On Loneliness, Sexual Temptation, and Keeping in Step with the Spirit
In this episode of the Chronicles of Eve podcast, host and CoE founder C.A. Meyer speaks with Marsha Cohen, a New York City-based Christ follower and scripturally savvy advice-giver. Marsha bravely shares her story of what it’s like to deal with loneliness in the city that never sleeps, how she overcomes sexual temptation in her every day life, and offers her advice on how to stay in step with the Holy Spirit.
Can you tell us a little more about who you are and what you do?
Why are friendships important for us as believers?
How does the fall affect our friendships?
How does the gospel restore our relationships with God and with others?
How does our sin not only affect us but others around us?
What role does repentance play in our friendships? How do we actually go about practicing it? What should drive our repentance?
How can we understand or get to the root of our sin?
What does it look like to fight the daily battle to taste and see that the Lord is good?
How can we receive the confession of a friend in a way that points them to the cross?
How does the practice of confession, repentance, and prayer impact our friendships?
What are some questions you would ask to help build authentic friendships?
What will it look like for us to be our true selves and worship God together in the new heavens and the new earth?
“It’s not an accident that we have these longings for deeper relationships. That is something that God gave us, and he wanted us to have. Ultimately, it comes from who God is and the nature of the Trinity.”
“When the conflict comes, we blame the people that we are supposed to love. Immediately, these walls go up when conflict enters, and we go straight to self preservation instead of sacrificial love. We see this obviously when Adam and Eve do it in Genesis 3, but it’s less obvious when I’m doing it.”
“It’s risky for us to let someone else in. We might get hurt or things that we would want to hide might be revealed. So we cover ourselves.”
“But the good news about Jesus coming and living the perfect life we couldn’t live and dying as the perfect sacrifice that we desperately needed and then rising again to give us perfect hope, this changes everything about our relationships. First, we are brought near to our Father. And we are given the Holy Spirit to help and comfort and empower us.”
“Ultimately, being forgiven by God in Christ means you and I are able to forgive others when they wrong us. And we are able to humbly ask for forgiveness when we wrong others.”
“A good friendship is one where we actually press into the things that bring conflict and we work through them together. A good friendship is going to be sanctifying for us. It’s one that we aren’t just going to give up and quit when things get difficult.”
“Hanging out is important. But in Christian friendship it’s fighting the battle against indwelling sin side by side and fighting to remember our identity in Christ.”
“My sin affects others around us. It is a detriment to the body of Christ. When I forget that my life is in Christ, when I forget that identity, when I set my mind on earthly things, and when I don’t put to death what belongs to my earthly nature, then this has huge implications for those around me.”
“It is in our hearts to compare and to justify ourselves based on what we see around us. So when I give in to sin, and I excuse it, then it gives those around me the appearance of freedom to do the same thing. Nothing good comes from that.”
“God’s kindness and patience with us shouldn’t lead us to take advantage of his love and grace, but instead it should lead us to repent and to walk with him. And we know from 1 John 1 that this isn’t just a one time repentance, but it’s an ongoing one because we turn aside so easily.”
“When we are regularly repenting of our sin before God then that gives us a freedom to open up, and that will affect our friendships. Because if we’re not hiding from God, then we don't have a reason to hide from each other. But we have a joy and a knowledge of the forgiveness that we’ve been given. And I’ll be free to confess the sin that I’ve been struggling with because I want your help in this fight.”
“When we repent and confess before God, we hate our sin even more. And that leads us to want whoever can get in this fight with us.”
“When we look at the Old Testament, we see that God designed for his people to live in a way that rehearsal and remembering and rejoicing in his salvation was a part of their daily rhythms as a people.”
“It’s also about the rhythms of our lives in a communal sense. Our hearts need regular calibration to what is good and true and right. And we need each other to remind ourselves of our identity in Christ.”
“True grace is seen at the cross where we receive acceptance and justification and forgiveness that we don’t deserve. Sometimes, with the catch phrase of ‘give each other grace’, we are really missing the meaning of what grace is.”
“What comes out of all of this is joy. Joy in the Lord and joy in these friendships and joy in knowing that we are all forgiven at the cross. The playing field is level there.”
“For all of us, life is short, and we need to use it well, whether you’re living in the same place your whole life or you just moved somewhere. We don’t really have time to waste.”
“In the new creation, you will be your one true self. Right now, you are only a shadow of yourself. But then, you will be more real than you can imagine. One day, we won’t be tempted to hide and cover up and put on fake smiles. We will be fully known, and we will be face to face with Jesus.”
“If you’ve trusted Christ, your real life is secure in him. And one day you and I will experience true joy in the presence of our Father, unburdened by sin, surrounded by friends, and finally real.”
1 John 1
Marsha’s literary favorites
Generous Justice by Tim Keller
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Death of a King by Tavis Smiley and David Ritz
connect with Marsha
How can you connect with other Christ-seekers in order to feel less lonely?
What passages in the Word help you overcome any temptation in your life?
How can you confide your struggles to others in a healthy, consistent way?
What are you going to do or change as a result of what you’ve heard in this episode?
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