i recently heard about a friend of a friend who has unexpectedly had to deal with infidelity in a marriage. i suppose infidelity is never really expected, though. people don't usually enter into marriage with an expectation of being cheated on. most people probably think that loyalty is one of the main points of marriage in the first place.
the way it happened was pretty usual: there was opportunity, which is just a little bit nicer way of saying there was temptation. and instead of resisting and fleeing temptation, this person let it linger. like dangling a carrot in front of your own face, it just sat out there for a little while as an possibility. then there was some 'innocent' communication -- you know, over technology, not face-to-face, so it seemed less formal ... and less real. and then the invitation, and finally the indulgence. mix well, bake at 375* for thirty minutes, and voila: one incredibly broken family.
we are all sinners. denial of that fact only sets us up for failure. but so often we think that our circumstances will reform us: i'll be faithful when i'm married. i won't be addicted to sex or p-rn when i'm married. i'll stop cutting or starving myself when my boyfriend proposes. i'll keep a cleaner house and a cleaner mouth after i have children. i'll live a more spirit-filled life once i go away to seminary. i'll give up alcohol and cigarettes once this stressful season of life has passed.
it's all a lie. circumstances will not reform us. we are still sinners. we are sinners who get married, who go to seminary, who raise children, who minister in the church, who witness in the community with our words and our lives. and none of those situations will flip a switch to reform us of our sinful behaviors. in fact, each of those situations will probably expose us as the sinners we are. we will find ourselves tempted and we will find it all too easy to succumb to sin.
we don't need different circumstances. we need a savior.
"Lord, You establish peace for us. All that we have accomplished, You have done for us."
--isaiah twenty-six : twelve--
we cannot bring deliverance to the earth, and we cannot bring deliverance to ourselves. for all our efforts, for all our writhing and suffering under the pains of labor, all we could give birth to was wind. there is nothing of substance to be found in us ourselves. (read the rest of isaiah 26) but there is someone who can accomplish it all for us.
which is why we can't trust our circumstances, as they change, to change us to make us better. our bad habits and sinful tendencies will remain. but what we can do is begin relying on the sufficiency of the strength and grace of Christ to sustain us completely even now, in our present circumstances, and watch as a supernatural change begins to occur. if we live well, relying on Christ, right now, then no devastating change in circumstances could ever destroy us.
if i can't worship God and live faithfully in obedience to Him right exactly where i am today, then it doesn't matter that i can do it elsewhere.
be here now, and live it well.