The Truth in Temptations

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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December 18, 2020 1:00 am

Seeing The Truth in Temptations

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 18, 2020 1:00 am

Sexual temptation is everywhere! As believers, what do we do? Join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on FamilyLife Today as they talk with author, Carolyn Weber, about seeing the battle for purity with new eyes.

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As a university student at Oxford, Carolyn Weber wasn't really spending a lot of time thinking carefully about many of her life choices. She says she was just kind of going along with the cultural flow. I wasn't really, really promiscuous, and I wasn't dating all over the place, but I just was sort of midstream in many things, and I get this with students I even talk with now. They'll say so many of the same things to me. You know, Christian or non-Christian, secular campus or a Christian campus, you know, where I had this one-night stand or I've had this relationship that's fallen apart.

And they identify this longing, but there's just not really anything to slot it into, like Pascal said, that God-shaped void that we all have. This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Anne Wilson.

I'm Bob Lapine. You can find us online at familylifetoday.com. We'll talk today with Carolyn Weber about the longings that Jesus came to satisfy. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. I wonder if other husbands or wives have felt as I have felt on occasion. Maybe you've felt this way. I don't know, Bob. You haven't told me what we're talking about yet. I wonder if folks have ever felt like in the midst of marital conflict, somehow you are no longer obligated to be faithful to your spouse. I just wonder how the enemy uses conflict in our lives and in our marriages. And you want us to actually answer that question? I was going to say, why don't you tell us about that, Bob? That's a pretty deep one. What I've said is I've had that impulse, and I have to think that's an impulse that is one of those whispers that we hear in our ear from the enemy, how he uses conflict to try to sow seeds in a marriage.

And I think the secret is identifying the whisper as the enemy, because we don't always think that. The reason I bring this up is we've got a friend who is joining us on Family Life Today, Carolyn Weber. Carolyn, welcome back.

Thank you again for having me. I was thinking, please don't ask me that question, Bob. The reason I kind of leaned into that question is because we're talking this week about a book that you've written called Sex and the City of God, and you were pretty transparent. This is a memoir where you're talking about your views on relationships and on sexuality, how you viewed it before you came to Christ, how that shifted after you came to Christ, and how that has influenced your marriage relationship. You talk a lot about your dad in this book and about your relationship with him, but you tell a story here about a conflict in your marriage, a time when you and Kent had had an argument, and you found yourself separated from him, not legally separated. You were off for a few days to do some writing, but there was a flash of temptation that came at you in that moment, wasn't there? Mm-hmm, absolutely. I think what Anne was saying about thoughts, you know, thoughts are where sins start, the free will of our thoughts.

I actually love Paradise Lost by John Milton because he actually personifies thought as coming out of the head of Satan, becoming Satan in that sense. A marriage is so intimate, and it's the most vulnerable place. It's the person that we love so dearly, and what they think of us is so important to us that it cuts to the bone, even if we don't want to admit that. I think there is this tit-for-tat that can happen, or there is this way in which we get caught in whatever it is, who's doing more housework, or you're doing this, so I'll do that. There's this way in which the pain is really, really raw when you're hurt, and it should cut deeply. I mean, you are meant to be one, and it should hurt when that's being severed. Again, that's why I did not grow up with fellowship, and I think fellowship is so important.

I actually was really hesitant and wary of it, kind of like C.S. Lewis. I like church, but I don't like going to church and people at church, and my life has been really changed by fellowship by realizing that my husband can't be everything to me, and I can't be everything to him. That is God's job. Only God can do that, but also that my fellowship with other believers can sustain me in that walk.

I can look to that. It's like Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. He doesn't even go with his wife on his journey in the first part. He leaves her behind.

You're like, oh my goodness, my student's already shocked at that, and then she goes on and on. It has to be your own journey. So, you're with them, but it's also individual. It's this kind of interesting paradox, like faith always is. This is again why I love Jesus people, why I love sitting with you guys, too, is that you can go deep and you can go shallow with people in the Lord. You can talk about the things that really matter and the things that are really hurtful or painful or difficult, and you can also laugh about the lighthearted things and the joy, and have that kind of safety with anyone. You can be deeper with somebody in an elevator who knows Christ in a few minutes than you can be with someone you've known your whole life. Tell our listeners the story of what happened.

