Register or log in using Church Center for directory, small groups, giving, and more!

Sermon on the Mount: Adultery & Divorce

Jesus applies his kingdom mindset to marriage and lust.

Written by David Steltz on .

Notes

Introduction & Recap

Today, of course, we’ll be continuing in the book of Matthew. We’ll be picking up right in the middle of chapter 5.

We’ve been making our way through what’s commonly known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” we’ve been calling it “The Sermon on the Hill” because that’s really a more accurate image.

It’s a very long section of teachings from Jesus, and we’re only halfway through one of three chapters that it spans! It fills chapters 5-7 and we’re halfway through 5 right now.

Within this sermon on the hill there are many subsections and collections of sayings. And they can almost stand alone on their own as separate sermons. I mean, that’s exactly what Mike and I are doing, we’re making whole sermons out of small sections of one sermon. Because Jesus makes a lot of loaded statements, and they are organized in many cases into pretty neat and tidy sections. But it’s good to remember that there is also an intentional flow of thought here, and even though each section may stand well on its own, they’re also all connected, and the concepts actually build on each other as the sermon progresses.

So I want to run through a really quick recap of the concepts and principles that Jesus has established so far, before we read today’s passage.

Beatitudes: A Kingdom Framework

 At the very beginning you have the blessing sayings, or “beatitudes.” It’s a collection of formulaic statements, like a series of proverbs, each one designating a particular type of person as blessed. And these statements as a whole come across as rather surprising, even ironic! But they establish a precedent for how Jesus will talk about and describe the kingdom of God.  They provide a framework for the people of God to understand what it means to be a part of God’s kingdom.

Jesus claims that he himself has come to establish the kingdom of God on Earth! And that through him these blessings will come about, and we get a glimpse into how the kingdom of heaven has a different value system than that of the kingdoms of this world.

It also introduces this multi-faceted perspective of Jesus’s kingdom mindset and language, the way he will talk about the kingdom as being already here but also not yet fully realized.

The beatitudes are a heady, meditative, wildly impractical introduction to Jesus’s sermon! But they should grab our attention, knock us off balance a little bit, and force us to listen closely to what follows, in order to try and follow Jesus’s train of thought.

Salt & Light: Kingdom Workers

He abruptly switches from talking about general principles to addressing his disciples directly, and says “YOU are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

In doing so, he establishes another foundational principle about the kingdom of God. Yes, it’s established by God’s authority and power alone, and the cornerstone of this new kingdom would be the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus himself. 

But those who follow him are not recruited as bystanders, but as active participants in the new covenant and as representatives of God throughout the world. That whatever work God does in the world, and the blessings he gives, would be done by his power but through the hands and feet of all his people.

That just like Jesus came speaking and acting in the authority of the father, he would pass on that authority, that responsibility, that mission, to all of his disciples, to continue spreading the light of God’s kingdom for generations to come!

Fulfilling the Law: Kingdom Clarification

Next, he moves on to clarify that even though his teachings may sound radical, and even contrary to Jewish law and culture, that he’s not here to overturn or contradict anything that had already been established in Scripture, in the Old Testament.

He makes it very clear that every detail of what’s written in the books of Moses and the prophets, every detail is important.

However, he goes on to say that even those in the Jewish religious community who were most dedicated and most obsessed with the details of the law were not righteous enough to be included in the kingdom of heaven. 

This is because not even they, the scribes and pharisees, truly fulfilled the requirements of the law. They may have been good at following external guidelines, but they missed the underlying principles and purpose of the law.

And it’s because all fall short of God’s standard, everyone has failed to fulfill the requirements of the law, so Jesus is here to do that on behalf of everyone.

But again, even though Jesus fulfilled the law for us, he still wants his disciples to understand the law and its expectations so that we can strive to follow it better even if not perfectly enough to fulfill it completely. If his disciples are to be the salt of the earth and light of the world, they need to understand how to represent God at a deeper, heart level, rather than as an externally-focused, legalistic bunch of rule-followers.

Six Antitheses: Kingdom Application

So, having made that clarification, Jesus goes on to apply that perspective to six different laws and specific, real-life situations. He makes statements which do NOT contradict the law, but do contradict people’s general understanding of how to follow the law.

True righteousness, that is to live and exist in harmony with God, requires that we love God with everything we are, and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. All of our thoughts and actions result as the fruit of what begins in the roots of our hearts, and everything external can be judged as being the result of either rooted in love or not rooted in love.

