Call it what it is—Adultery! And WW Linkup

Bride of Christ

I have a confession to make … I’m an adulterer. 🙁 Sadly, I have sins in my life that have moved from a one time offense, to a habit, to a compulsion, to an addiction. I mentioned some of those in my last post that you can read here.

In fact, we all need to look at any sinful pattern in our lives that way.  We need to face the horrible and destructive truth that we’ve made something or someone, not just our addiction, but also our idol and, worst of all, our illicit lover.

The question you might want to ask yourself is . . .

[Tweet “What or who is your illicit lover—drawing you away from the God who died for you?”]

As we continue on in our Resurrect Me series, I want to look at the heartbreaking way James put this into perspective for us . . .

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” ~James 4:4-5

I think James used the term adulterous to describe our sin of addiction and idolatry because:

  • It reminds us of the way the world operates—pursuing whatever makes us happy in the moment.
  • It reminds us of the intimacy we have in our relationship with God. #Godisourhusband (Is. 54:5-6)
  • It reminds us of the hurt and betrayal God feels when we let someone or something become more important to us than Him. #heartbrokenGod (Eph. 4:30)
  • It reminds us that we’ve broken the covenant God extends to us. #actlikeanenemy (Ezek. 16:59-60)

Thankfully, God holds up His end of the bargain (covenant) with us, no matter what! But the damage to our “fellowship,” due to our habitual sin, should not be ignored or minimized.

What do I mean by “fellowship”? #churchywordalert

I simply mean that it places a wedge between us and our Maker by hindering our intimacy (1 Jn. 1:6-7, James 4:8). And it sometimes can lead to God refusing to hear or answer our prayers (James 4:3, Ps. 66:18).

[Tweet “But … there is grace! There is forgiveness when we turn back to God! #repent”]

“But he gives us more grace. This is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” ~James 4:6

That’s what I want to focus on today. We’ve talked about how subtle these addictions can be. They don’t march into our lives with trumpets blasting to announce their arrival! They slither in at night and entangle and bind us around our feet.

Try walking in freedom with an addiction wrapped around your ankles! You know what comes next! #fallonface

But that’s the best thing that could happen to you! Fall on your face! 😉

Once you’ve identified your “illicit lover(s),” surrender it/them to the Lord—leaving those lovers at His feet.

I mentioned last week that we can’t simply quit our addiction or remove all temptations in life, but we can surrender them to God. That’s when we take the next step of replacing them and not just replacing them with another addiction—though that’s often the “temptation.”

Next week I’ll be looking further in this James passage to see what exactly surrendering and replacing our addictions and habitual sins looks like.

I hope you’ll join me!

 

How would considering your “habitual sin” as “adultery” motivate you to surrender it to God?

 

How do you feel about the way God feels about any habitual sins you have in your life?

 

[Tweet “Christian bloggers, come join me for another Wedded Wed Linkup! #messymarriage”]

Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Join our Wedded Wednesday Linkup!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to Wedded Wednesday or Messy Marriage as well. For Wedded Wednesday guidelines and buttons, click here.

Messy Marriage

  • Hey Beth! You are slaying me with this post. I thought for sure it had to do with an affair between a husband and wife, but it being between me and the Lord is so personal…it applies to us all. Thank you so much for sharing the thought of habitual sins and adultery in this light. And thanks for hosting another fine link-up!

    Have a blessed week!
    Tiffiney
    WelcomeHomeMinistry.com

    • Yes, Tiffiney, I hoped I might catch some attention by coming out of the gate that way! 😉 But yes, it’s a rather sobering realization that I want to understand and face in my own life. It also keeps me from judging those whose sin is no blacker than mine. We all are in need of the Savior’s grace and forgiveness.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Wow, Beth. This is a really, really powerful post, and I bet it shakes up a lot of people. I am convinced that no marriage can thrive without Jesus, because “where ever two…are gathered in My Name…”

    Jesus is the tent that shelters the couple from the storm. Without him, it can get pretty cold and wet and dark, and the winds can blow husband and wife far apart.

    I have to confess that while I do have a feminine side (pink is one of my favourite colours), seeing myself as Christ’s bride is a bit too much of a stretch.

