“You shall not commit adultery.”
Exodus 20:14 (NIV)
The Seventh Commandment offers the prescription to affair-proof your marriage and experience a love that can last a lifetime. However, living in a sex-charged culture where the philosophy is more about self-gratification and the pursuit of pleasure over commitment and faithfulness in a monogamous relationship with one spouse till only death do you part, how do you effectively keep this command? Given the bombardment of sexual temptation, how can you keep your way pure? It begins in the heart. Jesus went deeper than the act of adultery in this command to the heart of the problem when He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:27-28 (NIV)
In other words, if I’m going to avoid adultery, I need to overcome the lure of lust. Recently, I shared with our church six practical guardrails we can use to affair-proof our marriage and conquer the battle of lust. Here are the first three…
1. The first guardrail that will protect us from driving off the cliff into an affair is to commit to God’s standard instead of our culture’s standard. Make that commitment now before the lure of temptation is before you. There’s power in a promise and God’s Word empowers us with His promise. Lust is every man’s battle. The Psalmist asked, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9 (NIV) When you align your life with God’s Word, He will empower you to stay pure.
2. Look past the lure and see the consequences of the hook. Very few fish will ever bite a bare hook and very few of us would yield to the temptation of lust if we took a minute to consider the devastating and life-long consequences of adultery. The fact is Satan doesn’t practice catch-and-release. His desire through lust is to reel you in and set the hook and he knows just the lure to use that will get your attention. Adultery can lead to relational death, emotional death and physical death. James 1:14, 15 puts it like this, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
3. Realize the lure of lust will never satisfy your real hunger. Our God-given hunger is for true intimacy. Lust is a cheap imitation for love. True intimacy is the expression of authentic love and God’s design for every marriage between a man and a woman. Proverbs 5:18-19 says, “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth … May you always be captivated by her love.” Lust will always leave you empty. It can never deliver what it promises. Commitment is the fuel for real passion. Sex outside of marriage is all passion with no fuel and will flame out like flash paper leaving nothing but ashes.