I don't know if you even remember what the source of the conflict was, but tell them about this time when you were at the cabin at the lake and you and Kent had not been getting along. Well, that's why I brought up fellowship was because I was feeling very lonely in my marriage, and I'm sure Kent would say the same thing. We all do at times feel lonely in relationship. And even with our relationship with God, we can feel that way in consolation and desolation. And I think it was a combination for us personally, probably sleep deprivation, you know, when you've had four children under six and that sort of thing, and the things that everybody goes through in life.

There's highs and lows in every marriage, and I think that there's struggles of all different types. I'd been through a serious illness, we'd had a very difficult situation in which our family was actually facing a crime that had happened. And there was some really dark, dark stuff that we were under pressure for, but this happens in different ways to all of us. And we're really, we should be coming closer together and seeking each other even more so as that kind of mini covenant. A lot of times we push apart because of anger, because of fear. And I've really learned that under anger is always grief. And we have a tendency sometimes to dismiss our emotions, but emotions are information as well. And I think when you're in a lot of pain, especially in a relationship, it's hard to have conversation.

And it's hard to share those emotions. And it's hard to really practice holy listening. We want to do a lot of talking. We want to do a lot of yelling. We want to do a lot of judging. But we don't want to do a lot of holy listening. And so I was at a place where I just actually stepped away to do some work, but also just some quiet. You know, a lot of things can happen in that space when we're really, really vulnerable.

Again, it goes back to the Garden of Eden, right? We are most likely to be attacked when we are alone. And so there's a lot to be said, even out of obedience of surrounding yourself with others in Christ, or at least being in touch with them or in prayer with them or whatever at times when you feel threadbare. And so I was in a situation where a temptation was particularly tempting because I wanted connection and relationship more than anything.

But again, like any other temptation, it's just an illusion. You found yourself just a short distance from where your ex-fiance might have been staying. You saw his pickup truck outside the home. You're away on your own. And the thought pops into your mind, maybe I'll go knock on the door and just say hi. Yes.

And that old thought, right? Oh, nothing serious. Oh, you know, I'm not really looking for anything. Oh, I just, the grass is always greener.

You know, I might just go say hello or see what could have been or say hi or whatever else. And those kinds of thoughts come from a place of really not only not being obedient, but not being held up in the faith by others when you can't do it or you feel like your well is low. And so I shared too how really in a Holy Spirit way, others do come to your aid in that sense, or especially if you can't always turn to prayer, pray it through.

We sometimes think of sins as having various ratings or atrocities and they're all sin. And I think it doesn't always have to be where something is really, really in a horrible state for it to be where it's corroding you. You know, water wears down rock as well and sometimes just that sort of discontent or that way of not wanting to turn to God to fulfill those needs can start to really wear at you in every relationship. And so I guess it was the old metaphor, you know, I was going to go knock and see how I can fill that need, but it was the wrong kind of knocking.

And what kept you from knocking on the door? Two things, I would say grace is a big one. I think we have no idea the warfare done on our behalf. We have no idea.

The constant warfare. We just take it for granted. How many angels are on the head of a pin for us? And I also think that, again, I had sisters in Christ that I've always been amazed at their connection with me, their golden sort of cord with me. And Jesus people have a weird way of doing that.

And actually what I love about Jesus people who used to freak me out before I was a believer, but now is they're never surprised at that. When I text them and say, you know what, that just was exactly what I needed right now. Oh, sure. I was just thinking of you. You were on my heart. You know, I was praying for you or you were on my heart or whatever. And we have the surprise and this non-surprise, you know, which I think is also beautiful among Christians. If you tell that to someone who's not a Christian, again, from the temporal city, they think you're off your rocker. You tell someone from the eternal city and they see the whole picture, they feel that buzz and they get that connection.

And so I think it was those two things. And then really a recognition of the fact that God loves my husband as much as he loves me. And that we have been put together for a reason and that it really is a privilege to be with him. And that the things that I'm dealing with in my own heart actually have really nothing to do with him. They're between me and God.

I think that's really important. What you just talked about, your fellowship, your friends, how they're with you, praying for you, knowing you. And when Dave and I were first married, I think we'd only been married two or three years. We were in seminary and it was Dave's third year of seminary.

I didn't have as many classes and I was working at a local workout club and getting to know a lot of people that didn't go to church and getting to know this one guy always came to my class. And I called Dave because we only had one car. I asked him to pick me up, but he wouldn't answer.

And I was waiting and waiting. And this guy that was always in the class came up to me and said, hey, I'll give you a ride home. And I was like, you know, that little bit of that warning was going off.