    I can see the truth in what James says, but I have to see it in a different way…disloyalty to a brother in combat. For me, that’s equally bad…and, in fact, a capital offense. So I don’t think I’m dodging anything…at least, I hope not.

    (For what it’s worth, I also can’t do the ‘falling in love with Jesus’ thing. It just doesn’t work! The love’s different, but it is there. I wonder how many men share this discomfort? Do you know?)

    What may have been addictions at one time have been pretty well flayed out of me in the last few years, and I literally can’t get through three steps without turning to The Big J for bucking-up. Basically, He yells at me…up close and personal, to get my undivided attention. “Get up, get it done, and do it RIGHT! NOW!”

    I’d say that’s a pretty personal God. And it’s the best way of getting the message across for me.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/04/no-ticket-to-world-story-of-viet-nam.html

    • I wholeheartedly agree on your statement that no marriage can thrive without Jesus–not truly on a deep soul level anyway, Andrew. I love that you are willing to admit that one of your favorite colors is pink. I’m partial to it as well. 😉 And yes, I do think about how hard it might be for a man to consider themselves as the “bride of Christ.” I even brought that up to my hubby back a year or so ago, trying to get his perspective. He says he has no problem with it, though, I think that he views it from the vantage point of loving Christ–without all the fru-fru, feminine trappings that being a “bride” conjures. He simply loves Jesus–no more, no less. That’s probably what you are saying too. It doesn’t have to have some “romantic” wrapping to be true, deep and powerful.

      I always think that you’re perspective of Jesus as some loud-mouthed general snapping orders at you is not the Jesus I know. But I think I also see how Jesus was and is no wimp and expects you and I to be brave and strong in His strength. I think we are saying and viewing things in very much the same way but stating it quite differently.

      Great to have you visit, my friend! You are always in my prayers. 🙂

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  • Too many “good” things stand between God and His church, between God and His people. I often try to evaluate so I can know what it is at any point in my life… I try to surrender daily.
    God’s grace is sufficient and I really do not mind falling on my face, for me, that’s the best place I can be, as long as I fall on my face BEFORE MY FATHER.
    Thanks Beth, this series is doing a great work in my heart.

    • That’s a great way to put it, Ugochi–too many good things stand between God and His church. It’s a sobering thought, to be sure! We are missing out on so much, so perhaps facing the cold hard fact that we are adulterous will prompt us to get our hearts right. I know you take your faith very seriously, my friend. I’m grateful for that humble adoration you demonstrate consistently, sister! God bless!

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Wow, Beth…food for thought. At different times I have put many things/people before God. Thank you for a post that encourages me to examine my soul. The best part is that I’m not left with condemnation, but instead, grace when I repent. Forgiven….I am blessed.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Yes, beautiful grace, Bev! That’s where I want you and I and the rest of those who will listen to land–in God’s grace. Thanks for you kind words, my friend!

  • Deborah Will

    Wow Beth. You hit us all because we all have some addiction. Working on mine with food but it’s a battle.

    • Yes, even food can be an insidious addiction. I find that to be one of my temptations as well–especially as I grow older and feel like my body “craves” certain things. I blame my hormones for it but I have much more power at my disposal than I often think. Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Deborah! Great to have you in the linkup as well.

  • Chilling. I’ve steeled my heart to the admission that my sin points to idolatry, but . . . adultery. Unfaithfulness to the God of my heart. There’s material for prayer here for sure. Thank you (I think).

    • Oh yes, Michele. That word feels so much uglier than idolatry, doesn’t it? It clearly hits me between the eyes. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • Mary Flaherty

    Truth. Especially how they “Slither in at night and entangle and bind us around our feet. There’s a song called Slow Fade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QASREBVDsLk

    • Yes, I remember that song from the movie Fireproof. It really illustrates the insidious nature of temptations and the addictions that follow, Mary. Thanks for sharing and blessings to you, my friend!

