Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Speak Up! Living Together Before Marriage

In our world, silence implies agreement.  In this series we're discussing issues about which many Christians are silent.  Often times, we're confused as to what Jesus actually stated regarding these important spiritual issues. Since many Christians are silent, the world assumes we agree with its ideas and actions.  However,  the name Christian means believer in (or follower of) Jesus Christ and His teachings, so we must ask the question: Was Jesus silent about living together before marriage?

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Though Jesus never formally addresses "living together", He does make clear that we are not to be led into temptation.  In the Lord's prayer Jesus teaches us to pray these words: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."  The simple point is this:  Living together before marriage leads to lustful temptation.  Some people say they are stronger than "the temptation" but look what Jesus has to say about lust:
29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. -Matthew 5:29-30 NLT
Lust is just as addictive as cocaine, maybe even more so (because it can remain hidden)!  Jesus knows when we're tempted to lust, we are more likely to give in because it's so easy to hide.  That's why He makes it clear to pray for God's strength against temptation and not put ourselves in situations where we'll be tempted in this way.

Living together before marriage automatically puts people into a tempting situation.  No matter how hard you try, most people can't live together and not give into the temptation of lust.  So why put ourselves in those situations?  (The need to save money is not a valid option.)

The writer of Hebrews makes this point:
4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. -Hebrews 13:4 NLT
Giving horor to marriage means staying pure for your spouse and honoring that person before and during marriage.  Before marriage means honoring God and your future spouse by not leading them into temptation.  During marriage means not committing adultery, which Jesus says happens when we give in to the lustful thoughts in our mind.

Since the beginning God made men and women so they could be joined together as one in Him.
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. -Genesis 2:24 NLT
God created sex.  He created sex to be enjoyed between a husband and a wife.  He did not create it for couples who don't want to commit to each other in case they find "something better."

Living together automatically invites temptation to fulfill lustful desires. Jesus was clear about not being led into temptation and not giving in to lust.  Honor your marriage bed by keeping it pure before and during marriage.  In our culture, it's becoming rare for people to not live together before marriage.

There is forgiveness, grace, and power to walk out of a tempting situation in the name of Jesus!  If you find yourself in this position right now, consider the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. -2 Timothy 2:22

If you're a follower of Jesus and your reading this and stuck in a "living together" situation, consider what Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16: 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. People are watching us.  People, young in their faith, may see us do things Jesus told us not to do and think it's permissible leading them to a path that ends in spiritual destruction. Also, remember, the world is watching.  If we remain silent about living together before marriage the world will assume we agree with its premise that living together is OK.  Jesus didn't and we don't.  

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