I don't know if that's good. And we were pretty new in our figuring out our boundaries with one another in marriage. And I thought, well, you know, what harm can that do? So we go out to the parking lot and he has a motorcycle and it's not a car. And then I'm like, oh, should I get on this motorcycle? And you have this battle going on, like one side is saying, and some of these girls were there that were worked at the club.

And they're like, that's cool. You should get on. And then I have this other thought, like this could be dangerous and maybe I shouldn't do this.

And I get on anyway because these other girls are like, who cares? You're just getting on a motorcycle. It's not like you're going on a date. So we go to my house. But he says, hey, I need to stop and get something to eat on the way.

And he stops at this little outdoor cafe and he says, hey, let's just stop and get something to eat. And so I'm sitting there and I'm starting to sweat, like if Dave did this, I would kill him. And I'm thinking, what should I do?

Should I walk home? You know, there weren't cell phones then. But inside I had this battle going on because I really did want to just sit and enjoy this time. And I was thinking the same thing.

I had girlfriends that I was thinking about them, thinking they're always praying for me. I need to tell them about this. I don't even think I told you about it right away, Dave, because I was I felt so guilty. The culture saying, who cares? It's no big deal.

Nothing's going to happen. But I'm always so cognizant of the spiritual battle and that slippery slope of going too far and giving Satan a foothold. I think that's going on a lot in our culture that's saying it's no big deal. And yet I think with God, he's saying don't put yourself in situations that could lead you and tempt you into a situation that could be disastrous for your marriage. And it is a big deal because it's protecting your own heart. He might not even know everything that you struggled with there, but you know your own heart before God. I think, you know, one of my favorite authors has said every time a person is tempted, there's a lot at stake. And I don't think we often think there's a lot at stake. And he says your faith is at stake, your family and your future. And, you know, that's really true sometimes. And you talk about this in the book. It's like, what's God's perspective on love, sex and relationships?

There's a lot at stake. And, you know, I'll share quickly, but I had a knock on my door. Talk about the knock. When Anne and I were dating, I'm a brand new Christian. It's the first time I've ever been in a God-centered Jesus Foundation relationship.

Right. And my old girlfriend knocks on my house. We had dated for four years. I'm going to marry her.

She's the one. Long story short, broke up because of me finding Christ and her not. Similar to your story, Carolyn. And so I leave her and move on.

And this is six or seven months later. She knocks on my door out of nowhere and says, I made the biggest mistake of my life. I literally caught her with another guy.

I want you back. And I'm a brand new person now. And I'm just looking at it at the front door and she's like, can we talk? And I'm thinking, no, no, you know. But here's what's amazing. I get in the car and I drive with her.

And it's really interesting, Bob, because we end up at the football stadium where I played college football and just pulled in the parking lot, no one there. And we're talking and she's basically trying to convince me we should get back together. I'm falling in love with Ann. Our relationship's about Christ. I'm on an amazing journey.

My faith has never been stronger. A lot of it because of the relationship I had with Ann. And so I look at her and I have this this choice. I'm thinking, wow, I used to love her.

Maybe. And as I'm looking at her, and again, I have no thought in my head that the stakes are high right now. No thought of that. Your family, your future, your faith is at stake.

None of that was in my mind. All I knew is I have a choice to make. And I can take you to that parking spot because it was a significant moment when I go, you know what? We're done. I'm a new person in Christ. I have a new future.

I have a whole new purpose in my life. And I don't know if I'm going to marry Ann or not, but she is going where I'm going and I'm going to keep pursuing that. And I'm sorry to say this, but we're done. And I don't know if I'll ever talk to you again the rest of our life. And I drove back to my house and she got in her car and drove away and I've never talked to her the rest of my life.

But here's the interesting thing. Three or four years ago, I'm back at the university for an alumni football team golf outing, of all things. And my son is with me, my youngest son. And I said, hey, let's go over to the stadium because he's playing college football. You know, you're going to play in the stadium where I played. As we pull into that parking lot, what hits me? That memory.

There's the parking spot. And I pull up with Cody and I tell him this story. And now when he's preaching at my church, he goes, my dad told me this story that would have changed everything if he would have made a different decision. And I thought, wow, your faith, your family, your future really are at stake. And Carolyn, your whole life is what it is now because of this choice you made and that knock. And I'm just thinking to the listener that's listening right now, just don't underestimate this. I know you're being tempted. We all are. And there's moments that are so significant.

Don't forget, it's that critical. You make the right choice. And they may be saying, but you don't know who I'm married to. You don't know what I'm not getting in my marriage. And that's probably true that we could all say that in some respect, but you don't know what God has in store for you.

