[This post is primarily for my male readers, and specifically for my married male readers. This is not to say that you ladies cannot benefit, but for now, you are not my audience. Thank you for your indulgence.]
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
(1 John 2:14 ESV)
So many stories have been coming across the wire in recent months that speak of broken high-profile Christian marriages, often due to the infidelity of Christian husbands. Too many stories. You’ve heard them, too, I’m sure; but even if you haven’t, you know the stories. The names change, but the tune remains the same.
And to be honest, there’s nothing new that I can add to those particular stories, in terms of insight. Better men have shared wise and prudent thoughts. And let’s be honest: I’m still a rookie husband. In my mere 16 months of marriage, I have learned most about my own selfishness and God’s abundant grace. There is not much about marriage beyond this to which I can testify with any degree of competence.
However, I want to make a brief appeal to my brothers in Christ, and particularly my married brothers–an appeal based not on my wisdom or experience, but on the Word of God: Be on guard, brothers–these stories could easily be about you and I, aside from the grace of God in our lives and the power of His Holy Spirit.
When I hear such stories, I feel a mix of rage and pity and fear. If a brother came to me and confessed such sin, I would have the simultaneous impulse to embrace him and punch him in the face. Why? Because he has done this to himself, and because he has been ensnared by his own folly.
And just when a feeling of arrogance or self-righteousness rises up in my rebel chest, I have to stop and tell myself, This could have been me. It still could be me.
So this is my plea to you, brothers: Take heed, if you think you stand, lest you fall. Listen to our brother Solomon, as he warns his sons of the dangers of adultery. Be watchful and vigilant, because our Enemy is prowling. And he seeks to devour Christian marriages, making a spectacle of believers in order to discredit the Gospel.
If you are struggling with lust and are tempted to break your covenant, I plead with you for the sake of your soul and your marriage, repent. Seek the Lord. Pray. Remember our Savior, Jesus, the Ultimate Man, who lived a life of perfect holiness and sexual purity as a single man. [Single brothers, stop right now and consider that statement again: Jesus our Lord lived a holy and sinless life as a single man.] His perfect righteousness has been imputed to us, if we are in Christ, and His Spirit is given to us in order to empower us to follow in His example.
Are you being pummeled with temptation? Dive back into the Scriptures. Find a godly man or two, men who truly believe the Gospel, and confess your sins to them so that they can pray for you and encourage you and challenge you and ask you difficult and embarrassing questions on a regular basis. If you need encouragement, please feel free to email me as well, at “the4thdave at gmail dot com” and I’ll do my best to encourage you in the battle.
Do not play with sin as if it were a harmless diversion. Do not indulge lustful thoughts or fantasies. Do not keep such poisonous serpents in your coat pockets. When you find it creeping about your life and skittering around the corners of your mind, you must destroy it by the power of the Spirit of God. Kill it. Crucify it. Crush it. Don’t walk slowly past open doors of temptation, you fools–run from it! Run for your life! Flee as if a pride of hungry lions is chasing you, because it’s true–you are being pursued! Run as fast and as hard as you can from the collapsing wreckage of moral and spiritual and relational self-destruction!
I cannot think of strong enough words with which to plead with you, brothers. Our culture, our entire species of men seem to be drinking the poison of lust and adultery, walking zombie-like in addiction and enslavement, embracing the very thing that kills them. Do not follow after them. Do not mimic them.
If you have already fallen prey to this temptation, it’s not too late. I’m not condemning you, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rather, I am pleading with you to remember who you are! Remember that you have been born again, and are no longer a slave to sin, to obey its desires. Repent and believe the Gospel, brother, and break free from your chains!
My brothers, I write this to you, and I write this to me. Let us remain vigilant. Let us respond to these stories of fallen pastors and teachers and leaders with prayers for them and prayers for us. Stay on your guard, men. The war is raging.