I recently heard the most interesting message about adultery – not literal (aka cheating on your spouse with another person) adultery with others, but adultery against God.
The passage of focus was 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. The messenger that day started by talking about the movement of different ideas and thoughts through us – how something first sits with us and where it ends up as we get closer to and more intimate with it. This journey, he highlighted, is as follows: 1) the mind (“a stranger”), 2) the heart (“a friend”), and 3) the belly (“a spouse”).
Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (KJV).
So basically, where the Spirit resides, where ideas and thoughts are the most intimate are in the belly. Idols come into play, then, when we allow those things of the world – entertainment, people, ideas – come through our mind, through our heart, and into our spirit. We go from treating these idols as strangers, then as friends, and then finally as spouses. And that’s when we enter the realm of adultery against God.
Today, I ask myself the following questions: am I being adulterous with God? Am I allowing intimacy with idols instead of intimacy with the Spirit? Am I being intimate with the world? The answer to all of these is yes. But I cannot fix this on my own. Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
God’s word, not our own will, sanctified us. It redeems us from adultery.
God does not give us these warnings against sexual immorality, against adultery, lightly. The sobering reality can be seen in the story of David. After David sleeps with Bathsheba, one of his advisors, Nathan, confronts him. David repents, and Nathan tells him he is forgiven. He says, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” However, he goes on to say, “But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
The reality is that showing contempt for the Lord, being intimate with this world, has its consequences. The Lord is merciful and takes away our sin and saves us from death. But sometimes there are consequences that we have to face in the aftermath.
I pray today that I can understand the grave nature of adultery against God. I pray that He gives me the strength to live according to His word – because I cannot do it on my own.