Heidi: Welcome, everyone. It’s so good to be with you here today. Heidi Howerton is here with my wonderful friend Jani Ortlund and we have been studying the 10 Commandments over these past couple months together, and today we’re specifically looking at the seven commandment again, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Last week, we talked about what the seventh Commandment means and this week, we want to talk about what it means to live out the seventh commandment.
“How” do we live out the 7th Commandment?
Jani: Yes, we don’t want to just teach the “what” we want to teach the “how” and we want to do that in two ways: how to live this out, and then how to give it to the children in your life. So today, we’re going to talk specifically about living out God’s command to us, “You shall not commit adultery.”
The Sorrow of Divorce and Snare of Adultery
We know from Malachi 2:6 that God says he “hates” divorce. Why? Well, because marriage—every marriage—points to something higher than human romance. Marriage is God’s idea. Marriage is uniquely a symbol of Christ and the church in love together. In Ephesians 5 we see that.
Some of you listening today have gone through the terrible sorrow of a divorce. You know firsthand the pain and bitterness and tragic repercussions that come from the severance of a one-flesh relationship torn apart. Maybe it’s your parents, maybe it’s your own marriage. Maybe it’s a child’s or a grandchild’s marriage, but you have experienced this firsthand.
As we mentioned in our last podcast, all of us have played with adultery in our minds, if not with our bodies. Infidelity can mean more than physical adultery. It can mean unfaithfulness to your vow to love, cherish, honor and obey your husband. No one has ever kept this commandment perfectly.
“Is it even possible to live out this commandment?”
What legacy, then, can we leave for the coming generations? How can we try to live out this commandment?
Remember that each commandment is two-sided. While prohibiting something it also promotes the opposite. This commandment is promoting the beauty of a holy romance between one man and one woman in the bond of sacred marriage. How can we promote strong marriages in the years ahead?
1. Guard Your Spirit
Well, first of all, let’s guard our own spirits as we’re told in Malachi 2. Someone once said,
“Marriages are made in heaven, but so are lightning and thunder!”
How are you guarding your spirit against the storms of life? We are all like the proverbial puddle. We look clear enough until someone steps in and stirs up what’s inside to cloud that once clear water. What rises to your surface when you’re bugged, tired, agitated or angry?
Maybe you’re disappointed in your husband, his earning power or his lack of personal drive, his time-consuming hobbies, his spiritual malaise. Maybe it’s the conflicts with the in-laws or your less than thrilling times of intimacy. Maybe it’s his inability to understand your moods and your needs. Is there simmering beneath your exterior a longing to be free from the inevitable confinements of a lifetime promise? Oh, dear listener, don’t let that simmer turn into a boil. Oh my, ask God for his help. You see, marriage has to be an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. That commitment means a willingness to sometimes be unhappy.
Heidi: I always think that love is not always a feeling. It’s a commitment. When we tell our husbands, “I love you,” we’re saying whether we are happy, agitated or irritable that we are vowing to be theirs.
Jani: Yes, that’s so good Heidi.
Well, let’s think about two things that can help us to live out the seventh commandment. The first I’d like to recommend is this: guard your spirit. Matthew 15:19 puts it this way,
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, adultery, sexual immorality…” and others are listed in that verse, but we’re talking about adultery today.Matthew 15:19
Don’t let your heart get “muddy”!
So how do you guard your spirit? Well, you need to feed your soul with the things of God not the sewage of this earth. One way to guard your spirit is to have a daily encounter with the lover of your soul, Jesus Christ. Are you spending time in the Word? Are you letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly? Think of how much time you spent just yesterday watching the news, reading blogs, watching videos or TV. I might say, listening to podcasts, although I’m glad you’re listening to ours! What was occupying your mind with language and scenes which tempt you to an unhappiness, dissatisfaction, unholiness to sin?
We read in our last podcast from Matthew 5:27-30. Heidi I think it’s worth it to read that again. Would you please read for us Matthew 5:27-30?
“You have heard it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. for it, it’s better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into 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 your members than that your whole body go into hell.”Matthew 5:27-30
Heidi: Jani, this verse is so helpful. I think about all the things that I’ve come across in life that I’ve had to stop. There were some TV shows that, at times, I was into, and Mike said, “What are you watching?” or as I was watching it, I felt different things in my heart and thought, “This isn’t good.” The worst is when I get a book and I take it to the beach, and I’m enjoying my book, and as I get into it, there are things in it that are not good for my soul, and I have to say, “I’m going to shut this book and I’m not going to pick it up again,” because it just muddies the water. Why invite anything into to our hearts that can muddy our water and tempt us towards anything that isn’t complete love with Jesus and complete love with our husbands?
Jani: That’s so good, Heidi. I’m just so glad to hear you testify to that because Jesus uses strong language in those verses you just read.
Heidi: Yes, cut it off and throw it away.
Jani: Or how did he put it? “Tear out your eye” or “gouge it out” some versions say? I mean, that’s strong. What he’s saying and what you’re testifying to is that you’re willing to endure pain to leave sinful habits behind.
Heidi: It’s hard to shut the book, and sometimes I even will tell Mike that what I’m reading, there is schmuck in it and so I just have to put this in the trash can and that’s not fun because then I don’t have a book. But I would so much rather do that then let my heart get muddy.
Jani: Well, that’s good. That that helps with our first point: guard your spirit, dear listener. Whatever the cost, be willing to endure pain to guard your spirit.
2. Set your Heart and your Body TOWARDS your Husband
Secondly, I just want to encourage those of you who are married to set your heart and your body towards your husband. Let me encourage you in this way. We need to love our mates with all that we have. You see, it’s not just having a husband, but loving him that makes you live in unity with him.
