Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cheating Men, Part 2

In “this nation of temporary arrangements,” as John Updike described our country in Too Far to Go: The Maples Stories, the marriage vow becomes hard to understand. People still regularly make that vow. Often, of course, we may wonder what they think they are doing, and almost as often, I suspect, they may be completely oblivious as to who or what actually authorizes them to make such a promise. With our "no fault" divorce and our denial of the destruction it brings to lives of children

Today we are so concerned about what we want and how we want it, we have little understanding of what it means to be faithful. We change jobs, switch churches, move from relationship to relationship. When someone cheats in a relationship, we say that they were unfaithful. But faithfulness is a Fruit of the Spirit.

In II Timothy 3:1-5, Paul describes the spirit of people at the end of the age:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Paul lists nineteen characteristics, with "lovers of themselves" and "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" serving as bookends containing the others within them. How can a person be faithful to another person, much less God, when he loves himself more than others? How can a person be faithful when his own gratification means more to him? How can a person be faithful if he is a headstrong, haughty slanderer and traitor who is disobedient, greedy, unloving and without self-control?

Faithfulness hinges on what we deem as important. We can be faithful to a sports team, a school or even an automobile, but find it difficult to stick it out with friends, jobs, marriages. Luke 16:10 tells us, "He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much."

Who was more faithful that Christ? For 30 years he was faithful to his Father's purpose and for three years of ministry he was faithful to His mission. He was faithful even to death, faithful to His promise to us. Let us be faithful in our vows to each other.
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