Ed Welch posted this on the CCEF blog. It's a helpful reminder in one of our many battles against temptation.
This scares me.
Recently, I was talking with an older, single man who keeps drifting back into sexual sin. It’s as if the tide of sexuality is going to win in the end—like he is destined to postpone sexual sin—but not to beat it. That way of thinking is scary enough, but there is more.
While we talked, I quietly reflected on how my battle with sexual sin is easier because I am married. I did not mean it is easier because I have opportunities to have a sexual relationship with my wife, though, of course, I do. Rather, I meant that sexual drifting for me would hurt an actual person, whereas for him, sexual drifting would not directly hurt another human being because he is single.
My reasoning makes some sense, but it is worse than it appears. Here is what I was really saying: I live within sexual boundaries for the sake of my wife. And though almost any reason for sexual boundaries is a good one, mine is not a Christian reason in that it has nothing to do with Jesus. That scares me. Jeopardizing my relationship with my wife is more motivating to me than jeopardizing my relationship with the Lord. My power to resist temptation comes from my relationship with her, not from Jesus. I love my wife—or my relationship with her—more than I love him. The truth is that any motive that replaces Christ is less than Christian.
Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Josh. 22:5)
For the love of Christ controls us. (2 Cor. 5:14)
So I am thankful that the Spirit reveals matters of the heart that scare me, and I set off again to know Christ and aim for nothing short of a full-bodied, full-hearted love that surpasses all others.