Question:

Well, here goes. My family are Christians and when I was a kid I believed in it all. But in my late teens and early twenties, I got involved in the wrong things and hung around the wrong people. I was involved in a lot of drinking. My dad finally kicked me out of the house this past winter, and I am now living on my own. I quickly had a wake up call and turned my life back to Christ, made amends with my dad, and we have a good relationship once again. Long story short anyway.

After I turned to God, I felt Satan's presence even more in my life trying to get me back to his side. I am still a weak Christian but want to live life for the Lord only. A few days ago I hung out with old friends, slipped back into bad habits and got drunk. I made a bad decision and called an female escort and had sex. I am filled with such pain anguish guilt and worthlessness. I've been praying, mourning, and crying out to God all day. I feel God's power and His forgiveness even, but I just don't even know where to go from here. When the thought crosses my mind of what my father would think of me now, I want to die.

I just don't really know how to move forward.


Answer:

Like many young people, you knew where danger laid, but you didn't avoid it. "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3). The mistake was that you thought you could hang out with sinners and not be tempted. You were more interested in being with "old friends" and ignored that these "friends" encouraged you to sin in the past. The second mistake is that you thought you could drink a little and not be affected. Instead, you got drunk and in your irrational state paid to commit fornicaiton. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthains 6:9-10).

I can't go back in the past and take the alcohol out of your hand or pull your pants back up. But we can talk about where to go from here. First, you have to quit making excuses. You are weak when it comes to alcohol, so you have to cut it out of your life. That also means that when you know others are going to be using, you have to choose not to be there. "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).

Sure, you can wallow in your misery, but that won't change you and your life. "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:9-11). Worldly sorrow makes no changes. Godly sorrow isn't content until changes are made so the sorrow won't repeat.

As a practical matter, I would like you to go and get yourself checked for STDs. Ignoring the fact that you might have picked up a disease won't make the disease go away.

Being a true Christian doesn't mean you'll never make a mistake, but rather that when mistakes happen you aren't content to remain in that state. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1).

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my e-mail. That is exactly how I feel: I am not content with this and I want to fully devote myself to God, set apart from this world. I will not put myself in those positions anymore.

I just want to ask for your advice on how I can continually strengthen my faith especially during this intense situation I created for myself. I go to church every Sunday, but I feel I need to get more involved. I'm also thinking of setting up a date to talk to one of the pastors. Any wisdom you could share with me would be great.

Once again I am very thankful for your replies.

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

For young men, I typically recommend reading through Proverbs, one chapter per day, as a start.