Saturday, December 19, 2015, 3:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Teach Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 5:27-30 (Select NASB). “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Adultery and Lust On this earth we have all kinds of voices speaking to us – God’s voice, our own private thoughts, our consciences, Satan, and the world, etc. These voices tell us things. Some of them tell us the truth, while others tell us lies. The lies are not always easily discernable, though, especially if we are in the habit of listening to and believing the lies. As humans, sometimes we lie to ourselves, because we don’t want to accept the truth, and so we rationalize and justify our way out of things we don’t want to have to accept, and then we begin to believe our own lies. Been there. Done that. Don’t want to ever go there again. There are Christians (or professing Christians) who regularly commit adultery, but they would never accept that they are doing that because they are not having intimate physical relations with another person. Yet, Jesus said that if we look at someone with lust, we have already committed adultery with that person in our hearts. So, what does it mean to lust? It means a strong feeling of or an intense and/or unrestrained desire; a passionate longing; and/or to yearn for, to crave, and/or to have a sexual urge or craving (desire). So, lust is not limited to sexual desire. It can be emotional in nature, too. God gives us a good picture of adultery when he tells us the ways in which we commit adultery against him. We are unfaithful to him, run after other lovers, and are more passionate about others and the things of this world than we are about him and his word. We make a show of following him, so that we look good on the outside, but inwardly our hearts are full of wickedness and lust for the things of this life. We do “good things” for God, thinking he will be pleased with us, but he doesn’t have our hearts. We don’t obey him and do what he tells us, but we pick and choose what we will obey. The loyalty, devotion, passion, desire, and faithfulness we should have for him alone is spread out to all our other lovers – self, other people, things, acceptance of others, possessions, entertainment, etc. So, adultery is also not limited merely to physical intimate relations between two people who are not married to each other, but who are married to other people. If we have a strong desire for another person, we have personal and private conversations with him or her, we long to be with that other person, and are passionate and excited about the relationship, but we find ourselves less interested in our spouses, and we cease to work on our marriage relationships, and especially if we lie to our spouses, we may be in danger of having a romantic affair with another, which is adultery. Or, it may be that we are giving our heart, passion and desire to another over and above or in place of our spouse that should be reserved for our spouse alone, which is adultery. Our hearts are being drawn to someone other than our spouse, and that is dangerous territory. Adultery, as well, may involve having sexual or romantic thoughts about someone other than our spouses. Included in this may be involvement with viewing pornography or sexually-explicit or sexually-suggestive movies or TV shows, or the reading of novels about romantic relationships and/or with the subject of extramarital affairs or sexual situations included in them. We may feed on these images or on these thoughts and feelings and we may do so out of a desire to meet some need within us we may feel is not being met by our spouses, and this is also adultery, for we are looking to broken cisterns which cannot hold water to satisfy what we believe are our needs, instead of looking to the bride or groom of our youth, and/or to God who made us and who saved us, to satisfy us. Tear it Out The principles discussed here do not merely apply to the subject of adultery alone, though. If we are sinning against God and/or against our spouses or anyone, and we are justifying and rationalizing our behavior by calling it something other than what it is, we need to face it squarely in the face, call it sin, and then deal with it appropriately. The world around us influences us to believe that it is not sin at all, or that it is not sin if we don’t take it to a certain level, but God is the one who sets the standard for us, not the world. We need to stop listening to the world and we need to cease in adopting their customs and values. It is absolutely essential that we are in the Word of God daily, listening to what God says, and doing what he tells us. We also need to respond appropriately to the still small voice of the Spirit of God within us letting us know when we are wandering off from the straight path, and we need to not ignore that still small voice and thus end up quenching the Spirit of God. When we face our sin squarely in the face, and call it what it is, rather than justify our actions, we can then deal with the sin appropriately. If there are things in our lives which are leading us into sin, we need to get rid of those things. For instance, we