The Married and Singles Series – Guarding Against Temptation

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Thus far we’ve explored What is a Christian Marriage, Attracting AdamThe Successful Single Parts 1 and 2, and It’s Not All About You. Since marriage is a union joined together by God, the enemy is always active in attempting to tear it apart. For those that have gone through many marital tests over the years, I’m sure you can relate.

Selflessness has a key position in marriage and requires the fruit of the spirit to thrive (Gal 5:22-23). According to scripture, your selfless service to your spouse comes second to God and before the children (Deut 6:5, Eph 5:22, 25, 31). For the bond to stay tightly woven, there are responsibilities God has given you to defend it (Eph 6:10-18). Failure to do so cannot necessarily be blamed on the enemy all the time either.

When one fails to take responsibility and do his/her part, it not only affects your spouse, it boomerangs and a succession of madness begins. Once it starts it’s hard to stop.

For example, an argument or disagreement regarding his lack of consideration for your emotional needs or monetary provision can breed resentment that may cause you to withhold sex or preparing dinner for weeks. Also, constant nagging or overspending can cause him to disconnect from you emotionally. Depending on how long you’ve been going through this exchange and the length of the episodes, someone will eventually grow weary of the cycle. They will withdraw and sometimes find another to confide in. They believe this person offers everything you don’t.

In reality, the negative is just so magnified until it overtakes the positive. If you are not strong and careful—sexual and emotional infidelity can rear its ugly head all because you both couldn’t find a way to work through the problems when they were small, now they are eroding the foundation.

Nonetheless, the act of falling into infidelity cannot just attach itself to you or your spouse if it wasn’t allowed to enter into the thoughts entertained previously in one’s mind to begin with. James 1:15 KJV says, Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Though many say, “it just happened,” this just isn’t true.

A conscious choice is made when one moves forward with someone else, all the while The Holy Ghost screams “turn away, leave, run, this is wrong!”

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV God’s Word says, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Did you get that?

Every temptation faced, big or small, God promises to provide a way of escape. We are given an option to flee rather than fall into the trap because His grace will abound more in our moment of weakness (2 Cor 12:9). If we fail to leave when provided the opportunity to do so, it means we then make a decision to move forward in sin. This happens when unclean thoughts are allowed to occupy the mind (weeks and months earlier) without driving them out as soon as they enter. When this happens and other people occupy the space they have no business occupying, evil takes root.

In 2 Samuel, David knew exactly what he was thinking when he watched Bathsheba bathe and he also knew whom she was married to. He lusted after her prior to the moment he decided to pursue her and commit adultery. In other words it didn’t “just happen.” After allowing temptation to take over, he found out they had conceived a child. David then tried to cover up his actions by murdering Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. He thought he hid the sin, but he could not hide it from God.

Chilling things can happen when we operate from our lustful desires and feelings opposed to Godly wisdom. One cover up leads to another. Now you’ve bought something unruly upon the household and family that cannot be undone. Suddenly the thought of working things out and communicating wasn’t so bad after all.

Once one decides to cheat (for whatever reason) in this age of technology, everything has to be concealed more so than in the days of David. At the end of the day it’s just too much work to keep a lie covered. Eventually the truth will come out. A lie always changes, but the truth stands firm no matter what.

So how do you protect and guard your marriage?

When temptation finds its way to your relationship—run fast! Charm is deceitful and sometimes it’s just timing (during a hard time in your marriage), or the niceness of a person that can distract you at your job, church, the grocery store, or while you’re out and about. When old friends and ex’s from years prior find you on Facebook, keep moving and ignore the friend requests. There is no need to catch up and find out what they are doing with their life. You’re married and your attention should be on guarding your family unit, not opening the door to who knows what.

Accept them for who they are and not what you want them to be. Your spouse has their own mind. You cannot control them or make them do what you want them to do. Though we want them to do what’s right and make the best decisions for the family—this isn’t always the case. When there is discord and your spouse is out of alignment with God, continue to submit to Christ while remaining faithful, prayerful, and diligent. Let your love radiate no matter how dark things may get. This is a time of testing for you while God is working on stretching and maturing your spouse. They may be very stubborn, but only God’s hands can pry them from that. Meet them where they are and ask God to give you an overflow of strength to go through this.

Make time to communicate. By this I’m not referring to just talking, I’m referring to actively listening and responding when he/she has finished their thoughts. Ask questions to clarify and to gain an accurate understanding of what they mean. When things are too heated to talk rationally, reconvene later.  Out of respect you always want to give your undivided attention, so conclude when emotions aren’t so high. During these talks acknowledge their feelings and apologize for anything you’ve done to contribute to the rifts. End your talks with prayer and walk away leaving everything on the table and start fresh. This part is vital to your marriage because communication breakdowns leave your spouse to assume and before you know it they are talking to someone else about your marriage.

Pray and follow up with action. Assuming you have faith that God will work things out, keep your marriage in prayer and place all of your problems in God’s hands. Pray for your bond to be protected from the inside out and be vigilant. Forgive past hurts so things won’t fester and submit to God’s commands to love with actions. Sometimes it’s hard depending on what has previously happened, but God’s unconditional love covers our multitude of sins.  His grace and mercy enables us to start anew. Extending grace is vital to your marriage.

Your marriage is a gift and it is to be cherished and protected at all times. Watch out for anything trying to enter without an invitation. Keep God first and submit according to what He has ordained. Flee from any forms and appearances of evil and commit to love your spouse daily.

 

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