Monday, May 9, 2016
"On Fire": What Fornication and Sexual Infidelity Have in Common
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."---John 10:10(AMPC)
"Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."---Galatians 6:7-8(AMPC)
A couple of weeks ago...
I penned an article about the nine things nine years of abstinence have taught me. As I was writing it, I thought about all of the men I slept with---and all of the times I thought things were going to be different. All of the times I thought "Sure, the Bible says not to have sex but this guy, this relationship...these set are circumstances are different."
It is a epitome of pride (Proverbs 16:18) and self-delusion to think that God is going to put something in place and position for his children...then somehow you are going to be the exception. NO ONE HAS GOD'S PERMISSION TO HAVE SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE. *Absolutely no one*. Hebrews 13:4 says that fornication brings judgment. Bookmark that for a second.
Then I thought about a conversation I had with a woman who recently became engaged. As she shared the story, there were *all sorts of red flags*. Two main ones are she offered an ultimatum which led to the engagement (you know, basically "marry me or else") and she's sleeping with her fiance' under the guise of "a woman has needs".
Dangerous. So dangerous.
Here's just one of the reasons why...
I have shared before that every single married couple I've worked with has one thing in common: sexual sin (I Corinthians 6:16-20--Message) and to a large degree, unrepentant sexual sin. Unfortunately, their pastors/counselors provided some pretty misleading advice. Many of them had the impression that getting married would "fix" fornication. Nope. Confessing one's sins and repenting does that (I John 1:9-10, James 5:16, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10). If any couple has violated one another, sexually, they need to repent (which includes spending a season in a lifestyle of repentance). Not hurry up and get married.
And here's why I say that...
Although I personally used to think that spring fever was a term reserved for young single folks and their thriving hormones (LOL), clearly not. There is a rash of married folks right now struggling with emotional or physical affairs---or both. Some of them I'm counseling (Proverbs 24:6) and the spouse on the "receiving end" of the affair (the one customarily known as "the victim") is livid. Ready to end the relationship. Believes their spouse has done the unforgivable (yeah, be careful with thinking certain things are *unforgivable*--Matthew 6:14-15).
Yet whenever I ask "Did the two of you have sex before marriage?" somehow they can't seem to make the connection. Aside from the fact that studies indicate that premarital sex only increases your chances of divorce, the picture quote is right. Fornication is cheating on God. It's lust, not love (James 1:14-15). It's a form of idol worship (Exodus 20:3). It's also a mere shell of what God designed sex to be.
And the Word is clear...
Not wanting to believe it doesn't change the reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18--Message). The Bible tells us that if we choose (because shy of molestation or rape, it is *always* a choice) to set God's precepts aside, at some point, we will reap what we've sown.
So, how is it that two people can cheat on God and want forgiveness...
Yet will cheat on each other and want divorce?
Where is the humility in that?
Where is the spiritual maturity?
Where is the understanding that God's Word is true?
That doesn't give a spouse a pass (so-to-speak) on infidelity, but it should give the person who was cheated on a better perspective and approach. Infidelity is painful but it's pretty arrogant to think that it was OK to violate God's sexual boundaries and then not want to extend mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16) to your spouse---the one you vowed to be with through the good and bad until death parts you when your marriage boundaries are disrespected. (*Please read* "Until Death Do Us Part---For Real".)
Does that mean that two virgins will never experience an affair during marriage?
I wish that were the case. Unfortunately no. Some will.
HOWEVER, are the chances of experiencing the consequences of violating God's boundaries for sex *significantly higher* than those who honored and waited? No doubt about it.
That's not the say there is no room for forgiveness...
And restored purity.
I will be honest and say that while I don't *expect* an affair in my marital future and I'm doing my best, even now, to safeguard it from happening, I get what Galatians says. An affair is not a deal breaker for me. I have cheated on God *way too much* and he has forgiven me *far too often*---of sexual sin and more---to be so bold as to tell the man I promised to be with until death parts us that he's not worthy of the same.
Yet I'm penning this to encourage virgins to remain pure...
To remind those who are not in a relationship to not have sex...
And to warn those who may be...TO STOP. RIGHT NOW.
TO DO NO MORE SOWING.
And what if, like me, you're not going to be a virgin on your wedding day?
There's a great article that I read entitled "Walking the Wedding Aisle Without Your Virginity". I recommend reading all of it (and checking out the attached podcast). Here's an excerpt, though:
You said that you have heard people say, Save yourself sexually for marriage and it is a terrible thing to squander that. Well, I say: Yes, yes, yes — that is exactly right. That is exactly what I think Paul and Jesus would counsel any virgin: “Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Your body belongs to God as a single person, and it will belong to your future spouse. It would be good to think about 1 Corinthians 7:3–4: “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights” — that means sex — “and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”
In other words, you belong to each other — to no one else. You belong to God in your singleness, united to him in your body by the Spirit. And you belong to God in marriage, through union with your spouse. That is a precious, biblical gift that should be presented in marriage.
That is a gift you don’t have to give. And you will want to teach your children to have it.
So what is the gift you do have to give to this fiancé with whom you have had sexual relations? What gift can you give her that God might be pleased to make so wonderful, the gift you can’t give her will not destroy?
And here it is. You can look your fiancé in the eye and say this:
I failed you. I failed God. And I am deeply, deeply sorry. I hate what I did. I hate the hurt it caused you and me. I hate the dishonor that I brought upon the Lord. I hate the disrespect I showed you in not caring for you better. And I repent.
I turn away from that sin, and sinful forces that drove it. I renounce them. And I turn to Jesus Christ my Lord and my Redeemer and I receive from him his full and blood-bought forgiveness and I cherish it with all my heart.
I tremble at the thought of despising his blood now. And by the Spirit that he has given me, I resolve in his strength never, never, never to betray him or to give my body to any woman but to my wife.
I offer you my forgiven, redeemed, cleansed soul and body in marriage to cherish you and honor you and be faithful to you. I invite you into this new forgiven, redeemed, cleansed union with me. I know there will always be scars and the memories. But God is merciful, and in his time and his wisdom and his way he will make these scars of sin the emblem of his mercy and the signs of his cross.
That is the wonderful gift you can give to your fiancé. And I pray that God will seal that gift for both of you.
If you're single and sexually active, repentance is needed.
If you're engaged and sexually active, repentance is needed.
And please send this along to the married folks you know.
If they had sex before marriage, repentance is needed.
None of us can move through life expecting the future to run smoothly...
If the past is not addressed, repented of and resolved.
Hmph. I can only imagine how many marriages would heal and reconcile (as the Bible intends for them to---I Corinthians 7:9-10) if couples weren't so busy focusing on what their spouse is "doing to them" that they aren't asking God for wisdom (James 1:5) on what can be done to make the union stronger---starting with addressing past mistakes and repenting to God and to one another concerning them.
Satan knows just what he's doing...
Fornication is not about having a good time.
Fornication is about planting seeds that could reap sexual infidelity (and a lack of trust) in the future.
Sex before marriage is not worth it.
Your future marriage will only benefit---reap---if you do!