There's always hope for us in our relationship with Him. Absolutely. And our bodies are not our own and other people's bodies.

We have to be respectful of those. And I was thinking of your story, Dave, where you're not only protecting your heart, but also the heart of that former girlfriend. You never know in what way, shape or form it might speak to you. And I remember that really spoke to me when I first met Kent, because he didn't make a pass at me.

He didn't make a move on me or whatever. Not because, as he will laugh and joke, he wasn't holier than thou. But it really spoke to me. And not in some sort of cheesy talk of purity and everything else, but actually in this way of respect for that other person as well. If you had just gone to the parking lot with her, yes, that would have changed all of your future decisions and path and your relationship with your children and everything else. But also, you don't know the effect on her as well.

It might have really dismantled her opportunity to really understand and recognize an example of the faith or the respect towards her own spirit and body as well. So we are in relationship with others. Carolyn, there's one other story you tell in the book that I just have to have you comment on, because as I was reading it, I was thinking, this sounds like a Nicholas Sparks book. You know, it's the kiss. I mean, the way you describe it, I've never heard a kiss. I'm like, this must be the most amazing kiss ever in the history of the world. So this is the first time Kent kissed you. And it was a while after you wished he had kissed you.

Like you'd been wanting to kiss you for a while. He took forever. And you don't even say his name in most of the book. You call him TDH. Tell us about that.

Which mortifies him. TDH stands for Tall, Dark and Handsome, right? Tall, Dark and Handsome. It's what all my friends called him at Oxford too.

That theology guy. So were his lips warm? I mean, what in the world happened?

I will tell you, it just takes one and it is worth the wait. What was the setting? Where did the kiss happen? And were you instantly transformed? Well, I think God gives you certain memories in your marriage to keep you going at times, right? So take this and remember me for a good reason, right? Yeah, it was in my college, at my college when I was a dean. And I had invited him for guest night dinner. And it was a very beautiful black tie affair. And at that point, we had known each other for a long time.

And neither of us were seeing anybody. It was that sort of thing. We'd had this long standing deep friendship. And it had grown a little more serious where he had visited a few more times.

And yeah, we knew it was getting serious. And we knew that we were both committed Christians. And I had this time where actually, I knew he was something special years before.

But I was really gifted with a time in which to grow in my own faith. And we were actually physically separated for quite some time. And I never thought I was going to see him again. So when it picked up, it did get kind of serious fast. And then he kissed me after that guest night dinner.

And it was incredible. He shows up with the tuxedo on and with a rose for you. And you have the dinner. And then were you out walking after dinner?

Is that what it was? No, we had gone back upstairs in the college. And I had this beautiful office and set of rooms upstairs in a turret, which you can only have in a place like Oxford.

It's just crazy over the top, what your bedroom and office looks like. And he kissed me up there. It was very princess-like.

It was literally the top of a turret. God is such a show-off because I kicked against all that stuff forever. But it was really very fairytale-like, even in terms of the setting. And I really admired that he didn't toy with me or take advantage of me when I was searching for the faith and asking questions and had broken up and had been in a very emotional, vulnerable position, that he had really waited until he was very, very sure. Because he said he knew that there would be a responsibility entailed with that, at least in good faith, right? And he remembered his father always saying to him, you know, you're going to have these temptations and you are a guy and that's really, really normal. But really think of the girl's heart, too. Really think of how you are respecting her in this situation. And I believe that with my whole heart. I mean, I think that we are all made in the reflection of God and we have to respect that innate dignity. And one of those ways is not to be thinking about, you know, hey, I want to kiss this woman. Think about what's the effect if you do?

What are the consequences if you do for her as well? And he had really carefully thought that out. And it was, wow, it was good. I can see why he declared it good. This is so much at what's at the heart of your book, is the idea that when we think about relationships and when we think about sexuality and when we think about how we're interacting with others, we can't just be thinking about what am I getting out of this or what's my desire or how do I benefit from this?

But we really have to care for the other people we're relating to and have their best interest at heart in order to be doing what Jesus is calling us to do. Yeah. One of the things that struck me as I read your book, and by the way, I couldn't put it down.

Yeah. When I started reading from page one, I turned to Ann and said, oh my goodness, you got to read this book. It's just so compelling. Thank you. So beautifully written, too.

