Living in a sexually supercharged world and facing the prevalence of pornography on the Internet and in today's media, how are you doing with this issue?
The prelude to adultery is the enticement and cultivation of physical desire: lust. Lust is desire out of control. Coveting encourages the mind and heart to desire what another person has. Adultery is a direct contradiction and violation of the lifelong marriage covenant. The Scripture forbids sexual intercourse outside marriage. Adultery is a sin of huge proportion.
But Jesus taught a deeper law affecting the heart: “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NKJV).
Figuratively, the Hebrew word for adultery means “to apostatize or to abandon what you believe and revolt against your faith.” This is the inside motive of adultery, a conscientious but subtle form of resentment at not being free to do what the flesh craves.
This was King David’s sin when he saw Bathsheba bathing. David liked what he saw and, over the objection of his servant, ordered her to be brought to him. He manipulated events and arranged the death of her husband.
Adultery damages nearly every relationship around it, including the extended family. Forgetting the goodness and mercy of God by giving in to immediate impulse and physical passion brings self-inflicted consequences to the body and soul: God removes His protective shield, and His blessing is forfeited.
Preventing Adultery and Infidelity
When individuals try to prevent a lover or spouse from cheating, they often jump to negative, controlling, and possessive behaviors. Some snoop and stalk. Others become needy, controlling, and jealous. Yet others threaten, beg, or plead. None of them are effective. In fact, they might be counter-productive to a happy, loving, and successful relationship.
How does adultery happen and how can we avoid it? Ask yourself the following questions to keep yourself accountable.
Discretion: Am I allowing a relationship in my personal life to weaken or damage my marriage? James 4 warns us to keep our bodies in check. If you obey the First Commandment to love God, the Seventh Commandment will never be an issue. “This is the will of God–your sanctification; that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, NKJV).
Discipline: What am I reading, viewing and listening to? Sexual temptation is mind-centered, but it enters the mind through the senses. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1, NKJV). The media’s sexual bombardment is incessant, and failing to discipline yourself is failing to be a disciple.
Devotion: Since we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, NKJV), are you stronger today as Christ’s follower than you were a year ago? Can others see any change? “… Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV). Have they?
Desire: What do you really want in life? Sexual temptation is when a person “… is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14, NKJV). Jesus said, “He that keeps my commandments loves me” (Cf. John 14:21). What is keeping you from being fully committed to doing what pleases God?
Diligence: Are you intentionally and consistently making every effort to study the Bible and to seek God’s perfect purposes in your life? Sin keeps you from the Bible, but the Bible will keep you from sin (Psalm 119: 9-11). What would be worth missing His ultimate blessing?
The following are excerpts from The true confessions of an adulterer who was also a Shrink: Jay Kent-Ferraro, PhD.
Following are the six reasons I chose to have an affair and what I did in the aftermath to grow as a man and husband:
1. I believed that the rules didn't apply to me.
2. I confused significance and self-worth with certainty and success.
3. I made up a story that my wife was the cause of my unhappiness and disappointment in our marriage.
4. I was an accomplished liar.
5. I confused sexual attraction and fantasy for love.
6. I didn't take responsibility for my mental health.
In his book, Dr. Jay Kent-Ferraro, PhD reasons why his affair happened in the hope of opening up a dialogue that changes the conversation about betrayal wounds and what we can collectively do to design intimate relationships that heal, protect and build fulfilling lives.
References: 1. Late Pastor Ross Rhodes, 2. Jay Kent-Ferraro, PhD.