Our Souls Reek (The Solution)

Readers,

On the train yesterday, consumed with thoughts about my health and my future, a homeless man came on the train. He looked absolutely disheveled. His hair was a mess, one pant leg was raised to his knee, his clothes had holes, and he acted like he was high, drunk, or both. Immediately I looked upon him with pity and felt helpless. I had no food to give him. Others on the train offered change and dollar bills, averting eyes the whole time. 

As I watched him walk through the train, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “How he looks is how your souls are.” Without Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father, our souls are dirty, homeless, high/drunk people. We reek without Christ. Although we attempt to put our dirtiness aside and present a clean image to the world, God sees our hearts and souls. Both are wicked. Both are dirty, without Him. 

So don’t you look down upon a homeless person and judge them for what they look like they do (drugs, sex, alcohol), when you know your soul looks just like that. Although you put on a clean mask for the general public, Christ sees the truth. But, with Christ as your Savior, God looks upon you as clean. He sees you through the lens of Christ. You are spotless in His eyes.

Last night I saw a documentary called “Liberated” about the new “sexual revolution.” It was made by a Christian filmmaker and it poses various questions about the way our youth culture relates to sexuality, relationships, masculinity, and femininity. After I watched that documentary, I was left feeling disgusted with our culture, this “hookup” culture. It’s so damaging and disruptive to the holy way that God fashioned us to express our sexuality.

I must admit: I am not perfect regarding my sexuality. No one is. We are all sexually broken people, looking for something to give us that fix, make us feel alive, and temporarily satisfy us. Some of us find it in casual sex with random people and others find it in porn and masturbation. I fall into the latter camp. Although I’ve gotten a good hold on this temptation for the most part, there are moments where the temptation is strong and I give in to it, always feeling like it’s someone else. It’s not really me. My true self is the one typing this blog post. My sinful self is a whole other person. I always hate myself afterward, but there’s grace for me. God has grace. God understands. Jesus was tempted in every way, which means sexually, yet He never sinned. He understands the temptation.

There is nothing wrong with wanting sex. Most of us want sex, unless there’s some severe brokenness that prevents us from that natural desire. We yearn to be united with another. That is holy, in a marriage between a man and wife. Outside of that frame, the picture is distorted. But no matter what sexual sin and brokenness you’ve fallen into or have been victim to, you are a victim no longer. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are not ruined. Never! Christ can and will redeem you. Call on His name and let Him heal you in a way specifically designed for you.

Beloved, if you find yourself sexually broken, I recommend checking out Mo Isom’s new book: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot. It hasn’t hit stores yet, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.com. Be encouraged. We’re all sexually broken. Some of us have same-sex attraction. Some of us have other sinful attractions, things that we don’t even want to speak about, like attraction to children or incestuous feelings. Be strengthened. God’s grace covers you and His love covers your sins. Yet He does not wish for your sin to remain where it is. He yearns to repair and revive what you thought was long dead. 

If you find yourself watching porn, masturbating, texting sexually explicit things to another person, having casual sex, having unnatural sex, there is hope for you. There is always hope. That hope is in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He is the Messiah, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Through relationship with Him, you will be restored. Beloved, it is a process, so be patient with yourself and God.

I’m always here if you need a chat. ❤

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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When Satan Comes At Night

At my most vulnerable, at my most fragile, he comes. When I allow the doubts to creep in, he makes his presence known. He doesn’t come in the form of a terrifying fallen angel. Oh no, he comes in the form of a lover, an amante, a desire, a forbidden passion.

As I walk around my quaint neighborhood, admiring the clusters of houses and little gardens, he comes to mind:

“Maybe you should text him.”

“Perhaps you were wrong to reject him before.”

“God could have sent you to show him the Way, couldn’t He have? God can do anything, right?”

 

Washing my hair and listening to Latin music, I picture us dancing to the tune. I don’t change the song.

Hearing the Spanish love songs I adore and imagining him wanting me like the singer wants his muse.

The sky falls, the sun drops, the stars peek their heads into the wide God-fashioned expanse.

“Text him. You can’t stop thinking about him, so it must be a sign from God.”

Five months had passed since we last spoke. His ridiculous romantic advances were disgusting to me and I had rejected him.

But, the connection.

But, the feeling.

But, the passion. 

We exchanged pleasantries for a few moments before the former flattering words spewed forth from his mouth. 

“What do you want?” I asked.

“All of you. I want to know everything about you.”

Now, this man doesn’t know Christ and he is almost 40-years old. Everything in me told me not to respond to that, but I did. Why did I? He promised love. He promised passion. He promised fire. His words stirred the desire in me that I had suppressed for so long.

After a night of forsaken sleep and fervent text messages, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to my heart by giving me a feeling of utter disgust with this situation. I felt it in the pit of my stomach and it gurgled up to my throat. I texted the man and restated that I’m not the one for him.

Not today, Satan. Not today.

When Satan comes, he doesn’t come as a figure of fear or destruction, WHICH IS WHAT HE IS. He comes as your greatest fleshly desire. In my case, it was romantic love and physical passion. Remember that Satan is the father of lies and all he wants to do is steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He prowls around, looking for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). Who does he want to destroy? Believers. He hates us with an everlasting hatred because we are God’s beloved, and he hates God. 

Brothers and sisters, there is hope. That hope comes in the person of Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God. Through His sacrifice on the cross, we no longer have to identify by our sins and shortcomings. I am not Gabrielle, the girl who succumbs when a man sweet talks her in Spanish. I am Gabrielle, daughter of the King, furtherer of God’s kingdom, and heavenly princess. Your sins do not define you if you believe in Jesus Christ. Accept His free gift of healing, liberation, and peace. This gift is something we believers must accept every day. Every day we have to say NO to identifying by our sins and say YES to identifying by our God. Preach yourself the Gospel every day. Lord knows I need His Good News every moment.

