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Friday, September 08, 2006

7th Way to Delight in the Lord

As a child, I thought the 10 Commandments were simply a set of rules to follow. Then, I discovered I couldn't keep the rules, leading me to Christ for my righteousness. Then, the 10 Commandments no longer condemn, but show us the character of God. As a believer, I can look to these laws to see how to please the Father. For if Christ never once violated these laws, and my desire is to look more like Him, then these laws help me know Him.

You shall not commit adultery.

Of the people I surveyed, most initially denied adultery, yet were quick to agree with Jesus' words that lust is adultery of the heart. Typically, they follow up with a comment that lust happens to all of us and that it is inescapable. Our flesh allows us to confess sin, see that it significantly violates the standards of God, and then immediately dismiss it as no big deal.

But is a faithful marriage defined as a marriage that avoids adultery and lust? Have we completely pleased the Lord as long as we flee from youthful lusts? Many in the church have redefined a successful marriage simply as a marriage that doesn't end in divorce. But a quick glance at Ephesians 5:22-33 reveals the standard for a God honoring marriage is higher than mere survival. In I Corinthians, Paul speaks that a person can handle sex with their spouse in an unfaithful way:

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

These words of Paul sound repulsive to many. In a society that celebrates a woman's control of her body, even to the harm of another life within her, how can Paul have the nerve to claim we should consider our spouses even in regard to our bodies? Paul explains just a few verses later why this is true:

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

When God joins two together as one flesh, each member is then called to consider the needs of their spouse. Joining with another person then violates that union God has made. Jesus explained that entertaining thoughts about another violates the union God has made. Paul then challenges that considering self before your spouse also violates the union.

And unfaithfulness to one's spouse is an act of unfaithfulness toward God.

[Other commandments: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10]


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