I believe you really marry three men. The one you thought he was when you met him, the one he really is and the one he will become by living with you his whole life. What will your husband become because you said yes to his proposal to marriage? Will he be helped to obey this command by your loving, willing, happy responses to him?
On Admiration & Respect
Happily married women know that having a husband does not make a marriage any more than having a piano makes a musician. Study your mate. Do you know his needs? Do you understand them? Ephesians 5:33 teaches us that your husband needs your admiration and respect. He needs you to appreciate him and value him. Are you proud of him? I love Sarah Tisdale’s little poem called “Appraisal.” There’s a stanza in it that goes like this: “Never think she loves him holy/ Never believe her love is blind/ All his faults are locked securely in a closet of her mind.”
Oh, let others hear you speak well of your husband. Admire and respect him.
On the Home
He also needs a home to retreat to for quiet, and peace and refuge. Have you tried to create that for your man? Below are some Proverbs for you to consider as you ask yourself, “Am I following the Lord’s wisdom in this way?”
“A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.”Proverbs 19:13
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house with a quarrelsome wife.”Proverbs 21:9
“It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.”Proverbs 21:19
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”Proverbs 31:26
On Inner & Outer Beauty
Your husband also needs a woman of both inner and outer beauty. He needs to be proud of you in public and also in private. Does your husband find you attractive? Does he find you tasteful? Here are some Scripture references that speak to the intimacy between a married man and a woman fo you to look up if you’d like to delve into that more deeply.
- Song of Solomon 4:9-5:1
- Proverbs 5:15-21
- 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
On Physical Intimacy
Your husband needs physical intimacy with his wife. The Bible talks a lot about this. God delights in the romance of marital love. If your husband obeys the seventh commandment, you will be the only God-blessed source of personal, physical enjoyment that he will ever experience. Give him the joy and pleasure that one can only experience within the security of a godly marriage. Proverbs 5 instructs your husband to become drunk or intoxicated or captivated with your love. Are you helping him obey the Lord in this way? If the physical part of your relationship doesn’t become all it can be, your marriage can still survive because sex is not everything. But let me tell you, your marriage will have a soft spot, a vulnerable side where Satan can attack.
Let me close our podcast today by sharing a favorite Ann Landers column of mine. It comes from the Chicago Tribune from 1965, but I love this little story. It’s a beautiful love story of a family celebrating their parents 50th wedding anniversary. Heidi, I love this so much. Would you like to read it for our listeners?
Heidi: This is such a fun story. Yes, I’d be happy to Jani.
Last weekend, we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. This morning, they left on a long-awaited trip to Hawaii. They were as excited as if it were their honeymoon.
When my parents married, they had only enough money for a three-day trip 50 miles from home. They made a pact that each time they made love, they would put a dollar in a special metal box and save it for a honeymoon in Hawaii for their 50th anniversary.
Dad was a policeman, and Mom was a schoolteacher. They lived in a modest house and did all their own repairs. Raising five children was a challenge, and sometimes, money was short, but no matter what emergency came up, Dad would not let Mom take any money out of the “Hawaii account.” As the account grew, they put it in a savings account and then bought CDs.
My parents were always very much in love. I can remember Dad coming home and telling Mom, “I have a dollar in my pocket,” and she would smile at him and reply, “I know how to spend it.”
When each of us children married, Mom and Dad gave us a small metal box and told us their secret, which we found enchanting. All five of us are now saving for our dream honeymoons. Mom and Dad never told us how much money they had managed to save, but it must have been considerable because when they cashed in those CDs, they had enough for airfare to Hawaii plus hotel accommodations for 10 days and plenty of spending money.
As they told us good-bye before leaving, Dad winked and said, “Tonight, we are starting an account for Cancun. That should only take 25 years!”From Ann Landers, June 6, 1998. “$1 Goes a Long Way”
Jani: Don’t you love it?
Heidi: What a sweet story!
Jani: It’s so sweet.
Quick Resource to draw you closer together
Heidi: Jani, I wanted to mention, too, as Mike and I have worked on our romance over the years, we all go through seasons in marriage where we need to be drawn closer together. There is one book that we’ve been going through these past two months. It’s called “Husband in Pursuit” and “Wife in Pursuit.” They are two separate books, but they you can use them separately if you want to do it and your husband doesn’t. Or you can do it as a couple and it’s written by some Christian authors with little daily challenges of how to love your husband based on Scripture, how to pursue him in ways that would make him feel loved. We have so enjoyed it these past few months. So I just wanted to add that little tidbit in for our listeners. If you’re looking for something to deepen the intimacy in your marriage, that might be a great idea.
Jani: What a good idea. Oh, I hope our listeners grab a copy and benefit from it. Thanks, Heidi.
A prayer for us all
Well, let’s draw this to a close by praying. I’m just going to pray for the marriages represented through our listening audience.
“Oh God, Creator of marriage, Designer of romance and commitment, we need you. I want to ask your blessing over every marriage that is represented through our listeners today, Heid’s and my marriage as well. Father, safeguard them, protect them against the wiles of the devil. Oh Lord God, raise up strong marriages that show the love of Jesus for his bride, the Church, to the world that protect the children who are being raised in them. Lord, I pray for those who are listening whose hearts are breaking over divorces right now. Comfort them, drawn near to them, give them hope. And, Lord, we just asked as we walk through the coming weeks, months and years that our lives will show forth the glory of Jesus Christ as you restore our souls. Thank you. In Jesus name, amen.”