I want to read paragraphs, but I'm not going to do that. But here's what really struck me. And I don't even know if this was part of your goal in the book, but I was really struck by how beautifully Kent treated you as you dated, even what you described. The kiss was so magnificent because of the way you were treated by him as a precious jewel of value. He cared for your heart. As a husband now, and I hope every man that would read it would be challenged to think, am I treating my bride married one year or married 40 like that? Because that's the love of God. You were precious. I'm guessing you still are.

And I know marriage is hard and got kids and all that, but you're precious. And he modeled for us the love of God. And I'm sure you did back as well. But I really caught that as a man reading the book. I want to treat Ann that way.

After 40 years, she should not feel any less than she did when we were engaged. And that was such a beautiful picture of the heart and love of God. Well, thank you for sharing that because I did write it from a very deep place over a long period of time.

And I didn't mean for the title to be salacious at all. You know, if you told me I was going to write a book with the word sex in it, I never would have guessed that as a literature professor and homeschooling mom. But I was beginning to think, what do I want to tell my own children? And that's exactly, you know, thinking about what to tell my sons, thinking about what to tell my daughter.

In high school, they're not sending them home with any relational information, with any sense of how you're treating somebody because you fully believe that they are precious. And also looking at really how incredibly beautiful marriage is as this mini covenant. We all get battle weary. We all get tired. And you know, the world comes at us and we're always so busy and we have a million needs as parents and sandwich generations too, you know, caring for the elderly and for our children. So many things that can come at us and so many temptations and issues. But really working to protect that precious is so important. That sort of sacred space between the two of you is really, really important. And I would say that that's really what spoke to me.

That also really, it really spoke to my faith. And I think we're also there to bolster each other's faith in marriage and help each other on our journey. We're not responsible for each other that way. Ultimately, that's with God. But that authenticity of seeing someone try to model that out and try to live that. And the decisions might not always be right or perfect. And even when there's tension or disagreement, there's a willingness, you know, to have conversation.

There's a willingness to remember that that person is precious is everything. Carolyn, thank you for the book. Thanks for the conversation. And tell Kent we said hi. I will. Thank you. And I hope his kiss today is just as nice as the first one. Well, we have a lot more viewers now in terms of the kids.

This is seven, so it's not easy to have an intimate kiss. But, you know, I'll tell them that and we'll go for it. I'll say you guys recommend it. Thank you.

Absolutely. Let me encourage listeners to get a copy of the book we've been talking about. It's Carolyn Weber's book, Sex and the City of God, a memoir of love and longing. We've got it in our Family Life Today Resource Center. You can order it from us online at familylifetoday.com, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to get a copy.

Again, the title of the book is Sex and the City of God by Carolyn Weber. Order online at familylifetoday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to request your copy of Carolyn's book. Now, we have got the president of Family Life, David Robbins, who is joining us in the studio today, to talk a little bit about the impact this ministry is having in the lives of so many people. We had a father write to us recently and he shared, Your broadcasts are a blessing to my life, first as a follower of Jesus, but secondly, now that I'm 36. I don't have the wisdom and the training to disciple my kids and to pass this truth on to my family. And you guys are equipping me with those biblical principles so that our kids don't wither when they are sent out into the world, but they know how to thrive. It is so encouraging to get feedback like that and know we are equipping and impacting a father, but also his kids.

And as we're here at the end of this very unprecedented, crazy year, I invite you. And may I also say, I challenge you to join with us in our mission to reach every home. God is impacting and equipping our children and our children's children and leaving a lasting legacy for the kingdom. Would you financially partner with us to advance the kingdom of God and equip marriages and families all across the world? Your gifts are making a kingdom difference.

And we've had some exciting news this week as well. We've had an increase in the matching gift amount that is available in our matching gift fund. What was a two million dollar matching gift fund is now a two point seven million dollar matching gift fund.

So the need is more urgent for family life today. Listeners, we need you to give so we can take full advantage of this increased matching gift opportunity. When you give, we'd like to send you a couple of thank you gifts. We'll send you a copy of my book, Love Like You Mean It, and we'll send you a flash drive that includes more than 100 of the best Family Life Today programs from the last 28 years. You can give your gift online at familylifetoday.com or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate.

Thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do. We appreciate you and we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, however your church is meeting. And I hope you can join us back on Monday when we're going to talk about the challenges blended families face during the holiday season. Ron Deal, the head of Family Life Blended, will join us along with some special guests to have that conversation. I hope you can join us as well. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas, a crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-13 22:42:11 / 2024-01-13 22:55:07 / 13

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