Last week, we looked at the first example that Jesus gives of this principle.

Murder

The most basic, obvious failure to love another person, to actually act in opposition to love, is to intentionally harm and destroy another person’s life. Jesus references one of the ten commandments: Do not murder! It seems simple enough, and it’s one of those things that we just innately understand as humans that it’s wrong. And yet, it’s not quite that simple, is it? Because there are situations in which taking another human’s life is not considered murder! In some cases, in fact, it’s considered necessary as an act of justice and God’s judgment carried out by human hands.

And that’s because it’s not simply the action of taking a life which is sinful, it’s sinful because it results from a failure to love another person as yourself, and a failure to recognize them as made in the image of God just as much as yourself and as loved and cherished as a child of God just as much as yourself.

So Jesus makes this intense statement that whoever is angry with or insults his brother or sister is subject to judgment. He intensifies the implications of the law “do not murder.” He says it’s not enough to simply refrain from killing each other, you need to address the root of the issue, not just chop of the leaves but actually uproot the whole weed. He says don’t even try to worship God unless you have reconciled your relationships with each other first.

You can’t truly worship God if you’re harboring hatred and bitterness in your heart, and failing to see other people as fellow image-bearers of God.

Adultery

Alright, that finally brings us to today’s passage and I know I took a while to get there, but I think it’s important to realize that this passage is a continuation of all the preceding thoughts and statements.

Jesus takes that same principle of murder, and how it begins in the heart, and applies it to adultery:

New Testament Passage

​Matthew 5:27–32 CSB
27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. 28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. 31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Jesus takes it a step further, actually two steps further. Just like murder begins in the heart, adultery begins in the heart.

We saw with murder, it’s easy to say “murder is wrong” but then to actually define murder in every context actually can get tricky and much more nuanced.

When we start talking about marriage, it gets even messier and more nuanced doesn’t it?

But that makes it all the more important to dig down and focus on the root of the issues more so than the fruits. The fruits, the actions, the behaviors are symptomatic of the disease. They alert us to the presence of the disease, but you can’t treat symptoms, you have to treat the disease.

Now, I have lumped in Jesus’s statement on divorce along with adultery, and we’ll talk about both today. They ARE two separate issues, but they are related, and they are both issues of fractured relationships within the context of marriage.

So we have to look at this concept of marriage in general, then divorce, and then I’ll circle back around to adultery.

Old Testament Precedent

Last week, Mike brought us through the Old Testament precedent for murder, and we saw how humanity has had an innate inclination towards violence and murder starting all the way back with Cain, and continuing throughout all history.

Like the concept of murder, the concept of marriage has precedent in the Old Testament. And it goes back even further than Cain, to Cain’s parents, Adam and Eve. And unlike murder, of course, the precedent is positive rather than negative. 

The first marriage between a man and a woman predates the first sin committed by that man and woman, and it’s presented as a good thing, a part of the ideal state of the world before sin. 

Let’s read this again from Genesis 1. I don’t have quite as many Old Testament passages to go through as Mike did last week, but I do want to read just a couple of verses from Genesis and Deuteronomy, because these are exactly the passages Jesus is referencing, both directly and indirectly, in his sermon.

So, first of all let’s read in Genesis chapter 1, starting in verse 26:

Genesis 1:26–27 LEB
26 And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving thing that moves upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the likeness of God he created him, male and female he created them.

This passage in chapter 1 is crucial because it shapes our fundamental understanding of who and what humans are. Both male and female, boys and girls, men and women, all of humankind was created in the image of God, and given dominion over the earth.

Proper relationships between humans, whether it’s in the context of marriage or murder or anything else, proper, loving relationships, begin with recognizing each other as being made in the image of God, as having that inherent value and worth.

Flip over to Genesis 2 now, where it goes into a little more detail about how Adam and Eve came to be Starting in verse 7:

Genesis 2:7 CSB
7 Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

So, initially God just creates one, singular, human. But doesn’t keep it that way. Skip down to verse 18:

Genesis 2:18–25 CSB
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” 19 The Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. 22 Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. 24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

So, now we have this image of God essentially splitting the one human into two humans, one man and one woman. And they weren’t created to fulfill their purpose separately, individually, but rather together. And read in light of what we know from chapter 1, we can see that it’s together that Adam and Eve, Man and Woman, represent the image of God. 

And, because all of this happens well before the world is corrupted by sin, Adam and Eve’s marriage is actually presented as an ideal, which is to be emulated by future humans!

