Friday, July 10, 2015

Is financial stability more important than fleeing from sexual immorality?

You may be thinking, what does a single guy know about marriage? My answer to you would be, not a lot, except what has been revealed to me by God in his Word. I have been thinking a lot lately about couples who have married young and how God has provided for them. Our culture tells us that we need to be financially stable and into our careers before we even think about getting married. While this advice may logically work, it may not be the proper course for young Christians. Let me explain.

As Christians we are in an all out war against sin, Satan, and the forces of darkness. Sin crouches at our door waiting to attack. If you are a regenerate Christian, you know this story all too well. You can relate to Paul when he says in Romans 7:

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with ythe law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

With this being the case for Christians, we must battle against temptation and sin with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We preach to ourselves that in Jesus, we have been forgiven, reconciled to God, deemed righteous, no longer condemned under the law, accepted and approved by God, and will enjoy Him forever. There is also a practical fight against sin. We cannot put ourselves in situations that would lead to temptation and if we do it is often necessary to flee those situations. What if delaying marriage is one of those situations?

In the fight against sin we are admonished to flee sin! Paul says in 1st Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” I would hope you would agree with me in saying that sexual immorality is one of the hardest temptations to overcome and often leads to sin. The Bible has a lot to say about sexual immorality and its dangers along with the hurt that can come from disobeying God in this area. We are told that sex is a good gift from God that is to be enjoyed in the bounds of a covenanted marriage. Sex outside of that will only bring hurt, pain, and despair. If it is true that sexual immorality is one of the toughest temptations to fight, along with the fact that the Scripture commands Christians to flee it, is it wise of Christians to have prolonged dating relationships? My answer would be no. As I said earlier, while our culture tells us we need to wait for marriage until we are stable in our careers and our finances are in order, the Scripture says neither. In fact, the Bible never commands us to be "financially stable" but it does command us that there be not a hint of sexual immorality among you (Eph 5:3 NIV). The Bible says nothing about being set in you career before you marry, but it does have a lot to say about sexual immorality. The Westminster Catechism says this:

Question 137: Which is the seventh commandment?
Answer: The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Question 138: What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

Question 139: What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.
Notice “Undue Delay of Marriage” in bold. The saints of old considered this an important issue and we should too.

Young people in dating relationships may think marriage at a young age is impossible in today’s age but that's not so. I want you to know that i have personally witnessed God’s faithfulness through several young couples, who desired obedience to God because of His salvation through Christ Jesus, more than following popular culture. They considered it more  previous to sin against God and more delightful to honor God, than listen to what society told them. I have seen God provide for them in ways that lead me to worship of God. He has taken care of his children as they honor him living life as He has designed it. They have their struggles, no doubt, but each of them would tell you the joy of walking in obedience to God far outweighs the affliction. In fact, I would say their leap of faith has skyrocketed their trust in God and his provision. If you are a Christian who has been in a dating relationship for a while I urge you to think on these things. God will provide for you, what that looks like I don't know, but I can honestly say He will take care of you. It is highly unlikely that any of the couples that spurred this article on will ever be wealthy, but they abound in joy and are basking in the abundant life that Jesus promises those who flee to Him for Salvation. If you are a parent of a young person who is considering marriage at a young age I would urge you to support them in this endeavor. All families will fear for the well being of their children, but i can say to you that God will provide, that He is faithful, and that you can trust Him. He may even use you as a means to accomplish this! 

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to all of the young couples who have taught me this great lesson. It has been a joy to see God work in you guys lives. You all are a constant reminder of God's grace and His promise that He will provide for his Children. Thank you for showing that obedience to God always looks different than what the world says we should do. May we consider the seriousness of sinning against God and choose to delight in Him as we walk in joyful obedience. 

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