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April 22, 2009 / beidson

Butterflies In Exile: The Fleeting Pleasure of Adulterous Lust

With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, and many blamed on adultery, the question is, Do these adulterousbutterflies ever relationships last?  Are they marked by permanence and fidelity?  Was the original marriage a fluke, or is it the nature of adulterous lust to always leave its pursuers in the dust?  The Scriptures tell us that those who chase after a forbidden lover will be left grasping for memories in the end.  The come-to-life fantasy turns out to be a made-to-order nightmare when everything comes to light.

But would you expect anything else?  Adultery is the pursuit of the flesh, and we know that all flesh is like flowering grass: it dazzles for a moment and then withers in the sun.  Adultery is the pursuit of withering dreams, and really, it is the pursuit of death itself.  Those who chase after the flesh will get it, but since the flesh is devoted to destruction, so too is the pursuit of it.

Men and women who disregard their vows to God and to others will find they have only hung themselves out to dry.  The pleasure of fidelity is the fruit of fidelity; it does not come apart from it.  Fidelity is the soil from which genuine, lasting love springs; it is the garden in which pleasure is pruned and nurtured.  Those who would ignore this cosmic law of God are fools and liars, and they do so at the cost of their own lives.  In fact, infidelity is the pursuit of futility, because nothing good comes of all the promises that are made–they all wither in the sun.

A husband who abandons his wife and family for a faithless woman might as well grab a dog by the ears.  He can be sure that this very same woman, who ruthlessly seduced him away from his family, will surely betray him also one day, even if only in her heart.  As for the husband, what kind of man is this?  Surely not much of a prize for his secret lover.  They will find that when the romantic feelings pass and the butterflies shuffle away that the only thing left is desire, and desire outside of its divine context is as relentless as these shameful lovers were in their pursuit of one another.  There is no way to keep a good grip on the fleeting pleasure of sin.  Temptations are tantalizing for a moment but sooner or later the butterflies in the tummy will flutter away and the heart will grow feverish with sin.

Adultery is folly and only fools do it.  No wise person chases after death apart from Christ.  Despite the pleasures of forbidden love, all adulterers will one day realize why such love is forbidden.  Any love that mocks the love of Christ for his church is doomed to judgement, and unless an adulterer repents, he or she will be met with words of condemnation in the end.  There is grace for a repentant adulterer–such were some of us.  There is indeed restoration through the love and accountability of a good gospel-loving church.  But the Scriptures are clear: there is no place in the Kingdom of Christ for those who love adultery.

Butterflies don’t last forever.  Monogamous love will.  We will not be tempted to pursue a lesser pleasure in the presence of Christ.  And the warning to us is this: flee sexual immorality, because the pleasure it would bring promises to flee us as well.

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