Friday, May 28, 2010

Counterfeit Pleasure

40 Consequences of Adultery

by Dave Boehi

We were praying for someone who was cheating on his wife. And I was struck by what one person said in his prayer: "Lord, work in his heart so that he will think less about the pleasure he is experiencing and more about the pain he is causing."That seemed quite appropriate to me.

A spouse who is caught up in adultery is living only for the moment, caught up in a fantasy of excitement and desire, and ignoring the very real consequences. Recently a seminary paper came across my desk titled "100 Consequences of Adultery," written by Philip Jay, a student at Phoenix Seminary. The list provides a stark wake-up call about the ways infidelity can destroy a life and marriage.

Here's a selection from Jay's list:

1. If I committed adultery...My relationship with God would suffer from a break in fellowship.

2. I would need to seek forgiveness from my Lord.

3. I would suffer from the emotional consequences of guilt.

4. I would spend countless hours replaying the failure.

5. My wife would suffer the scars of this abuse more deeply than I could begin to describe.

6. My wife would spend countless hours in counseling.

7. My wife's recovery would be long and painful.

8. Her pain would grieve me deeply and compound my own suffering and shame.

9. Our relationship would suffer a break in trust, fellowship, and intimacy.

10. We would be together, yet feel great loneliness.

11. The reputation of my family would suffer loss.

12. My sons would be deeply disappointed and bewildered.

13. My grandchildren would not understand.

14. My friends would be disappointed and would question my integrity.

15. I would lose my job at church.

16. My witness among neighbors would become worthless.

17. My witness to my brother would be worthless.

18. My testimony among my wife's family would be damaged.

19. I might never be employed by a church again.

20. I might never be in men's ministry leadership.

21. I would suffer God's discipline.

22. Satan would be thrilled at my failure.

23. Satan would work overtime to be sure my shame never departed.

24. My wife might divorce me.

25. My children might never speak to me.

26. Our mutual friends would shy away from us and break fellowship.

27. I would bring emotional pain to the woman.

28. I would bring reproach upon the woman.

29. If the woman is married, her husband might attempt to bring harm.

30. He might divorce her.

31. An unwanted child could be produced.

32. My part in conception might trigger an abortion, the killing of an innocent child.

33. Disease might result.

34. Some might conclude that all Christians are hypocrites.

35. My business could fail because I couldn't be trusted.

36. My leadership among those I have led in the past might also be diminished in impact.

37. My zeal for ministry would suffer and possibly result in others not continuing in ministry.

38. My health would suffer.

39. I might have to start life over again.

40. This same sin might be visited upon my family for four generations.

It's a pretty sobering list, isn't it? What's even more sobering is that many people will consider these consequences and still proceed in their sin. The fantasy is more important to them than the reality.

Also note that, though the list reflects a man's perspective, nearly all the consequences would also apply to a wife committing adultery. The biggest benefit of this list may be in helping all of us realize the need to set up strict safeguards to ensure that we are faithful in our marriage commitment. If I am convinced of what adultery would do to me and to my family, I will watch my wandering eyes, guard my thought life, and avoid any situations that could put me in harm's way.

The fantasy is just not worth it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How may a young man know...(Part 6)

...whether he is called or not? (Part 6)

Gentlemen, we shall have to prove our call by the practical proof of our ministry in life, and it will be a lamentable thing for us to start in our course without due examination, for if so, we may have to leave it in disgrace. On the whole, experience is our surest test, and if God upholds us from year to year, and gives us His blessing, we need make no other trial of our vocation. Our moral and spiritual fitnesses will be tried by the labor of our ministry, and this is the most trustworthy of all tests. (39)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How may a young man know...(Part 5)

...whether he is called or not? (Part 5)

One brother I have encountered–one did I say? I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry–they were quite certain of it, because they had failed in everything else. This is a sort of model story: “Sir, I was put into a lawyer’s office, but I never could bear the confinement, and I could not feel at home studying law; Providence clearly stopped up my road, for I lost my situation.”

“And what did you do then?”

“Why sir, I was induced to open a grocer’s shop.”

“And did you prosper?”

“Well, I do not think, Sir, I was ever meant for trade, and the Lord seemed quite to shut my way up there, for I failed and was in great difficulties. Since then I have done a little in life-assurance agency, and tried to get up a school, besides selling tea; but my path is hedged up, and something within me makes me feel that I ought to be a minister.”

My answer generally is, “Yes, I see; you have failed in everything else, and therefore you think the Lord has especially endowed you for His service; but I fear you have forgotten that the ministry needs the very best of men, and not those who cannot do anything else.” A man who would succeed as a preacher would probably do right well either as a grocer, or a lawyer, or anything else. A really valuable minister would have excelled at anything. There is scarcely anything impossible to a man who can keep a congregation together for years, and be the means of edifying them for hundreds of consecutive Sabbaths; he must be possessed of some abilities, and be by no means a fool or ne’er-do-well. Jesus Christ deserves the best men to preach His cross, and not the empty-headed and the shiftless. (37-38)

Rubber Meets the Road