Vol. 5, No. 4
~ Page 13 ~
I listened to her sob over the phone, "This isn't supposed to be happening to me -- I'm a Christian wife and mother!" The very sound of her voice made my heart feel like lead. For months, she had been involved in an affair with a man she had met at work. A friendly chat had evolved into dinner, then intimacy. Now her adultery had been exposed. She was pregnant with her lover's baby and could no longer hide her burgeoning figure. Everybody knew -- her non-Christian friends at work, her family, her church family, her husband and her God.
She lamented her behavior and wanted ever-so-desperately to turn back the clock -- to undo her illicit deeds. Then, too, she worried about how her future would unveil. "Where will I live?" she asked. "Who will take care of me and the baby?" "What about my other children?"
I wanted to say some magic words. I wanted to alleviate her grief and mend her broken heart. Most of all, I wanted to see her restored to the Lord and her marriage repaired. My last wish wasn't possible. Having severed her sacred trust with her husband, he had filed for divorce. In a few days, the legal work would be completed and their eleven year bond would be dissolved in a court of law.
I didn't say it to her on the phone, but I couldn't help ponder later, "She should have thought more about sin." That's right! She should have thought MORE, not less, about sin. Often times we get ourselves into trouble because we don't think enough about sin and its consequences. Jesus said, "...It is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29b.) Hell. Wages (cf. Romans 6:23; Numbers 32:23; Galatians 6:7-8.) Consequences. Satan doesn't want us to think about consequences -- only the momentary gratification and pleasure. If he can divert our attention away from the results, we will falter and sell our soul for a "mess of pottage" (cf. Genesis 27).
I have a new-found appreciation for the words of the Hebrew writer:
"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" (Heb. 11:24-25, NKJV).
Moses thought about sin. He considered the eternal dimensions of staying in Egypt and sharing in the sensual pursuits of his peers.
"What faced [Moses] was a crisis decision: whether to remain in the eyes of men 'the son of Pharaoh's daughter,' or to throw in his lot with the despised people of God. He could not be both an Egyptian and an Israelite. On one hand was all the splendor of Egypt, with its rare treasures and its magnificent heritage; to be in Pharaoh's palaces and to possess perhaps even the throne, to be in a position of power and in a place of privilege and refinement -- all the things (the author describes them as the fleeting pleasures of sin) an ancient empire could offer. On the other hand were poverty, contempt, and affliction; for Israel at this time was a nation of slaves, groaning under its heavy load, with broken spirits and vanished hopes, hemmed in inexorably to daily abuse. Yet Moses, by faith, recognized these to be the people of God. He deliberately chose to travel with them the dangerous way rather than to continue in ease. He saw, by faith, that to continue in ease would be sin and further, that the pleasures of sin give no lasting satisfaction…" [Neil Lightfoot, "The Faith of Moses," Jesus Christ Today, 215-216.]
Like Moses, we need to think more about sin and what happens if/when we yield to our desires:
"A brief, lustful look could lead to an affair."
"A simple wink could wreak my marriage."
"Moral compromise would invalidate my example."
"A single click of the mouse could lead to a wrong relationship."
"A short-term thrill would devastate my family."
"An affair will jeopardize my salvation."
"The fleeting excitement of passion will rob me of inner peace."
Dear Christian, have you thought enough about sinning? "...But fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4b; cf. Revelation 21:8).
The third chapter of Genesis communicates many rich lessons for today, but one principle that seems largely ignored is the distinct difference in opinion between man and God as to what is appropriate clothing. After Adam and Eve sinned and realized that they were naked, they covered themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). When God confronted them and pronounced their sentence, it says, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21).
It is interesting that Moses did not write that God "re-clothed them" or "added additional clothing." As far as God was concerned, they were not clothed. Though they had made some effort to cover themselves, God determined that they had not done so adequately. The Hebrew word for "coats" denotes a garment that went from the shoulders to the knees. Therefore, we can know for certain that this amount of covering pleases God. However, in today's world, far too often, Christians and their children let summertime temperatures, the latest fads and fashion, and worldly friends have more influence on their choice of clothing than God does. How can we possibly be "clothed with Christ" (Galatians 3:27) when we do not let him influence our "other clothing"?