Now, I do want to stop and just be clear that this does NOT mean that you have to be married to fulfill your purpose as a human, or to please God. By no means is that the case! But we’ll come back to that in a little bit.

It does mean that as humans we are designed to live in relationship with one another and that it’s the purpose of all human kind, men and women together, to represent God to creation. Not just in the context of marriage, but at every level of family and community.

But marriage is one very important type of relationship and is fundamental to God’s design for humanity and populating the earth. The footnote of Genesis 2:24 is a statement showing that the concept of marriage IS still an ideal worth emulating, even though the first marriage was corrupted by sin, and every relationship since has been plagued with shame and distrust.

In Genesis 2:25, it says they were naked, totally vulnerable in each other’s presence, and yet felt no shame. They lived in harmony with each other and with God. 

In Genesis 3 we see the tragic effects of their decision to take matters into their own hands:

Genesis 3:7 CSB
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Their sin did not outright end their marriage or the institution of marriage, but it did put a strain on their relationship and every relationship since.

For the rest of history, people have continued to marry each other, and have families, and at their best marriages actually reflect God and draw husbands and wives closer to God as they grow in their love for each other.

However, in a world where interpersonal relationships are corrupted by selfish desires, betrayal, and destructive behavior, marriage doesn’t always reflect that ideal, does it?

The purpose and intent of marriage is for two to become one flesh. It’s meant to be a permanent covenant. But, humans break covenants, and because of sin, there are sometimes situations which justify, and even necessitate the ending of a marriage.

Because of this, the Old Testament law does have provisions for divorce. Let’s look at Deuteronomy 24 together:

Deuteronomy 24:1–4 CSB
1 “If a man marries a woman, but she becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, he may write her a divorce certificate, hand it to her, and send her away from his house. 2 If after leaving his house she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and the second man hates her, writes her a divorce certificate, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house or if he dies, 4 the first husband who sent her away may not marry her again after she has been defiled, because that would be detestable to the Lord. You must not bring guilt on the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

OK, so this definitely comes across as kind of weird and even unfair to us, but the purpose of this law is actually to prevent men from flippantly divorcing their wives rather than to encourage it.

The point of the divorce certificate is to prove the woman is free to remarry. The point of verses 2-4 is to discourage men from divorcing their wives on a whim, because they can’t change their mind later once she’s remarried.

The implication is that men had a tendency to send away their wives and remarry at will. In a patriarchal society, the women had little say and would become destitute without a husband, so these laws are actually designed to offer some protection to women in the sinful, selfish marital climate controlled by men.

It’s meant to make divorce more difficult, requiring husbands to follow a legal process and prove there is a legitimate issue to justify divorcing his wife.

Of course, that’s not always how the law was put into practice, and I’m sure you can imagine the many ways in which this passage could be misinterpreted to allow a man to come up with just about any reason to obtain a certificate of divorce.

And apparently it became a controversial matter, because Jesus actually has to address this same topic later on in Matthew, in chapter 19. I’m going to skip ahead here and read how Jesus responds when asked about this in chapter 19:

Matthew 19:1–12 CSB
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees approached him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that he who created them in the beginning made them male and female, 5 and he also said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?” 8 He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but it was not like that from the beginning. 9 I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery.” 10 His disciples said to him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry.” 11 He responded, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept it should accept it.”

So, again, Jesus goes back to the beginning and the institution of marriage at creation! He says “look, marriage is meant to be permanent!” And sometimes he’s even quoted here at weddings, right? “What God has joined together, let no one separate” 

Usually in the KJV though:

Matthew 19:6 KJV 1900
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Because of the hardness of people’s hearts, because of sin, ending a marriage was permitted out of necessity. In fact, the same could be said about ending a life…that because of the hardness of people’s hearts, because of sin, it became permitted and even necessary in certain circumstances. However, it should still be regarded as tragic and as a last resort when reconciliation and healing is no longer possible.

Notice too that in this passage his disciples say “well if that’s the case why even bother getting married at all?” Like, marriage is too hard to even try to make it work!

And Jesus doesn’t actually reject this, he says “well, yeah, but that’s not realistic for everyone.” I won’t get too much further into the details of this passage for now, maybe we can delve into it some more once we get there, and cross reference it with what Paul has to say about this topic. For now I just want to reiterate the point I made earlier that NOT everyone is called to marriage, and that’s OK! Being married is a blessing, and not being married is also a blessing, in different ways!

