Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)
TITLE: Save your marriage (for men)
By Jeff Lowe
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With the divorce rate at church on the same level as the secular world is we need to find the spiritual ways to fight the good fight of faith and combat the enemy where he tries to get toe-holds in our life before they become strongholds. In order to give you wife the commitment, dedication and respect that she deserves and that you promised her, it will all start in your eyes; the window to your soul.
As men we have a natural built in “hunger” that needs to be fed. The initial selections of items to your “menu” are images that you’ve fed your mind with before you have intimate contact with you wife. Although it’s ideal to think that marriage would be an answer to the hunger, there are habits of the eyes that are brought into marriage. If they have not been disciplined correctly, you will have an unstable, double-minded thought life. It also diminishes your prayer life with God.
Today’s society that is full of readily available images. From billboards and commercials, to television and movies, these are ready to shoot arrows and missiles of lustful images into your head to satisfy the flesh. The mind must be guarded by what comes into the eyes. As you discipline your eyes, your mind will follow, as well as the Holy Spirit helps your efforts;
“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 KJV
You may have lied to yourself and said, everybody looks, it doesn’t hurt to look (and throw out the verse when Jesus said you commit adultery by thinking about it), but it is these types of addictions that are used by the enemy to draw you into bad habits and into deeper things no matter what level you serve in church. In a recent study,even 37% of pastors say they struggle with some sort of internet porn*. Because women think quite differently from men, most would be shocked to know what temptations we constantly deal with, but with communication, they can be the best teammate, to help win the fight.
When you successfully practice these things you will appreciate the love of your life in more detail, as you have trained your appetite for the correct “diet” for your menu. I make a habit to personally toss out any department store ads with bikini or undergarment that come in the mail or even cut out any lewd pictures from car or sports magazines to make sure my house, or the “first line of defense” does not have tolerance to recruit those images or “idols” to become objects of even the briefest of glance of worship. This “house cleaning” is good especially if you have young boys around. Your wife should be more than willing to assist you when she can be your solo “menu” item.
Sometimes there are female co-workers or even ex-girlfriends that your “flesh” will try to store images for references. Learn to look away, or say a little prayer for them to keep your mind exercised in faith. Some male friends, even at church, may converse about the “in-between-meal-snacks” on their menu, but mediocrity is a key to an easy attack from our adversary. Compromise is none of your business.
This ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for adultery, divorce or having a wife feel dirty and inadequate if the problem is really you. There is a lot at stake. Stop the fantasies. Truth is better than fantasy. And when you know the truth, it will make you free (John 8:32). You owe it to yourself, to your wife and children to live well in your own precious garden of Eden. With your efforts, your upgrade to reality over fantasy, will allow this heaven on earth.
*(Leadership Journal, Winter 2001)
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