Adultery is the most destructive expression of ‘self’ in a marriage relationship. It affects our physical body when it moves from the realm of thoughts to the act itself. As adultery eviscerates relationship, it is easy to understand why our society has degenerated into a loveless, cold environment. For the Bride of Christ, called to an intimate relationship with Jesus, dealing with the spiritual adultery of ‘self’ with its desire to lust and betray is most important.
The spiritual adultery of the ‘self’ nature
The ‘self’ nature was never part of God’s original design. From the beginning, God’s intent was for all humans to enter a legal, loving relationship with Him. The Father gave us marriage on earth so we can understand this. Intimacy between God and mankind would be mutually beneficial, however, satan gave Adam the ‘self’ nature thereby destroying the intimacy between man and his Creator.
The enemy’s goal was to hurt God by denying Him that intimate love relationship with His creation.
The ‘self’ nature is a mistress, a lover, an illegitimate paramour taking our time and attention away from our betrothal to Christ. Our ‘love’ affair with ‘self’, and its spiritual adultery, begins at an early age and will lead to two outcomes.
First, ‘self’ will demand more and more of our time and effort. The ‘self’ in us will insist that we satisfy it’s every lascivious whim; from the beginnings of lustful thoughts and words right up to the act of physical promiscuity. This full blown expression of ‘self’ will harm our relationship with others. They will cease to exist as God’s creation and are reduced to mere objects in our sight.
Second, because of these choices, we will voluntarily remove ourselves from God’s presence and legal protection. It will lead us into ever increasing dangerous situations by keeping company with the ‘self’ of others and the demons of lust lurking behind it. Manifold emotional and spiritual trauma will follow. The protection a spiritual wife enjoys from her God and Husband will be lifted, exposing the soul to unnecessary peril.
Adultery from God's perspective
To understand adultery from God’s perspective, we must look deep into His word. First, adultery is so damaging it stands as the only allowable cause for divorce written in scripture. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:8.
Adultery, at its very heart, is a betrayal. It is unfaithfulness.
We want to emphasize that all physical adultery begins with spiritual adultery first. Lust and adultery are integral parts of our ‘self’ nature which originate from satan. Since satan is the original betrayer it makes sense that everything coming from him would betray. The spiritual adultery of the ‘self’ nature is the exact opposite of God’s loyal and faithful nature.
Spiritual adultery separates us from God
From the Bible we learn that spiritual adultery or unfaithfulness can be committed daily (1 John 1:9). This attitude is an affront to the legal relationship we are to have and enjoy with God through Christ. By catering to ‘self’, we separate ourselves from the One who created and loves us.
God rightly calls our love affair with ‘self’ spiritual adultery.
“Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see. Where have you not been adulterously lain with? By the wayside you have sat waiting for lovers [eager for idolatry], like an Arabian [desert tribesman who waits to plunder] in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your vile harlotry and your wickedness (unfaithfulness and disobedience to God). Therefore, the showers have been withheld, and there has been no spring rain. Yet you have the brow of a prostitute; you refuse to be ashamed.” Jeremiah 3:2-3.
God does not want us catering to our lustful and adulterous ‘self’ nature. He is jealous for all believers to leave their illicit love affair with ‘self’ behind, and turn instead to a faithful commitment to Jesus. It is God’s desire for believers eventually to become part of the faithful and loving Bride of Christ. Our inclination, however, will be to continue to waste our time with ‘self’. Although ‘self’ is illegitimate, it will still act like a jilted, forsaken wife and God knows this. Therefore He admonished Cain, in Genesis 4:7, to master the sin/’self’-nature.
The path to stop spiritual adultery
Jesus takes us on a journey into the wilderness to strip ‘self’ off so we can mature and learn to be committed to God. He tests our faithfulness many times; until we see the power to hurt and betray dealt a mortal blow. Only then will God allow us into that ratified spiritual marital intimacy with our Creator; through Jesus the Bridegroom.
We have to grow from the stage of a child, passing through the time for love (Ezekiel 16:7), and into spiritual maturity.
We understand now, when the ‘self’ nature is repulsed, we make room for the union and communion with Jesus in our soul; (1 John 4:17). There is a new dynamic in our relationship with Him; and a new dynamic in our marital relationship on earth if we are married. The Father wants us to be in an intimate relationship with Jesus the Bridegroom. Amid this blessing, He can legally cover us from our ‘self’ nature; (Psalms 91).
This jealous love of God protects us from the egregious acts of spiritual adultery.
Hosea and Gomer
In the book of Hosea, the prophet Hosea is told to marry an adulterous woman, Gomer. Although Gomer strays, Hosea purchases her back with a price. She spends many days with Hosea as his wife, but without marital intimacy. She has to learn to stay faithful to her husband from her heart.
Jesus shows us this same faithful, sacrificial love when He first comes to us. Like Gomer our lustful, betraying ‘self’ must be brought to heel; we must master it. If we do not learn faithfulness, we will return to spiritual adultery.
Even after a wilderness season, our ‘self’ nature will still act jilted and spurned; demanding our obeisance. ‘Self’ will take every opportunity to thwart and damage intimacy with Jesus. The words of Proverbs 5:3-6 lay out the nature of ‘self’ and the physical and spiritual prostitute it truly is.
“For the lips of a loose woman drip honey as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged and devouring sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead). She loses sight of and walks not in the path of life; her ways wind about aimlessly, and you cannot know them.”
Remember this Scripture is both physical and spiritual when you view it from God’s perspective. ‘Self’ is the adulterous woman within calling us to waste our most intimate appetites and desires. It prefers illegitimacy rather than a loving, legal and protected relationship with God. ‘Self’ will interfere at every turn; trying desperately to make itself relevant. However, to those who have walked the desert paths with the Beloved, there can be no turning back.
Becoming the Bride of Jesus
How can the Bride return to a life of harlotry? She has all the protection and love that comes from a legal intimate relationship with the One who has saved her from herself. She has become the Bride, and she has nowhere else to turn but Jesus; and she does not want to go anywhere else because she has discovered He is enough.
The core of the disciple’s life is to walk away from the delicious lies of ‘self’ and to turn instead to the solid foundation of love, commitment and loyalty to Jesus. This is the true path of becoming part of the Eternal Bride. She learns in the wilderness that renouncing ‘self’ and following God will bring her into a legal, protected relationship with Jesus; spiritual marriage. Her choice in this life will be her crown of glory. We urge you today to renounce spiritual adultery with your ‘self’ nature and turn instead to the One who gave up all for you. Jesus is looking for His faithful Bride.
Homer and Wanda