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Celebrating Small Victories

Even if you’ve fallen in temptation, God does not end your story in broken angst. He will lovingly rescue you from your past mistakes and stay with you every step of the way. I speak of redemption as something that is necessary to all: even for the ones who have not committed “big sins.”

Through Value in Purity, I have met many precious young ladies who carry all sorts of personal stories. Many to whom we have spoken are quite young in their teenage years and have not yet experienced the pressures of friends and guys to participate in activities less than good and pleasing to God. These young ladies know what is right, and they are walking in the right way. For that, I am so proud, and it is my prayer that these young ladies continue on this path. To you I say: you may not have fallen yet. You may not have faced these trials. But they are coming. So prepare yourselves.

But what I want to say today to the young ladies who fell to temptation is this: I want to remind you of the times when you did the right thing.

How many of your own failures can you recall? If you have trouble, a close friend (or enemy) would be able to refresh your memory. I’m pretty sure I could fill notebook after notebook with my failures, and when I’d finish, I would feel about an inch tall. But does anyone ever tell us to remember and even to rejoice in a small victory of holding to our standards? When was the last time you were proud of your convictions? I know it’s hard to look beyond the tangle of shame in failing, but I promise you it is there.

Maybe you fell just once, and now you live with the guilt of what happened that one night. You may still bear the consequences of your choice. Your friends and family may see you in a jaded way every time you talk to them. But do not let one mistake overshadow the times when you said no. You stood firm. You have been tempted to go too far, but you have overcome.

Or maybe you have found yourself trapped, making one wrong decision after another. The sins you’ve committed cloud any memories of doing the right thing. But fight for that memory. Even if it seems puny and you couldn’t put your finger on why that one time it felt wrong and you stopped – the chemistry seemed off, he didn’t appear to be your type, you were feeling too lazy to fight the other girls for his attention – whatever. A victory is found even when you started off with every intention to cross the line, but you didn’t. Something told you not to sell yourself short, and you didn’t. You gave in other times, but this time was different. This choice is something to cling to and rejoice in.

At least one time did you stand firm in what you know is right and acted upon it. You are able to do it again. Things get easier with practice: saying yes to temptation, or saying no to temptation. I cannot guarantee your every choice from here on to be perfect. Temptation will beef up its attacks against you, and in fact, you will have more opportunities to fail.

But you do not have to fail.

God allows His Spirit to walk right along with you, never abandoning you. Press your ear up to places in which you will hear the Truth. You can choose to walk in the path of purity. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Ephesians 5:16).

You will never be so entrenched in sin that God gives up. Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call (Isaiah 59:1). Can He not redeem whomever He chooses? Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). Everyone. You do not need to live in hopelessness.

It may not seem significant that you chose the alternative for once. Sometimes it first feels like a moment of weakness to refuse. Quite the opposite. You may have just lived your strongest moment yet. Do not stop reveling in those times of victory, no matter how small. A triumph is always worth the celebration.

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