cannot have purity of mind and heart if every day or regularly we are watching TV shows or movies which glorify sin, or which give us comfort in our sin. We should not allow ourselves to be entertained by other people’s sins, as well. In addition to this, we should not have close friendships with people, including within the gatherings of what is called “church,” who are living in sin, and who tempt us to sin, and/or who help us to justify our sin or to call it something other than what it is, or who put Band-Aids over our serious sin wounds. They are not helping us. They are hurting us. We have to break away from these things/people. As well, if our sin is overeating, we should share meals with people, if eating out, or only eat half or a third of what restaurants serve, and take home the other portion to have for another meal or two. If at home, we should cut our portions in half or reduce them greatly so that we don’t eat more than we need. If our sin is gossiping, we should avoid relationships or groups of people which practice gossiping, and resist the temptation to gossip when the tempter tempts us to do so. If we do gossip, we should immediately confess the sin, and turn from it, and choose to be kind, instead. If our sin is uncontrolled anger (rage, irritation), we need to first look at why we are responding in anger, and deal with the underlying issues of unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, utter selfishness and the like. Then, when we feel anger rising up within us, we examine our hearts, reject the lies, put on truth, put off the anger, and we put on love, kindness, etc., instead. Many Christians daily battle with giving in to sin because they are not proactive in removing from their lives what leads them into sin, and they don’t have a plan in motion for resisting Satan and fleeing temptation and for drawing near to God when temptations do arise. Many people play with sin, and so they get burned. They don’t avoid their triggers, probably because they are prideful and they think they can handle it themselves, or because they don’t really want to give up the sin. And, they don’t have their guard up, so Satan is able to come at them through back doors and to lead them down the path of sin again. It could be that these people don’t really have a relationship with Christ at all, or they do, but they have since fallen back into sinful ways and are need of repentance and obedience to Christ. We are not going to be victorious over sin if we “tempt fate,” so to speak, i.e. if we keep going down the same path, and we keep getting the same results, but we don’t get smart in the process. We are also not going to be overcomers if we refuse to deal with underlying issues. For instance, many people end up in adulterous relationships because they are upset with their spouses over something, but they don’t forgive, and they don’t work toward reconciliation, and so they find it easier to get what they feel they need from someone else who does not know them, and who does not live with them. They live in a fantasy world where they romanticize relationships and they look for that emotional high, which they are no longer getting in their marriage, because marriage involves discussions about kids, finances, in-laws, extramarital affairs, lies, unfaithfulness, etc. And, so rather than working to heal that relationship, they go elsewhere to have their wants satisfied. So, if we don’t want to keep going down the path of sin, we must get radical about sin. We have to look at what we are doing honestly, and stop rationalizing our behavior. We need to examine our hearts to look for underlying issues (sins) which are not dealt with and which contribute to other sins, and we need to turn from those and do what is right. We also must rid ourselves of what is hindering our walks of faith and what is leading us to sin, which may involve some pretty drastic steps, such as getting rid of our TVs and personal and private internet access, or removing certain relationships from our lives, or change our eating habits, or whatever is a contributing factor to us sinning against God and our spouses. Finally, we have to stop doing what we know is wrong, and start doing what we know is right. We must not conduct our lives after the flesh, but after the Spirit. We must resist Satan, flee temptation and draw near to God; be in his Word daily, and do what it says. Teach Them / An Original Work / May 24, 2012 Based off various scriptures Open up the blinded eyes of Those who walk in sin’s darkness. Turn them to the light of Christ And to His righteousness. Turn them from the pow’r of Satan. Turn them to the peace of Christ, So they may receive forgiveness And eternal life. Teach them to put off their old selves And their former way of life, And to put on their new self, Reborn to be like Christ; To not copy worldly customs; Be transformed in life and mind; Obey freely His word in them, Pleasing unto God. Teach them how to love their neighbors Truly as they love themselves; Be a witness; share the gospel; Satan’s lies dispel; Comfort all who mourn in sadness; Share Christ’s love and joy today. Do this through your life and witness For your Lord always.