The Vow: The vow of purity
Marriage is a precious and beautiful gift from God. Marriage is God’s idea. It’s God’s plan that a man and a woman fall in love – and commit to each other before God that for the rest of their lives they will love and cherish and be faithful to each other. But then temptation enters the picture and with it potential impurities. Purity in the life of a Christian means making the proper choices to be without sin in his or her life. So no matter your life status, single, married, divorced, remarried… God wants us to be free from contamination in our relationships. When we make mistakes in the area of purity, we have the freedom as Christians to make our hearts right with God and live by His standards.
Bottom Line: I promise to confide in you rather than hide from you.
Something To Talk About:
You love your spouse, but you are holding onto pornography, hesitating to end that relationship that spells trouble, spending too much time with people or co-workers that are not the right people for you, and spending less and less time at home. Temptations are all around us, seeking to undermine our marriage and our relationship with God. So what do we do to fight it? Consider these three things:
- Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy: You’ve probably got secrets—private, hidden things you do or think when you’re alone, or perhaps something that happened a long time ago that you prefer to keep to yourself. You are scared of what might happen if the secret comes out? But secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. Consider this: “How is your marriage enhanced and intimacy promoted by keeping this secret?” By keeping the secret are you sincerely seeking the highest and best good of God’s great gift of marriage? It may seem like keeping some secrets is the prudent thing to do. Secrets may have their place, but that place is rarely a healthy marriage. Even though it may feel risky to open up with the one you love, the rewards of deepened intimacy far exceed the risk and struggle it takes to get there. With a prayer for wisdom and a goal of integrity, you and your spouse may enjoy the security that comes from living a life without the burden of secrets.
- Stay Away: Satan knows we are weaker than we think. He also knows we will go where we think we won’t. Temptation and sin is like a strong undercurrent in the ocean—if you play in it, you’ll be overpowered and swept away. Satan wants us to wade right in. The solution is to be constantly vigilant so you can stay away from that line. If you have a problem with the wrong crowd, pick a different crowd. If you have trouble with alcohol, stay away from places that serve alcohol. If you watch the wrong TV programs, change the channel. But if you find yourself in a sticky situation? Get out! Don’t just walk away — run. You don’t try to resist it, you run away. “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
- Seek God: “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9-11) The psalmist hid God’s word. He did not hide God’s word for the purpose of concealing it from the view or discovery of others. He rather hid it for the purpose of safekeeping so as not to lose it. He hid it in his heart so that he might not sin against God. It is not enough to store God’s word in a notebook or in a computer program. It needs to be inside each of us so we know what the Bible teaches regarding certain sins. That way we greatly reduce the chances of stumbling into sin unexpectedly.
- Is purity realistic let alone possible in today’s culture? Why or why not?
- How would you describe what shame and secrecy can do to relationships? Why do you think this happens?
- What are the situations or circumstances in which you could be tempted? What could you do to eliminate temptation before it happens? What does it mean to flee?
- How do we best build accountability when it comes to marriage purity?
- Read Psalm 119:9-11. How do you stay pure? How does this affect who you hang out with, what you watch, and where you go?
- What does it mean that he has “hidden God’s Word in his heart”? Can we do that today? If not, why not? If so, how?
- Read Psalm 119:14-16: What value does the writer place on The Word in these verses?
- What steps is the Holy Spirit leading you to do this week? Commit to a step, and live it out this week.
Take One Thing Home With You:
For any Christian, in fact, for every Christian, it is really vital that you know how to study the Bible, that you be able to dig into God’s Word yourself, to gather, grasp and to gain all the riches that are there. Jeremiah, who in Jeremiah 15:16 said, “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name…” The Bible is a tool to help us draw nearer to God and to deal with temptation and sin.
James 4:9-10 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 echoes that, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”