  • Mary

    This post certainly speaks some truth for all of us. I know I have habits that suck up my time and in some ways act as a way of numbing myself against reality. Recently I cut the cord. I got rid of cable TV, mainly to save money, but if I look at that habit carefully, there would be times I would have the TV on in front of me and it took me to a place of escape. If I examine it carefully it was an addiction. Social media can be the same way. After spending a week in Nicaragua without social media, I learned I can live without it. I did love being able to turn my phone back on when we arrived back in the states to connect again, but it is not something I need to have in front of me 24/7. Thank you for showing us that adultery is anything that pulls you away from God. I do not want to be considered an adulterer. Good to see you again, Beth!

    • You bring up a good point, Mary. These “affairs of the heart” are really all about numbing us to the pain we feel in life. Sadly we think that they are better equipped to provide that relief than our beautiful Savior!

      I’m glad to hear that you’re taking measures to cut back on things that distract and easily turn into addictions. I don’t really watch much TV anymore, though there are some programs that I don’t like to miss. But the internet, well, that’s a whole other ballgame. It does tend to take over my life at times–because I let it! Thanks for sharing so honestly about the struggle, my friend. I need to email you about our swing through your neck of the woods on May 19th. Check your calendar because I’d love to grab a cup of coffee with you, brave girlfriend!

  • Susan

    If I was a bible character, I’d be one of the bad girls. Adultery. Ugly thing. I was the wife of an adulterous man in the 80’s. A divorce resulted. I became the adulterer after that. I confessed, repented, and turned from my wicked ways in the early 90’s. Now, as hard as I try, there are things that sneak in and steal my affections – not even bad things, but that’s not the point, is it? Excellent post. xo Thanks for the linkup.

    • Aww, Susan, I so appreciate your vulnerability and honesty about that part of your past. But the truth that I hope you glean from this is we are all in that same boat. No matter what sin we’ve committed, we have all been adulterous, so we cannot judge or condemn each other. And we certainly can’t remain complacent about our sins. Thanks so much for your kind words to me, my friend. Have a great week!

  • I love how God is greater than our weaknesses. “He gives us more grace!” He is faithful when we aren’t. What a Savior!

    • Yes, that’s certainly where I know God is blessing you, Debbie, in that weakness–whether it’s a physical illness, fear of the future, or the ability to do all those God-sized tasks He has called you and me to do. Love your heart and praying you are like David–slaying the many giants in your path with God’s enablement and healing. 🙂

  • Adultery is such a scary word that we don’t want to ever apply it to ourselves. But you make it plain here, Beth, that “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Checking my heart today….

    • Isn’t it, Lisa?! Leave it up to our bold and brash brother, James, to tell it to us like it is! I thought I’d just join him in the wake up call this week. 😉 I’m trying to avoid that friendship with the world, though I think I find myself cozying up to it much more than I should or realize. Thanks so much for visiting, dear friend! Blessings to you!

  • OK, to be honest here, I almost didn’t read your post, because I was on my high “oh-adultery-doesn’t-apply-to-me” horse. Ouch – that was a long, hard fall.
    Glad I stuck with it, tho (well, maybe not *glad*, per se, lol) because as often happens with your posts, God surely spoke to my heart.
    By the time I got to the end I had a “short list” of “affairs” and am on my way to (maybe once again?) surrendering all to Him!
    That’s one of the things that I love about your writing, Beth. Even if/when the post is not directly related to marriage, it most certainly speaks to the most intimate relationship we all will ever have…with Him!
    Love your heart and so glad you keep writing, friend! <3

  • pioneerpat1

    Very interesting. We all commit adultery because we live in the world, I can understand that. I can actually wrap my arms around it. I will admit I do like some of the stuff that world has (internet, Amazon, etc) and I will confess that in actual sense of adultery, I am guilty.

    I do have a question and it has bugged me for years. I have a lot of people I know who are hard-core Christians and are in love with material things and all the things that world has. I am pretty much a Buddhist Catholic who reads his Daily Guideposts book every morning. I am told by these Christians that God wants us to have all this stuff and money. I hear all the time from them how they are blessed by having a McMansion, Luxury Car, all name brand stuff, etc and how I am wrong because I am more into higher consciousness and trying for happiness. I have a decent job that allows me to do the other stuff I want in life. I am not a slave to work or advancement. Becoming more spiritual is more important to me than more money but yet I am told by our Christian society than I need to reverse that because that is what God wants. It is a question that I always wrestle with.

    Sorry for being so long.

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