Getting To The Heart Of The Matter


Obviously your heart needs to be a primary concern if you hope to be a woman of sexual and emotional integrity. It’s one thing to determine how far is too far physically in a premarital or extramarital relationship, but it’s another to answer how far is too far emotionally. What are the emotional boundaries?

~Shannon Ethridge

Okay ladies, today we are going to learn some tools to stand against the enemy and to guard our hearts. The best tools are knowledge and love. Love without knowledge is foolishness and knowledge without love is dangerous. We need both at the same time.

but grow in the grace and knowledge

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18

Because lawlessness is increased,

 most people’s love will grow cold.

Matthew 24:12

As the knowledge of the true Word of God slips away out of our society we see society’s love grow cold. When the Word of God is not renewing our own mind… we will find our love growing cold. Real love, sacrificial love, obedient love… will grow cold apart from the Word of God. As lawlessness increases in our day we see our society remove itself farther and farther away from the truth of the Word.

If you take a moment to think about a time that you chose to allow a certain sin in your life, a time of lawlessness, what was your love like? Was it sacrificial or selfish? Was it on fire for God or going through the motions? Did you hunger for the Word or did you not want It near you? 

We must never stop growing in the grace and knowledge of our God because the moment we do our love begins to cool and it won’t be long before we are chilled to the bone.   

but speaking the truth in love,

we are to grow up in all aspects into Him

who is the head, even Christ,

Ephesians 4:15

I used to have my list of sins that a “real” Christian could never commit, if they were indeed a “real” Christian. However, as I have grown in the grace and knowledge and love of God in my own life I have learned that a Christian is not an exception to humanity.

Our condemnation just falls harder from the enemy because we “are supposed to know better”. But the truth is sometimes we just don’t know enough. Granted most of the time it’s because we simply have not taken the time to know more. We have become easily satisfied with whatever the preacher delivers us on Sunday mornings instead of feeding ourselves daily.

Daniel was the man in Scripture who was called a man of high esteem, he had uncompromising integrity. Do you think that just might be because he prayed to our God three times a day? Morning, noon, and night he called on the Lord… let us be willing to give our God the same… to seek Him… to be in constant fellowship with Him. He is only a prayer away.

I hope that these past fifteen days have been a time of growth for you and also a time of amazing fellowship with your Creator as you have focused on getting the “other” things out of the way to make more room for Him in your heart.

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Day Sixteen

I want to be a woman of sexual and emotional integrity. I lived a life so far from God and His Word and I blasphemed His name among the lost because I still called myself a Christian as I lived a life that in no way represented who I claimed to be. I thank God that He is aware that I am but dust. He saw my ignorance and passed over my sin and chose even still to forgive me and to give me life.

Today I am going to share the tools with you that Shannon share’s in her book to help us walk in sexual and emotional integrity. Because the last thing I want to do is blaspheme His name among the lost again. The enemy of our souls knows how to bring us down and he knows the power of emotional manipulation and sexual temptation. Don’t think he won’t use it against us. Don’t think that he will not take the bond that is formed by believers in the unity of the Holy Spirit and try to pervert it.

Shannon share five stages of emotional connection and has them marked with a green light, a yellow light, and a red light to let us know when all is good, when we need to be careful, and when we need to stop and back the truck up.

Emotional connections:

(1) attention

(2) attraction

(3) affection

(4) arousal and attachment

(5) affairs and addiction

Attention, this is based on what we see, whereas attraction is based on what we hear.

That’s why you may see someone, they have caught your attention and you may think, “hmmmmm” but then they open their mouth and you think “ughhhh, ewwwww”.

Or you see someone and go “ughhhh, ewwwww” and then they open their mouth and you go “ohhhhhhh”.

Now in attraction you become familiar enough with the person to know you are drawn to him, but you are not yet familiar enough to act affectionately toward that person.

Both attention and attraction are not limited to men but include a wide variety of things: the kind of clothes we like, the style of house we prefer, and the type of food we crave.

When you go to church or business meetings, you probably are drawn to certain individuals but not to others. The woman who became your friend is probably someone you run to when you need a hug or have really good news to share.

Society has twisted our minds into thinking that if we are drawn to someone, we must want to have sex with them. But attraction isn’t necessarily sexual. 

(Personally I believe this lie and twisting of attention and attraction and affection is one of the tools that the enemy has used to convince many that they must be homosexual or bisexual to feel the way they do. We will discuss this in more depth later in the challenge)

When we find ourselves attracted to someone we then begin to move into showing that person affection. Here is where the green light goes to yellow. Here is where you, married or single, have to pay close attention to your motives and your actions. We show affection in many ways and to many individuals. We not only show our husband affection, but we also show our children affection through cards, hugs, helps, words, etc. We also show our friends affection in similar ways and we can safely do this with our male friends also if we watch our motives.

Married women, here are some questions you need to prayerfully ask yourself before you show any type of affection to a man who is not your husband. 

* What is my motive for making this expression of affection? Is it appropriate? 

* Am I trying to show genuine appreciation for this individual, or do I have a hidden agenda?

* Am I using affection to draw this person into a deeper relationship?

* Could this expression be misinterpreted in such a way that this man would be confused, tempted, or suspicious of my motives?

*Is this expression of affection one that I wouldn’t mind my spouse knowing about?

Single women, here are some for you:

*Is this person unattached? Does this person have a “significant other” in his life who would be concerned with how I express affection toward him?

*Is my expression of affection in line with the current level of my relationship with this person?

*Do I sense that this man has personal feelings for me that I do not reciprocate? If so, would signs of affection give him the impression that I am interested in more than friendship when, in fact, I am not?

*Could this expression of affection be interpreted as seductive, or does it truly express godly character?

Now we are getting into the red light district, Emotional Arousal and Attachment. Now if you are a single woman then this is still in the yellow light for you, that is if the man is also single, but if you are married and you are at emotional arousal and attachment with a man that is not your husband, RED LIGHT!

Emotional arousal occurs when we are stirred romantically by someone, and it usually precedes most sexual activity because our heart determines the direction of our mind and body.  

How can you tell the difference between attraction or affection and emotional arousal and attachment toward a man? Here are some questions to ask…

* Do you think of this man often (several times each day) even though he is not around?

* Do you select your daily attire based on whether you will see this person?

* Do you go out of your way to run into him, hoping he will notice you?

*Do you look for excuses to call him so you can hear his voice?

* Do you find reasons to email him, eagerly anticipating his response?

* Do you wonder is he feels any attraction towards you?

* Do you want to talk or spend time alone with this person, out of earshot or eyesight of anyone else?

Your challenge today is to spend time examining your heart and your friendships, especially those with the opposite sex. Ask yourself these questions and see where you are at in your emotional and sexual integrity. Tomorrow we will look at what to do if you have found yourself caught up in an emotional affair or have even progressed into an addiction…

Precious one, there is forgiveness and there is hope.