October 7

Don’t Rob Your Future, Part 1

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

One of God’s greatest joys is blessing His people in the proper season. Jeremiah 29 (above) is often quoted without regard to its context, which is a promise that He still had good plans for His people, even while putting them through 70 years of exile for their disobedience. While many folks take this verse as a personal, individual promise, it’s really a reflection of God’s heart to bring blessing to His people after a time of judgment. Yet even set against the pain and suffering of exile and judgment, it’s an assurance that He has our future in His hands, and has good things planned, either in this life or the next.

One of the worst things we can do is to try to pull the blessings of the future into our present, wrenched outside of their proper time. In other words, we can rob our futures. There are many such blessings that we can attempt to steal from our tomorrows, but perhaps the most common is the marital relationship as expressed in sexual and emotional intimacy.

There are too many reasons for keeping sex within the context of marriage to list them all. There is the possibility of unexpected pregnancy, disease, and emotional trauma. The biggest single reason, of course, is that the Lord forbids fornication. This should be enough.

But God isn’t about legalism for no reason. He has created us so that marriage provides the proper context for sex and emotional intimacy. They are part of the “becoming one” process that God has for a husband and wife, and the physical and emotional dynamics of a sexual relationship that work for good in marriage work against the couple who are not yet married. God is for sex in marriage, and also knows how damaging it is outside of marriage. In fact, God considers the sexual relationship so important in marriage that He forbids sexual abstinence for married people except in rare and unusual circumstances (I Corinthians 7:5).

Some Christian couples, in their good and godly attempt to avoid fornication, fall into a trap of becoming emotionally intimate to an unhealthy degree. They depend on one another to the point of codependence, and they usually tend to pull themselves away from others in the process. This too is robbing the future, as that kind of emotional and spiritual connection is also part of the “becoming one” process that God has ordained for the married. And again, what works for good for the married couple can have a negative effect on the unmarried. The blessing and presence of God in a relationship makes a big difference!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me if I robbed my future by stealing aspects of the married relationship that should have waited until I was married. I confess that as sin, and ask for forgiveness. Help me to help others wait for the right time for Your blessings.

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