Christianity--Tips for Ministers/"Living in Sin" Minister
Good day! Thank you very much for your time to try to answer my question. I recently became a licensed Minister (9/10/15). I am not married to my boyfriend, although we have been living together for 8 years. During the last 3 years, as I studied to become a Minister, our sex life dropped off; it is now non-existent. Although my boyfriend was checked physically (nothing was wrong), I feel this issue (the non-sex) might be God's way of dealing with my "living in sin." (But really, ARE we living in sin? Isn't that a "man's rule"?) Anyway, my boyfriend, like I mentioned, was living with me way before I received the calling to study for Christ. Now that I am with Christ, even though my boyfriend is not a born-again Christian, he is VERY supportive (and curious) of my Christianity (I do my best to set an example for him, and he has noticed the positive change in me). I was allowed to speak a message at my new church, which I did with relish. (My message was so "interesting" that I actually got an ovation when I finished.) Since then, I have not been asked to speak again, although others in the congregation (non-licensed) do occasionally speak. When I asked my Pastor when I could speak again, he told me to wait awhile...as he is having some difficulty with another member who feels that because I live in sin, I should not be allowed to speak in church. Inasmuch as my Pastor sympathizes with me and enjoyed my message (AND he is aware of my non-sex with my boyfriend), he still feels it's best that I wait to speak again. I respect and obey his judgment, but I do not understand it. Aren't we, as Christians, supposed to NOT judge others? Plus, this other member no longer attends our services. I have prayed on this subject, but all my Spirit reveals to me is "wait it out." I have even considered asking my boyfriend to move out, but my Spirit told me "no, he's a keeper" when I prayed about that. I really got a "taste" for speaking, and I have 7 more messages at the ready. Do you feel I should either throw out my Minister's license, or throw out my boyfriend of 8 years? I pray for the lady in our congregation who has judged my living arrangement, as I don't know what else to do where she is concerned. (She never came to me telling me she did not approve of my living arrangement; my Pastor told me who it was that complained.) I am also my church's cook, cleaning lady, children's ministry teacher, and gardener. I am not a fly-by-night, fair-weather Christian...I am in this for the long haul, and that includes judgment and persecution. I give as much as I can, where I can, and everyone seems to appreciate my efforts and genuinely like me. But...I want to be a God-pleaser, NOT a people-pleaser. Any advice and/or comments you could offer would be greatly appreciated. I thank you again for your time.
Greetings! I am happy to answer your question.
When you say you became a licensed Minister that means some religious organization recognized you as having the ability to be a leader. With the added responsibility comes greater accountability. You are now accountable to the organization (and its members). So, if they do not agree with your living arrangements then you must change them. You must change them if you wish to stay in good standing with that religious organization and its members.
Most religious Christian organizations are not going to permit you to shack up with your boyfriend and continue in a leadership position even though you may have been in that living arrangement for 8 years. And, even though you may have no sex life. It isnít about you. It is about the organization you now represent.
This arrangement looks bad. It looks bad that you are in the same house with a person of the opposite sex and you arenít married to that person. I donít know many Christian organizations that would permit you to stay in a leadership position in that specific situation if it ever became known by the members.
ARE you living in sin? Yes, if you are having the benefits of marriage without being married. No man created the institution of marriage. God created it. God has rules as to what exactly constitutes marriage. They were put in place at creation.
Jesus also mentioned these requirements:
1) Male and Female- you must be male and female to be married in the eyes of God. That is, one male and one female.
2) Leave Father and Mother Ė you must determine to no longer be under the authority of your parents. You must determine that you have no closer relationship that what you enjoy with the person to whom you are married. You must leave all others to cling to your spouse.
3) Become One Flesh Ė you must determine as a couple to live as being married. That is, a life-long commitment to no longer think as two individuals. You must determine to live as one person. That is, united in the common cause of functioning a unique family unit.
Do you have an actual marriage ring? Do you have a marriage date? If neither, then you are neither married or even engaged to be married! Are you committed to each other for life? Are you presenting yourself to others as a married couple? If not, you are not married.
You know the answer to that question if you truthfully reflect on these things.
Even though your boyfriend is not a born-again Christian, it is great that he is VERY supportive. Yet, this isnít the same as it would be if you had a true partner in the cause of Christ. It is good he isnít an enemy. This is helpful. At least he isnít making you choose between him and your ministry. Yet, you have to remember you are setting an example for all believers.
Is the way you are currently living a good example? Do you really want to encourage other Christians to not marry and to shack up?
Doing your best to set an example includes refraining from all appearance of evil. Shacking up with someone to whom you are not yet married is not refraining from the appearance of evil. You say by your actions that this is a good and acceptable practice in the eyes of the Lord. There is no Scripture that says this is a good practice. Your current lifestyle is not in line with Scripture.
As long as your lifestyle is not an acceptable Christian practice then you cannot expect to be in a leadership role in your organization. You may even be asked to leave the organization while you continue willfully to live in sin.
Your pastor probably told you to wait because he sees you as immature in your faith. The organization probably wants mature leaders. Surely you understand. You may want to lead and still live the way you wish but the pastor is thinking about how this affects his congregation. You should too.
This lifestyle choice sounds selfish to me. It sounds like you want to lead Godís people while living in an arrangement that is convenient for you. Remember, as a teacher, you will always fall under a stricter judgment! The Book of James speaks about this.
Christians do JUDGE. They judge by a righteous judgement. This means you will be judged by the
same words in Scripture that all others are being judged by. This is righteous judgement.
There is also the gift of discernment. You should pray for this gift. You should listen to the Holy Spirit which lives in you, if you are true child of God. Listen to the Holy Spirit more than you do to me, your heart, or your pastor. What seems right to you may be wrong in the eyes of others and in the eyes of God.
Your conscience is not always a trusty guide.
You prayed and the Spirit reveals to you to "wait it out." Then, that is what you should do. If you believe the Spirit is telling you to not move out of the house then realize you may never get to speak again in this organization as long as you are living with your boyfriend.
You are the only one that can make the decision to remain in the ministry. If you do, you will always be accountable to the rules and laws of that religious organization and to its members.
The lady member should have come to you. She should have approached you if she believed you are living in sin. This is what God commands her to do. Iím sorry she did not do that.
I pray I have answered your questions.
I pray you may the right choice.