A couple posts ago my title was “Did God really say. . .” I’ve been trying to write another post on “Does God really mean now what He said. . .” and have decided it sounds too much like a sermon. While Bible study is a passion of mine, and I want more and more of its truth to soak into my soul, my intention for this blog is to share my heart. So, join me today for a cup of coffee and a chat.
What do you think when you hear the word, “faithful.” My guess is that it’s in the framework of marriage, because if someone is “unfaithful,” our minds go to broken vows – those words said by a man and woman to each other in a wedding ceremony. So, how do the words, “faithful” and “single” connect? Like the word, “intimate,” “faithful” is now generally used to define sexual actions toward a chosen one – in the boundaries of marriage.
So, if I am single, unmarried, unattached, alone – whatever you want to call it – how am I to be faithful? Why is it that the enemy of our souls chooses to flaunt just one aspect of our sexual being as the one thing which expresses who we are? Well, it’s because he is smart. He chooses a deeply engrained element which is bound together with ties to our body, soul, and spirit. We like what feels good physically; we like to think about what makes us feel good; we like to experience that oneness of spirit with another person. God built those things into our being to be an expression of His glory. So, of course, satan is going to take something precious to God and twist it. He tells the lie that it is irresistable and that God couldn’t possibly really mean what he says about faithfulness and fidelity, not only in this area, but in all of life.
On one hand, discipline is admired; on the other, it is spurned as outdated. We watch olympic athletes with admiration when they swim and run and leap and ski and skate their way to a gold medal. What we see, however, is a result of hours and days and years of practice in small things which grow with use. The performance would not happen without preparation and practice. Same with faithful singleness. It’s hard work!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been refreshing my memory on a set of variations by Mendelssohn which I first worked on years ago. It feels really good to use aspects of discipline learned as a piano major in college. I thought I knew how to play the piano before going to college. My piano professor let me know right away that simply pressing down piano keys wasn’t enough! Hours of slow practice of one or two measures, endless scales in octaves, thirds, fifths and even sevenths, and octave etudes were required. What was difficult and often boring – and certainly not fun at the moment – grew into a foundation of tremendous enjoyment when applied to pieces written by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. Using the discipline became 2nd nature.
The same is true in faithfulness training. Think of the Old Testament story of Joseph. Genesis 39:6b-7 says: “Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!’” (NIV) Joseph refuses because of the trust placed in him by her husband – and by God. Joseph considered sleeping with her as a sin against God. (Genesis 39:9) When she entraps him and he flees, her false accusations land him in jail. Read his amazing story and see the overarching umbrella of faithfulness modeled for all time.
Job makes an interesting statement in chapter 31:1: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” (NIV) The Contemporary English Version (CEV) says, “I promised myself never to stare with desire at a young woman.” Ahhhh! There’s a hint to a step of the discipline involved in becoming faithful. I have choices in what I see, hear,and experience. And, it’s not only men who need to learn this discipline.
Well, my cup of coffee is empty, so I guess it’s time to go take a walk. More thoughts next time. 🙂