MARRIAGE: THE As-Zs OF NEVERS:
A- ADULTERY (part 2)
In this second part on adultery as one of the “nevers” in marriage, I would like to touch upon the importance of faithfulness and commitment in marriage. There are three essentials in any thriving and growing marriage. The first is faithfulness, the second is forgiveness, and the third is communication.
Faithfulness includes so much more than sexual fidelity. Outside of the building of your spiritual life, which provides the dynamics of spiritual virtue, grace-orientation, and capacity for the blessings of marriage (as well as its adjustments), the single greatest and most important part of any marriage is faithfulness. I cannot overstate the importance of faithfulness in any marriage. Without an attitude of faithfulness no marriage can every hope to be a source of true human happiness and blessing as God intended.
Ask any couple what the secret to their marriage is and the bottom line will ultimately come down to faithfulness. You are likely to hear something like his/her faithfulness to me all these years is so unmistakable that I don’t have to live with fear and uncertainty. I never doubt that he/she will be there. He/she is always there when I need him/her…I can always trust her/him to look after my best interest, and being loyal to me…
In faithfulness each partner lives in loyalty to each other. A faithful couple must never allow a third person to intrude into their love relationship. When you are faithful to your mate, you not only avoid adultery, you don’t even give the appearance of interest in another person. Your partner should never feel the need to compete with someone else for your attention or admiration. Being faithful includes loving your partner in ways that meet his or her needs and deepest desires.
Faithfulness really is a choice – just as unfaithfulness is a choice. It is a choice regarding the direction of one’s life (toward God or away from God) as well as the choice for each decision in life. People make their own decisions and must take responsibility for those decisions. Adultery always begins with entertaining thoughts which should never be allowed to take root. The negative believer fails to renew the mind and simply has more temptations whereas the positive growing believer does not entertain such thoughts. There is this idea out there that people just get caught up in the passion of the moment, but the reason they got “caught up” has more to do with failing to renew the mind than anything else. Sex is not merely physical. Sex begins with sexual thoughts. The fact that illicit sexual thoughts are more than mere biological impulses can be seen in that parents of normal healthy/moral thinking have no sexual desire towards their children or relatives – such an idea is repugnant! Why is it repugnant? Because of their healthy norms and standards – because of what is in the mind. The fact that there are parents with corrupted consciences that do have sex with their children only makes the point stronger. It is all about norms and standards. The believer who is really growing spiritually will increasingly find it repugnant to have sexual ideas about anyone but the spouse, whereas the believer who lives in the old sin nature and is negative to Bible doctrine will struggle for the rest of his/her life with illicit sexual thoughts.
The choice to be faithful is on ongoing choice that makes all the difference between an empty relationship and a warm, vital, intimate relationship, which continues to grow in the security of steadfast love. Faithfulness is a daily choice to be a faithful lover in good times and bad times. To be faithful is to put yourself aside and to live in commitment to the other person and his/her needs. To be faithful is to be there for him/her no matter what.
Unfaithfulness begins when you begin to disconnect from that person and if not caught often leads to adultery, which is the ultimate casting off of faithfulness and commitment in the most intimate area. This is not to condemn any person who has committed adultery, for in God’s grace there is always a place for divine healing and restoration. Even David is noted as a ‘man after God’s own heart’ - even after his adulterous relationship (Acts 13:22). Yes there is healing and in grace, the bird with the broken pinion can fly higher than ever before on God's grace. However, let us not forget that David suffered for many years even after he was forgiven for his adultery. David did recover because he became really serious about Bible doctrine and the Plan of God. Most do not recover because they never really get serious about the Lord – because they never really take full responsibility and make the choice to return to true faithfulness of the Word of God.
The believer who daily grows in the Word of God increases in his appreciation of such virtues as faithfulness whereas the believer who does not grow and live out the Word of God simply gets his idea of "faithfulness" from the kosmos. The believer who continues to grow spiritually looks to God who is the Faithful One and has confidence that God will do in him what he cannot do in his own strength,
1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.