Lesson 1 Hope in Christ

Welcome

Hello, my name is Jody Cleveland; welcome to the A United Front course. 

This course is designed to be interactive, so you will study some text, watch a music video, or listen to a short audio clip and answer questions related to what you read, heard or watched. If you are working with a mentor here at Setting Captives Free, they will examine your answers, pray for you, and respond back to you. Our mentors are carefully selected as people who love the gospel and care about others. If you are not assigned to a mentor, we highly recommend that you involve someone local to you who can support and encourage you along the way. There are also a few lessons where you will be given an email address that you can use to ask questions, etc.

Each lesson is divided into sections. When you submit a section the site will save your answers and mark your place. Should you leave the site for any reason, you will be able to pick up where you left off when you return.  

Please do not give one sentence answers when you are asked to share your thoughts, feelings, insights or understanding. It is important to be thoughtful and intentional when you are answering the questions. It is better to go through the course material slowly and carefully even if that means you can only complete one section a day. Think about that section, consider how it applies, how does it affect your heart, etc. Then write your response in a thorough manner. This is for your benefit.

"Remember that it is not hasty reading--but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, which makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee which gathers honey--but her abiding for a time on the flower which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most--who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian." Thomas Brooks

Along the way, we will share responses your fellow students have written as they have gone through this course, as well as testimonies. The comments are sprinkled throughout each lesson; we share these with you to inspire you and to assure you that you are not alone—many people around the world are dealing with these issues. We hope you will be encouraged as you see their comments and testimonies showing God at work in their hearts, marriages and situations. These are actual comments from actual course members who have gone before you. We do not use last names for privacy reasons.

We also have a free Purity course for spouses of students enrolled in the A United Front course.

You might want to subscribe to the ministry's newsletter called "The Power of the Cross." You may subscribe by sending a blank email to main+subscribe@SettingCaptivesFree.groups.io from the email account you want to subscribe. This newsletter is sent out once a week, on Sunday, and intersperses short teachings one week with testimonies the following week. Never any spam!

Additionally, we utilize the Setting Captives Free Forum as a way of offering accountability, answers for questions you might have on the course, and general interaction about the course with others. 

Finally, we have made it easy for you to share anything that you read. To see the ease of sharing in multi-media, watch the following video.

Now, let's begin.

My husband was enslaved to the sin of sexual impurity for many years before we experienced victory through the gospel as a united front in our marriage. This course material is the fruit of what God worked into my heart and life through that long journey. I pray that you will find it useful in your situation and that God will give you much hope and strength.

I knew a little of my husband's involvement with sexual impurity before we married, but I naively believed that, once we married, I would be able to meet all his sexual needs so completely that he would no longer be drawn to sexual impurity. Now I can see how ignorant I was. I was ignorant of sin and its power, and I was prideful to think that I could keep my husband Mike from any sin; only God can change a heart and keep any of us from falling into sin (Jude 1:24).

After we were married, I fell into a habit of rationalizing away any suspicions that I had about my husband being involved with sexual sin. I did not want to believe anything but the best of him and, besides, I had no idea how to deal with the sin if it was exposed. Eventually, the evidence and corresponding marital troubles became so glaring that I knew I had to deal with it, but I was hurt and afraid. I did not understand why my husband was sinning in this way, and I didn't know what to do to make it stop.

To God's praise, we had recently started attending a church where the pastor was also a biblical counselor. So, when I came to him and told him of my concerns about my husband, my pastor was reassuring and comforting but also firm in his direction. My pastor told me that I would need to lovingly approach my husband about his sin. He taught me that to truly love someone, is to want to see them successful in their walk with Christ so, if I truly loved Mike, I would need to approach him in love with the goal of restoring our relationship.

The problem was that I was afraid, and I did not want to tell my husband what I had discovered. Indeed, I didn't even know how but, thankfully, my pastor helped me. To God's praise, Mike initially responded positively to our loving reproof, but the months that followed were hard.

I was hoping that once Mike was approached with the evidence of his sin that he would confess and ask for forgiveness and then everything would be fine again, and we could just all get on with our lives, but that isn't how things work with sin. Mike did repent of his sin of sexual impurity, but that did not mean that he was no longer tempted. In fact, for a while, it seemed the temptations grew even more intense!

It became immediately apparent to us that we needed to make some changes to our lives to protect ourselves from the attacks of the devil.

Under our pastor's instruction, we began learning how to be united in love and in spiritual warfare. We did whatever we could to work together to overcome.

Next, Mike and I sought ways to rebuild our relationship:

  • He would call me more frequently to tell me what he was doing and where he was.
  • He also bought a cell phone, which allowed me to reach him anytime I wanted. Now he also has an app on his phone that allows me to see his location.
  • He encouraged me to become more involved with our finances and had me review all the bills that came to our home (phone bills, credit card bills, etc.).
  • I began to organize my day to maximize my time with Mike and to seek the Lord on how I might grow in my role as a godly wife and mother.

It was not an easy road to travel but, now I can look back and rejoice at God's grace and mercy in bringing us through this fire so that we might begin to reflect His character. By God's grace and power, my husband is walking in purity, and we remain united in love and the gospel.

We would like to help you. It would assist us to know you better if you could please share a little about the struggles you are facing and about your family life. Please answer the questions in the next step.