God said quite simple, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). This entire verse is just one word in the Hebrew language—na’aph—but it packs quite a punch.
Na’aph has two dimensions to it: physical and spiritual. Physically it prohibits sexual relations between a married person and someone not their spouse. Closely related to adultery is fornication, which is unmarried people engaging in sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage. Spiritually na’aph prohibits worship of anything other than Jehovah God.
This means that an inappropriate intimate relationship on the physical level affects our spiritual relationship with God, and vice versa. That is why immoral sexual acts are almost always incorporated into the worship of false gods. But which came first? Did someone leave behind God’s design for sexuality and begin a downward slide away from Him, or did someone’s heart stray from God and the evidence was the illicit sexual acts? It starts when we leave God’s love behind (see Romans 1:21-32).
Adultery and fornication are fueled by lust. Lust is rooted in selfishness. And by it’s very definition, selfishness kills love. Adulterers and fornicators cannot truly love each other; they are only using each other to satisfy their own selfish cravings, and in so doing, they are actually abusing each other.
So here are 7 ways to avoid becoming an adulterer:
- Love God passionately—Mark 12:30.
- If you’re married, invest in your marriage—emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.
- If you’re single, develop discipline. I define discipline as choosing what you want most over what you want now.
- Guard your eyes—Job 31:1.
- Avoid tempting places—Proverbs 5:8.
- Fill your mind with God’s Word—Proverbs 6:20-24.
- Have an accountability friend—Proverbs 7:6-9.
Any sexual relationship outside of God’s prescription—one man married to one woman for life—short-circuits God’s design, so it can never fully satisfy. Adultery and fornication break God’s heart because of the damage it does to our relationship with Him and to our relationships with each other.
I will be continuing our look at the Ten Commandments in our series The Love In The Law this coming Sunday. Please join us!