As I prepare for the last installment of the series this weekend, my mind goes back to something I talked about last weekend. Temptations are a regular part of life, whether or not one is married. There are temptations to do things that we know are wrong. Married couples experience this in their lives as do single people. Marriages are meant to last a lifetime but too often we are tempted to seek comfort and support outside of that covenant. How many times have we shook our head at how Hollywood treats marriage with outright contempt. We know that Hollywood is full of desperately unhappy people (have you followed the Charlie Sheen saga?) and yet we don't seem to question their lifestyle. As I've said, some people in Hollywood change marriage partners as often as some people change socks!
How is it that we are to live in the midst of all the temptations that life seems to hand us? Remember, since the devil cannot claim your soul, he wants to claim your effectiveness. If we succumb to the temptations we face, we will experience the same blame, shame and fear that Adam and Eve faced following their sin. There is a better way.
In order to faithfully address the issues we face, we need to remember to not wait until the desires of temptation fill our hearts. We need to address these at the doubt and deception stage. Remember what the serpent told Eve in the garden: Did God really say that? That was the doubt stage. And then the serpent replied to Eve when she told him that God had told her that if she ate of the fruit, she would surely die. The serpent replied "oh no, you will not die." That is the deception stage. She didn't do anything about the doubt and deception, which led to her desire to actually eat of the fruit. It was too late.
James 1:15 reminds us of what happen when sinful desires fill our heart. They lead to destruction and death. This is where many marriages fall into the trap of unfaithfulness and sadness. I invite you to consider, today, how you may have allowed the doubts and deception to fill your mind, affect your heart, and have led you to actions that you may regret. The good news is that God will give you His power to overcome those temptations. Temptations aren't sinful, it's what you do with those temptations that can bring you life or death.
I am the poster child of mistakes and missteps. But I also know of grace and forgiveness. I am so thankful to Julie who has helped me be a better man. We have learned together and we have grown together. God wants to help you too. Turn to Him for help. Fill your mind with God's truth about His word and character. And then continue to put Him first in all things.
This weekend concludes the series on Marriage. I invite you to be present as we learn more about the role of forgiveness in our relationships. In the meantime, continue to seek God's presence and truth in your life.