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July 2018
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What About Fidelity?

There’s an interesting video showing right now on titled Baby Boomers Divorce Rate Skyrocketing.” Of course, these couples are in their 50s and 60s, and one of the stats in this video states that two-thirds of the divorces among Baby Boomers are initiated by the wives. Apparently, the divorce rate among Baby Boomers has doubled in the past twenty years. And, the attorney in the video states that “one third of all divorce filings contain the word ‘Facebook’ . . . and it is turning the divorce world upside down . . . one out of two (divorce) pleadings has something to do with ‘Facebook.’  (Source: Video link cited above includes a transcript button to the right of the video.)

A quote from another article on The Telegraph states, “Divorce lawyers claim the explosion in the popularity of websites such as Facebook and Bebo is tempting to people to cheat on their partners. Suspicious spouses have also used the websites to find evidence of flirting and even affairs which have led to divorce. One law firm, which specializes in divorce, claimed almost one in five petitions they processed cited Facebook.” This article is not specific to Baby Boomers and includes all age groups.

Infidelity is commonplace anymore. Cheating is the norm. And it appears nobody thinks twice about it unless they get caught. Whoa . . . what happened to integrity, ethics, commitment, the marriage vows? And what about fidelity?

While the following story by Dr. Charles Swindoll does not speak specifically to the subject of fidelity/infidelity as it relates to marriage and divorce, it does speak to the whole issue of fidelity and what it truly represents. Let’s read it:

What About Fidelity?

Proverbs 6:27-29, 32-33

I just returned from our nation’s capital where I was privileged to spend time with many of the highest ranking officers in the military. If you have ever wondered if there is anyone in the upper echelon of the military who loves Christ, wonder no longer. Many of these men and women are magnificent models of strong Christian commitment who frequently put their faith on the line.

While sitting around a table one morning, the subject of moral purity surfaced. They spoke of the importance of an officer’s having a clean record and maintaining strong character traits if he or she hoped to be trusted in larger realms and promoted to higher ranks. Their commitment to personal integrity was expressed so spontaneously and sincerely.

As I listened to them, I was humiliated to think that a standard of high moral character was still of paramount importance among military officers while within the ranks of the clergy an epidemic of impurity rages.

As Christian leaders, we need to reaffirm our commitment to moral purity and to private lives that are absolutely free of secret sins. While forgiveness continues to be the pulse-beat of a grace-oriented ministry, a firm commitment to holiness remains vital. Those who adopt a deceptive, compromising life of hypocrisy are responsible for the damage that occurs when they are found out. Nor are the consequences erased, even though they may repent and seek the Lord’s and others’ forgiveness.

Often, we are too quick to breeze past the damage that has been done, attempting to hurry the process of forgiveness at the expense of the restoration process. A contrite heart has no expectations and makes no demands; it acknowledges that the deception and the extent of continued sin result in the continued forfeiture of many of the privileges that were once enjoyed. Please read that again. If you’ve gotten soft on this issue, stop and read the daily reading suggested above (also cited below). Don’t try to explain these verses away. They mean exactly what they say.

The issue here is not a lack of forgiveness; it’s the faulty thinking that forgiveness is synonymous with the returning of all rights and privileges.

Never has the truth of Peter’s words resounded more clearly: “It it time for judgment to begin with the household of God” (I Peter 4:17).

Proverbs 6:27-29 (NIV1984)

Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.

Proverbs 6:32-33 (NIV1984)

But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment;
whoever does so destroys himself.
Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away.

As believers, we need to reaffirm our commitment to moral purity
and to private lives that are absolutely free of secret sin.

Source:  Day by Day” by Dr. Charles Swindoll
Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, 2000, p. 118

Those are very serious words to consider in a world where “anything goes.” While I have never been married and, therefore, have never had to endure the pain caused by an unfaithful spouse and a divorce, this issue of fidelity hits all of us, single or married, right between the eyes. If we call ourselves Christian, no excuse will cover it. None . . . .

Living a life of moral purity in a world that scoffs at such a notion isn’t easy, but then we are not to be conformed to this world as Romans 12:2 reminds us: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The longer we linger at the door of temptation when the opportunity presents itself the more likely we are to go through it.

I Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God has promised to provide a way out of the temptation so that we can endure it and not succumb to it. The real issue is, do we want Him to? 

As Dr. Swindoll states at the end of his devotion, “As believers, we need to reaffirm our commitment to moral purity and to private lives that are absolutely free of secret sin.”

Are we willing to take a stand in a world that scoffs at sin?

Update: I found an interesting Bible study on on I Corinthians 10:1-13 titled It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over that every Christian should read. It encompasses four major areas where sin can take hold in our lives and how it will destroy us. Those four areas are:

1. Idolatry: Putting anything or anyone ahead of God in our lives.
2. Immorality: The consequences of allowing immorality into our lives is staggering.
3. Testing God: Complaining even though God has faithfully provided for us.
4. Grumbling: Grumbling incessantly and never being satisfied.

In I Cor. 10:1-13, the Apostle Paul gives us a little history lesson from Old Testament Israel when God brought them out of Egypt and slavery and brought them into the wilderness to test them before entering the Promised Land. We need to heed that lesson today regarding two spiritual realities (taken from the article):  (1) All of God’s people experience great spiritual privileges (10:1-5), and (2) many of God’s people experience great spiritual failure (10:6-13). And here’s the very hard lesson we cannot ignore: “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness” (10:5). Approximately two million people came out of Egypt and entered the wilderness; and only two, Joshua and Caleb, came out of the wilderness and entered the Promised Land forty years later. The four areas of sin mentioned above destroyed all but two of them.

Yes, let us take heed . . . .

“These are all warning markers—
danger!—in our history books,
written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes.
Our positions in the story are parallel—
they at the beginning, we at the end—
and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were.
Don’t be so naive and self-confident.
You’re not exempt.
You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else.
Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless.
Cultivate God-confidence”
(I Cor. 10:11-12 MSG)

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