The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it.
I am not a gardener, but I understand that to be successful at gardening, you cannot be friendly toward weeds; you have to declare war on weeds. That’s why the late Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld wrote, “He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds.” Now, Hammarskjöld was not talking about gardening; he was talking about our moral lives. He prefaced his statement with these similar observations: “You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind.” And he could have added, “You cannot play with sexual immorality without losing your marriage.”
It is very easy to neglect weeds that grow up in our marriage, but no weed is more destructive than the weed of sexual immorality. Nothing robs us of what God plans for our marriage more than adultery. That is why Jesus addressed the topic head-on in the Sermon on the Mount.
Let me go back to my weed analogy for just a moment. When I was growing up, it was my responsibility to mow the lawn. And the easiest way to deal with a patch of weeds was to run the lawn mower over them. But did that get rid of the weeds? No. To remove weeds, you have to reach down and pull them out by the root. In order to get rid of the part you can see, you have to pull out that part of the weed you do not see.
This is what Jesus was doing in the Sermon on the Mount. The Pharisees thought as long as they cut certain behaviors out of their lives, they were righteous. But Jesus said you have to deal with the root, not just the fruit, of sin.
We saw last week how Jesus applied that to our relationships. The Old Testament standard for good relationships was simply “Do not murder anybody.” But Jesus said you have to go to the root cause of murder. Jesus talked about how murder is the end result of attitudes in the heart: anger, devaluation, and defaming of another human being.
On the subject of sexual immorality, Jesus raised the bar again, condemning not only adultery in the bed but also adultery in the head.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Sex Life” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Dag Hammarskjöld, “Markings,” trans. Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden (New York: Ballantine, 1993), 9.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org