July 13, 2012
A Hedge Around Marriage
Dear Connection Friend,
During the Allied invasion of France in 1944, a lot of fighting was done in areas bordered by hedgerows. Hedgerows are mounds of earth situated along roads and between fields, thickly planted with trees and shrubs. They are four to eight feet high, and as much as ten feet thick, and the dense growth made them tough barriers for the armies to get through. In addition, areas surrounded by hedgerows could be defended easily by very few troops.
In the Bible, the word hedge is used as a picture of protection. For instance, in Job 1 Satan complained that God had put a hedge around Job and everything he had. With this protection in place, Satan was unable to attack Job.
The Seventh Commandment, "You shall not commit adultery," is God's way of putting a protective hedge around marriage. This hedge is a strong barrier to keep the union safe, and to keep temptation out.
I don’t have to tell you about the damage that adultery can do. Physically, emotionally and relationally, it can wreak havoc in your life. But the greatest damage it does is to the relationship with God. After all, the cry of David in Psalm 51 was “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight” (v. 4).
Of course, adultery is not the unpardonable sin, and it can be forgiven (see 1 John 1:9). But I want to talk about preventing adultery, by putting a hedge around your married relationship.
You need to put a hedge around your mind. That’s where the battle is fought, and either won or lost…in your thought life. Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1, NIV). That’s good advice!
Build a hedge against temptation. This is more than just avoiding the magazines, movies and TV channels that cause you to stumble (not to mention the internet). It’s also severing any emotional attachments that threaten the marriage. Maintain appropriate distances in relationships. Flee temptations.
Christians fall into immorality often through overconfidence. They leave themselves wide open to an emotional hook, and then a physical hook. Paul cautioned, “Let him who thinks he stand take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
Also, build a hedge of affection around your marriage. Marriages don’t collapse overnight, they suffer a slow leak. Find ways to help your partner to grow and feel satisfied. Try writing a letter telling them how you felt the day you got married. Maybe renew your vows in a public ceremony. Commit to meeting each other’s needs, emotional, spiritual and sexual. Paul is very candid about the latter in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.
The reason God put a hedge of protection around marriage is so that our lives would be full, blessed, and satisfied. We should cultivate and tend that hedge through our thoughts and actions.
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