31 July 2008

Adulterous Heart – 12.18.07

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children. (2 Peter 2:14)

The warning in 2 Peter 2 regards a man who claims to be saved but believes he can live any way he wants to…and encourages others to think the same way (the warning continues into chapter 3 and closely matches the book of Jude). The passage states that the end of that man is worse than his beginning.

Among the many identifying characteristics of such a man laid out in the chapter is "having eyes full of adultery…an heart…exercised with covetous practices." So let's conclude our consideration of Some Hearts Not to Have with a look at the adulterous heart.

The phrase "having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin" well describes the society in which we live. A covetous, adulterous heart is promoted and encouraged pretty much everywhere we turn. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, music, advertising, radio, at school, on the job, in the checkout line…the list could go on and on.

Notice that as with the heart of envy, this adulterous heart is rooted in the sin of covetousness. One with an adulterous heart has an inordinate desire for that which does not belong to him. Until before God and witnesses you pledge your life and love to the man or woman you will for ever call your husband or your wife, you have no right or claim to a physical relationship with a member of the opposite sex. That does not belong to you. Our country does not understand that. Sadly, many Christians do not understand that or do not acknowledge that.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

There are a couple things to note about this passage. First of all, one does not have to be involved in the physical act in order to be guilty of adultery. It is a matter of the heart. Secondly, notice that guilt can be attributed to both parties. The passage states, "hath committed adultery with her in his heart." The man who casts a lustful eye at a woman is guilty, and the woman who dresses and conducts herself in such a way as to provide the temptation is just as guilty. Thirdly, note that there is a difference between looking and seeing. Living in today's world, sometimes you can't help but see some things you don't want to see. But you do get to decide whether or not you look.

How did David's sin with Bathsheeba start? 2 Samuel 11:2 says, "And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon." Had David immediately turned away from what he saw, he would not have gotten himself in trouble. What was the problem? There was a covetousness in his heart for something that did not belong to him. And so the "saw" turned into a "look." And you know how he ended up.

Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. (Proverbs 23:33)

Whether you're a young man or a young lady, your heart is going to utter some perverse thing at some time or another. It is going to happen. And you need to purpose in your heart, right now, what your response is going to be. What are you going to do when some thought races across your mind that you know shouldn't be there? It's going to happen. You have to prepare yourself. You need to examine your heart right now and ask God to show you if there's some unchecked desire for something that's not yours.

The only way to combat these temptations the devil throws our way is to capture those thoughts and lay them at the feet of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). But in order to be able to do that, you'll have to be on guard. You'll have to be ready. So prepare yourself, right now.

I understand this happy little devotion is a bit heavier than most, but you've got to admit, we all need this. We have to realize that none of us is above anything. I'm just as capable of falling as anybody else (1 Corinthians 10:12). If King David fell like he did, then I can definitely be in danger of doing the same. And I don't want to do it. Neither do you.

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