Journey With Jesus

Do Not Commit Adultery

I was searching for a brother in Christ who I had not seen for over a decade. I could not find his status on any of the social media channels I knew he was on in the past. I began to wonder if he had died and all his social media accounts were closed. Then, I learned that he fell victim to the pull of pornography. This pull was so strong that he was lured into areas that are not accepted even in these sexually liberal days. The reason I could not find him is because he was arrested.

The seventh of the Ten Commandments given in the Old Testament is, “You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14).” In the Old Testament, there are several ways that a man could commit adultery. They all include having physical sexual relations with a woman who is not the man’s wife.

Jesus expanded the definition of adultery to include any lustful thoughts or fantasies toward a person who is not your spouse. Jesus said, ““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).” Jesus was saying that the desire to have sex with someone who is not your spouse is the same as the physical act. He emphasized that the intention is the same as the act.

Jesus is not condemning the natural interest that men and women have in each other. He is condemning the deliberate filling of your mind with fantasies that, if acted out, would be a violation of the Old Testament definition of adultery. Like all sin, adultery in Jesus context is allowing a temptation to lead to a desire to commit adultery even if the desire does not lead to a physical act.

Left unstopped, a wrong desire will lead to a wrong action and end up turning a person away from God in shame.

This is why pornography and premarital sex are so damaging. Before I was married, I had premarital sex. In college, pornography was all over the fraternity house for which I was a member. The memory of those premarital sexual encounters and pornographic images are permanently etched in my brain. It took me years to get to a place where I could banish them from my consciousness. When they try to resurface, I have to call on the Holy Spirit to give me other thoughts.

Jesus knew the damage that lustful looks can cause. That’s why he said, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell (Matthew 5:29-30).” We know he was speaking figuratively because even if you remove your eyes and limbs, your lustful thoughts will still remain.

What form of adultery do you struggle with today? Is it pornography? Is it lusting over a woman or man who is not your spouse? Do you flirt with a person who is not your spouse? Even if they are only in your heart, Jesus commands you to bring them to him so he can help you eliminate them. 

1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you about this directive?

2. What are you going to do about it?

3. Who are you going to tell?

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