I have this friend. It doesn’t matter what his name is – in fact, this is the same story for several couples I know. He and his wife got married in a beautiful ceremony and lived a life of bliss. And then they had kids.
Ok, so life was still pretty sweet. But with kids came more responsibilities, stresses, and distractions. His wife quit her job to raise the little ones, and he worked from home. When the kids were napping or at preschool, they had time together at home, just the two of them.
A few years later, both kids were in school, and his wife went back to work. He still continued to work from home, as same as always.
But, it wasn’t the same. Not really. His wife, surrounded by adults for the first time in years, appreciated the extra attention of her male coworker. My friend found working at home alone dull and lonely, and would reach for a beer – after all, nobody was around to see him.
At work, his wife spent the day exchanging inside jokes with her new friend – her “work husband”. My friend enjoyed a beer or two or three or five, and started watching explicit videos on his computer. After all, nobody was around to see him.
Do you see where this story is headed?
No one plans to wreck a marriage with sins, but, yet people do it every single day. No one ever plans on drifting their eyes away from their spouse, their boyfriend, their girlfriend, but, it happens every single day. Nobody plans to hurt their relationship with sin, but, it happens all the time.
Single people, if you hope to be married someday; married people, if you want a marriage that honors God, listen up: It’s impossible to build a life that honors God on a foundation of sin.
We’ve been encouraging you to take a series of vows with your spouse to strengthen your marriage, and next up is The Vow of Purity.
This idea comes from the beginning of scripture in Genesis chapter 2, starting at verse 24, it reads:
“This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.” –Genesis 2:24-25
They were both naked and they felt no shame. The word shame here means to be ashamed or to feel completely worthless. There wasn’t any sense of being dirty, but, when sin enters the world so does that shame. As a result, we feel unworthy, we feel embarrassed, we feel dirty.
We feel like we need to hide. They were naked and felt no shame. Think about a little child, for instance. My son, Luke, who is 4, could care less; He’d be naked all day if we would let him. It is completely innocent. That’s what is happening here: Complete innocence. Adam and Eve felt no shame.
So, what happened? Adam and Eve were naked and had no shame, and then a serpent came along and tempted them to sin. Eve gave in and Adam did nothing to stop it, and at that moment, sin entered the world. Suddenly, they both felt shame. Genesis 3, starting v. 7:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and make loincloths for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And he said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
Isn’t this true of a lot of us? We do something wrong and we feel shame, which is Satan’s tool to connect what we did to who we are. Satan whispers to us that shame is now our identity. You did something bad, so you are bad.
This is where shame starts to break down in our marriages, our relationships, our friendships. Internally, we think, “I can’t let you know what I did because then I’m unworthy. I can’t let you see my struggle because then you won’t love me. I can’t let you know what I am going through because then you won’t trust me.”
Instead of bringing truth, we often live in secrecy in our marriages. This next part is so important: Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. When we think, “I can’t let him know what I did” or “I can’t let her know my secret battles.” , then we are destroying our ability to be intimate with each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy.
So, here are the Vows we are making:
Vow #1: I promise God will be my 1st priority and my spouse will be my second.
Vow #2: I promise I will always pursue my two.
Vow #3: I promise to confide in you and not hide from you.
We learn more about this in Ephesians chapter 5. Paul is writing a letter to a church a lot like Shift, and here he is talking about the difference between darkness and light in our lives.
Chapter 5 starting at verse 8,
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.
Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.
In every area of our lives this is what we want: to expose darkness before our eyes start to adjust. Find out what pleases the Lord and expose — don’t hide — sin in our lives.
Shame happens in the dark. Healing happens in the light.
When our eyes adjust to darkness, we don’t even realize that we are walking in darkness. It’s our new normal. This is why we have to promise to confide and not hide.
But, what do we think about when it comes to purity in a marriage? I’m not supposed to commit adultery. It’s right there in the 10 commandments. It’s like there is a cheater line that we know we are not allowed to cross.
But, what we don’t realize is that the sin line starts way back there, long before we reach the adultery line.
This is what Jesus said about this cheating line, as Matthew recorded it in Matthew 5: 27,
“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Don’t you love that Jesus turned the whole world on its ear? He tells them what they already know, then rocks their world with more.
Jesus is saying hey guys? The line is way back there, back at the beach where we checked out someone of the opposite sex from behind tinted sunglasses; where we use the same line at the bank drive through because the same person is there every day and they like to flirt. Once we get to this line – the first line — we’ve already started to cross the line into darkness.
Many of us have place our line in the wrong place.
As a result, our marriages suffer. We’re hurting, and our relationship is struggling. And we had no idea that our eyes had adjusted to the darkness. My prayer today is that we would realize where the sin line is in our lives and do whatever it takes to stay away from it.
Because it’s impossible to build a life that honors God on a foundation of sin. Jesus taught in an extreme way about this.
He said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown in hell.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!” (Matthew 5:29-30)
It’s better for you to be a one-armed cyclops than cross the line into darkness. This is what Jesus was saying! He was so, so serious about this teaching. If there is something that is getting in the way of you pursuing Jesus as your one, get rid of it. Don’t get close to it. It’s not ok. It’s wrong. Don’t play with it.
In your relationships, you shouldn’t have secrets. None of us are perfect. No perfect people allowed here at Shift or anywhere, really. We are going to mess up. But, we have to be real. We have to be honest. And we need to do everything we can to guard ourselves from secrets.
That means putting software to monitor your clicks on your computer, phone, and tablet. Let your spouse, kids, and friends have the password to all your devices and your social media. Make sure you use share my location on your phone. Let them weird you out by asking, why are you at the Publix on 34th?
“Why are you at PDQ?” “It’s that buff-blue addiction, babe! It’s a real thing and I can’t quit it.”
Don’t put yourself in any type of situation that doesn’t honor God with the way you live your life. There is too much at stake. For me, I’m married to my best friend and the mother of 5 really awesome kids. I want to honor God first ,and then I want to honor her. I want to pursue her.
You know there’s a lot at stake for you too, whether you’re single, married, it’s complicated.
So the question is how do we live this out? This isn’t a new question: David actually wrote about this in one of the Psalms, Psalm 119 verse 9 says,
David writes, How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.
How do we live a pure life? By living according to God’s word. By following God’s commands. Seek God above all else. Be a person that would be passionate to please God. We have to know what God’s word says. We need to spend time with Him in His word. You should have a soul on fire with a desire to know God!
We have scripture because God wants us to know Him intimately and personally. Every single day, we have to pursue God first and then pursue our two, which can come in many forms: reading His word; confessing your sins to God, confessing your sins to your spouse.
Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy! Proverbs 28:13 says, The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. Confess and receive mercy and grace. If we conceal we will not prosper. Secrecy destroys intimacy.
James, Jesus’ brother, wrote, …confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. (James 5:16) Healing happens in the light. Shame is in the darkness.
This is why we will vow: I promise to confide in you and not hide from you.
Keep your intimacy and destroy secrecy.