“If you don’t want to get stung, Kurt, stay away from the bees.” That’s what my mom used to tell me all the time. Because of an early bad experience with a wasp, my life’s mission as a child was to destroy their nests whenever and wherever possible. The thing is, I’d still get stung. Little did I know how apt an illustration that would be for our temptation toward sexual sin. If you don’t want to get stung by sexual sin, stay away from what will inevitably sting you!
Paul’s letter to young Timothy emphatically warns him against even getting near to such dangers: “Run away from anything that stimulates youthful lust” (2 Timothy 2:22). Now’s a good time to recall what we’ve already covered: what we think and dwell upon is often what we ultimately do. When it comes to sexual sin, when we allow our thought life to become polluted by the pervasive perversions of the world, it’s not long before we try to hide behind a smokescreen of lies to cover up our sins.
God offers a prescription for that disease. In fact, it’s preventative medicine that helps free us from future pain. Proverbs 4:23-27 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (emphasis added).
“Guarding your heart” doesn’t mean living in a bubble and physically running away at the sight of every attractive person of the opposite sex. It means establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries with the opposite sex in order to protect yourself and your marriage. To start your gears turning as to how you can specifically guard your heart, consider these situations that should warn your heart and mind to make a hasty retreat:
Being alone in a private place with an unrelated member of the opposite sex.
Being alone with someone with whom you have an obvious and unhealthy attraction.
Lingering and/or inappropriate physical contact.
Unhealthy and unholy media input, like smutty romance novels or sex-centric movies and TV series (Matthew 6:22).
Emotional/physical weariness leading to moral failures.
Hanging out in tempting places.
Hanging out with bad company (1 Corinthians 15:33).
We all have hearts bent toward foolishness, and it only takes a spark to start a fire. However, when you actively work to purify your thought life, you’re ensuring that no flames start burning for anyone other than your spouse. Stop for a moment and consider what areas of your thought life need purging. Talk to a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor about your issues. Let me remind you again that seeking help is a sign of courage, not weakness. Remember too that a very wise man once said, “God’s power is made perfect in our weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God is there for you in the midst of your struggle. Run to his throne with confidence, so that you may receive mercy and find grace in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
The grass is never greener on the other side unless the other side receives as much care and attention as your own. As you guard your heart, you’re watering your own lawn, and you will see your marriage grow and thrive.
[This is an excerpt from my recently published book: Mr. & Mrs. ~ How to Thrive in a Perfectly Imperfect Marriage! Click HERE to order it on Amazon. BTW, when you order the print version, you get the digital version for free!]
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