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Purpose: 'Modern Marriage and its Temptations' is part five (E) of the study of Life Principle #3 on Oneness Forever which deal with the hard issues that the church is often unwilling to address, regarding the spirit of divorce especially as it reveals itself in lusts, pornography, arguing and fighting in the marriage.
We would love to say that the church is faithfully proclaiming God’s teaching on marriage. Unfortunately, this is not so.
There are some churches staying faithful to God’s Word. Overall the church is not only permitting divorce, but encourages divorcees to think of themselves as ‘singles’. They sponsor groups to help them find another partner. God hates this spirit of divorce.
“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16).
The Lord hates divorce because it breaks the basic life principle of one flesh. A divorcee has dealt treacherously with their marriage partner. Formerly, only the man would initiate divorce but now with more wealth, the woman also feels free to initiate divorce. God’s heart is broken over this.
What is happening in the physical realm is also happening in the spiritual realm. People are leaving Christ. They are rejecting their obedient tie to the Lord. The tie between marriage and salvation is much closer than many of us suspect.
This is also apparent by the way adultery sullies the marriage as well as one’s spiritual life. The spirit of adultery is all around us. I personally would be bound by this sin if it wasn’t for the grace of God. Let us look at how oneness is threatened by pornography.
Some people consider pornography a needed and normal diversion for boys and men. I have even heard of Christian parents who think they are teaching their sons about marriage through exposing them to pornography. Pornography has nothing to do with marriage! These parents are not introducing them to marriage but to adultery.
If they want to teach about oneness, then parents must keep their children from pornography and give them a vision of delighting themselves only in the one woman of their future. We are grieved by what is happening all around us. Jesus stated in clear words that the heart of pornography is adultery.
“But I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
In other words, the spouse that has set his or her eyes on another with lust has denied the fact of their oneness. They have allowed their own self-indulgent desires to rule over their loyalty to their spouse.
Women are susceptible to the same temptation. An increasing number of women use pornography. They are looking for substitute relationships. By tolerating pornography, sensual movies or novels, they are developing a spirit of treachery. They are turning their back on their vow to their spouse. This happens because they no longer have confidence that God’s way is best. The cure for those caught in the web of pornography is to confess the impurity of their hearts to God and their spouses. Then they must renew the pledge to serve only the Lord by being faithful to their spouse. Let’s look at it in a positive way.
Oneness tells me that God has given me a mighty good thing in a wife. The scriptures state,
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).
We must be content with our spouse. As we purpose to delight only in our spouse, we reaffirm our oneness with him or her. The more we delight in our spouse, the bigger the ‘ranch’ gets. We sense more and more freedom. As Paul says in Timothy, “the law is only for the lawless.”When we do not compromise our heart’s pledge, then the law, i.e. the fence, is not thought of. The many surrounding temptations become less and less alluring. Why? We find joy in the fulfillment of God’s promises.
We understand that some have given up hope. They call themselves addicted. The pull of chemical highs hiding behind sexual lusts can be very strong. However, we must understand that when a husband or wife allows himself or herself to desire another that is treachery. They are breaking their pledge.
Repentance does not mean just trying to stop watching porn on the web. The root of the problem must be exposed. They have been living by ‘twoness’ rather than oneness. They live as if they can make decisions apart from the other.
In fact, when we get a clear perspective of the life principle of oneness, we will see that bad marriages are filled with behavior that denies oneness. They allow themselves to make decisions that go against the oneness of marriage. Pornography is only one example. Let’s think about another area: arguments.
Jesus once said that it is crazy to think of someone that fights with himself, but this is exactly what happens when spouses argue. Whenever a husband or wife opposes the other, they are like some malicious cell gone wild bent on destroying itself. They are countering the oneness life principle. They need to work together rather than oppose each other.
This might sound rather ideal, but are we not to strive to love one another? I have heard too many Christians state that arguments are normal and good. These so-called counselors are not doing anybody any good. Arguments and fights are not normal though they are common. Once we accept them as normal, then this sets the standard. Instead, we need to hold to God’s standard and repent from our argumentative spirits.
We do have differences of opinion. We do have disagreements, but when we start criticizing or using words that intentionally hurt or belittle, we have surely forgotten the life principle of oneness. This truth is for all Christians. The apostle summarizes the approach we should take toward one another.
“And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
There are more important things than expressing, insisting on or enforcing our own desires and thoughts. When a couple esteems God’s will and ways, the way we do something is just as important as what we do. They are willing to exercise humility and patience to accomplish the Lord’s purpose. We acknowledge that due to our sinful self, we do fall from this standard whether it be in our marriage or in a church business meeting. When the standard is high, as God set it, we are able to repent, restore and get back to where God wants us to be.