You will be tempted because you are human and prone to sin. We all are. But, God promises to give us a way out of temptation. That is through Himself. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

 

Be encouraged. You are NEVER too dirty or too much for God. He made you and He LOVES you!

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Culture Can Be a Problem

Happy Monday, readers! Another day of life. Another day to help another soul on this journey. What a blessing.

As I took my mid-morning stroll around the neighborhood today, I listened to music on my iPhone, as I usually do. My music is an eclectic blend of Latin, Indian, Arabic, Christian, secular, and classical songs. The majority of the time, I listen to Christian music in English or Spanish and look around at the beautiful earth that God created. He made the bee that’s trying to stab me with its butt. He made the green grass that covers the ground, providing a cushion for my puppy’s paws. He constructed the clouds and forms them into various shapes for us. He’s pretty creative.

Since we’re made in His image, that means we’re also creative. God developed our minds to create insane things! I’m typing in a man-made language, on my laptop, while I’m connected to WiFi, as I sit on a couch in my house. All made by man. Incredible.

While I love creativity and thank God that He gave me the gift of writing, I recognize that our creativity can lead us down distorted paths to destruction. That escalated quickly. But, it’s really a problem for those of us who want to live Christ-glorifying lives. While I write words of life, another person is sitting on his/her laptop and writing erotic fiction which will channel lust in his/her readers. Some people sing worship songs that exalt Abba and others sing about sexual desires and activities they’d like to participate in with a total stranger they see on the dance floor. You see what I mean?

Now, typically it’s very easy for me to refrain from listening to sexual music. In fact, I refuse to listen to English pop songs if they have sexual undertones (which they typically do), but I’ve noticed something about my Spanish music choices. I’m half Puerto Rican which means I love Salsa and Bomba music, but I tend to enjoy my Dominican neighbors’ Bachata music as well. Listening to music in Spanish makes me feel connected to my culture and my Latino hermanos y hermanas (brothers and sisters). But, it becomes a problem when the sexual songs that the Latin music industry pumps out begin to reignite old flames of lust within me.

Let’s take a gander at this popular Latin song:

  1. The number one song in America is “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi (he sang at my mom’s friend’s wedding before he made it big #NoLie) and Daddy Yankee. Both of these Puerto Rican men are well known for their music and I was initially THRILLED to see two Rican men reach the number one spot on the charts! Yes! Representation! All good, right? Not quite.

“Despacito” infects our brains with its catchy tune and delightful rhyming, but the lyrics prove to be pretty dangerous to a person struggling with lust.

Spanish:

Despacito 
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito 
Deja que te diga cosas al oído
Para que te acuerdes si no estás conmigo

Despacito
Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto
Y hacer de tu cuerpo todo un manuscrito (sube, sube, sube)
(Sube, sube)

 

English:

Slowly
I want to breathe your neck slowly
Let me tell you things in your ears
So that you remember when you’re not with me
Slowly
I want to undress you with kisses slowly
Sign the walls of your labyrinth
And make your whole body a manuscript
Turn it up turn it up….. turn it up, turn it up

When a song has a catchy tune, it’s really hard to resist listening to it. It’s even harder when you feel pressured to engage in this practice because it’s ascribed to your culture. This blog post isn’t fully about the sexualization of Latin youth culture, because that would take ages to write, but I’ll touch on it here.

When you think of a Latin woman, what do you think of? Does this woman have a college degree? Is she kind, compassionate, Christ-serving, and humble? Or do you think of a curvaceous figure, a wild temper, and fiery passions? I’ll assume the latter. This stereotype occurs in our minds because of the way the worldwide media has portrayed Latinas.

We’re sexual objects. We exist for the pleasure of men. 

We may not outright say these things, but the songs we sing about Latin women say otherwise.

So, songs like “Despacito” are not just fun dance songs. They add to the painful and dangerous rhetoric that Latinas are only good for their bodies and that we enjoy being objectified in this way.

 

In addition to objectifying women, this song and countless others that are similar actually reignite old lusts that you may be trying to kill, with the help of the Holy Spirit. When you hear those sexual words, you may remember old trysts you had before you knew Christ. You may imagine dancing sexually with your crush to these songs. You may actually become physically aroused.

While walking around the neighborhood, listening to “Despacito”, “Safari”, “Propuesta Indecente”, “Solo Por Un Beso”, and “Hasta El Amanecer”, I began to slowly realize that the youth in my culture are hyper-sexualized. We are force fed these songs until we no longer need to be forced to enjoy them. We openly indulge in these sexual songs and we wonder why so many of our young girls are becoming pregnant and our young boys are becoming fathers before they turn 18. These songs have infected the culture so deeply that they are now synonymous with Latin culture. So, for a young Latina growing up in New York, I knew that to be Latina meant to be sexy, to dance, to wear tight clothes, and to be free with my sexuality, using it to emasculate men. These songs encourage that behavior. 

Because I follow Christ, the Holy Spirit in me rejects these songs and the portrayals of sexuality that they offer. Yet, breaking with them has been so difficult because they are indeed connected to my culture. Of course the Puerto Ricans of the 1960s would never have promoted a song like “Despacito”, but something has happened to the youth in these recent times. They are now dictating the future of our culture and it terrifies me.

I love culture and will always give a cultural practice the benefit of the doubt, unless it clearly goes against Scripture and human rights. We’re all different and that’s a thing to celebrate. But, my spiritual eyes have been opened to this aspect of my culture and even though it’s so enticing, I must break with it. In this respect, my culture is a problem. The Lord’s word supersedes Puerto Rican culture and I must honor Him first. I am Christian before I am Puerto Rican.

 

Blessings.

 

Gabrielle G.