Again, Jesus is getting at the heart issues.

Practical Application

Let’s get back to our main passage in Matthew 5 and think about how to apply what Jesus is saying, practically and in today’s context.

We read verses 27-32 earlier. Verses 31-32 are about divorce, but it also relates back to adultery. So I’m going to try to wrap up this train of thought on divorce and then go back to verses 27-30.

Divorce

I think Christians and the church in general has struggled with this human tendency, which was the same as that of the pharisees, to take this one statement that Jesus made, and instead of understanding the underlying principle of what he’s saying, actually make a new law out of it! As if somehow Jesus, while criticizing the legalism of his day was making a legalistic statement himself.

I don’t believe that’s how verse 32 should be read at all! Was Jesus trying to make a comprehensive, exhaustive statement that sexual immorality is literally the only legitimate reason for divorce, ever?

Or was he making the point that divorce should be a last result only when drastic measures are necessary in response to drastic sin?

I think it’s the latter, for several reasons.

First of all, again, it just doesn’t make sense to interpret it as an all-encompassing statement when that’s the opposite of his approach to this whole section of the sermon.

Secondly, it’s not hard to think of potential exceptions to this statement. I think the most obvious is in the case of abusive relationships. I do not believe that Jesus is making a statement that can be read as a command for anyone, men or women, to remain in an abusive relationship, whether emotional or physical. Now, of course, where you draw the line as to what constitutes abuse that’s severe enough to end a marriage, that’s a different discussion. The point is that there are some clear exceptions to this phrase “except for sexual immorality.” 

Using this verse, or others like it, to force or guilt someone to remain in a situation where their health or even life is being put at risk is itself an abuse of scripture. Unfortunately, I have to say that because I know of situations where that actually happened, and I’m quite confident that it makes Jesus upset when his words are used to hurt, manipulate, and control people. I’m just going to leave it at that.

Finally, and perhaps most convincingly, if you do follow a legalistic, hyper-literal reading of this verse to its logical end, it kind of breaks down. And this is going to lead us back to the preceding few verses.

Jesus says “except in a case of sexual immorality,” Basically, he’s saying that divorce causes you to commit adultery unless adultery has already been commited by the other person. Right? That’s how this verse is generally read.

But then we have to back up and read verse 28 again:

Matthew 5:28 CSB
28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Soo…does that mean that the instant a married person has a lustful thought about someone else, then their spouse has grounds for and should pursue divorce?

Of course not!

We need to be careful here, as with any scripture, to understand that as the word of God it is infallible and it’s our source of absolute truth. In this case, it’s the literal words of Christ himself! But also to understand how to interpret and understand what is actually being taught...not picking and choosing what to take as authoritative, but not falling into the same trap of hyper-literalism and hyper-legalism that the pharisees did.

Look at it in the context of the sermon, and Jesus is simply trying to explain what it looks like to have a healthy heart and proper perspective as image-bearing citizens in God’s kingdom.

Adultery & Lust

That goes for verses 27-30 too; let’s talk about these verses a little more before we wrap up.

By the way, I’ll take this opportunity to state the obvious. This statement about lust is directed at men, but it goes both ways! All of these statements are directed at men, whether it’s regarding adultery and lust, or divorce, and even when I talk about abuse…statistically speaking, men are more likely to be the ones at fault with these issues, but that certainly doesn’t mean it doesn’t go both ways. It does!

Anyone who looks at someone else who’s not their own spouse, with lust in their heart, has already committed adultery in their heart.

What is adultery?

Whether committed in actions or in the heart, adultery is the opposite of faithfulness. That’s why unfaithfulness is used as a synonym for adultery. This is why God calls Israel adulterous and unfaithful when they break their covenant vows with him, and lust after other gods instead of remaining loyal to Yahweh!

Whether it’s expressed outwardly or not, lust is a betrayal of faith, a betrayal of the marriage covenant to remain loyal to each other.

Jesus says that it’s not enough just to be able to say “I haven’t cheated on my wife” because even if I’m thinking about it, there is a much deeper issue…the roots of sin have already formed and they need to be dug out.

Long before it even gets to the point of acting on any lustful thoughts, a failure of the heart and mind has taken place…a failure to acknowledge each other as image bearers and children of God. A failure to love God and love our neighbor. Just like you can’t worship God and be a light of his presence to those around you while also harboring bitterness and anger against someone, you can’t worship God and be a light of his presence if you’re harboring lustful thoughts.

When you look at it that way, this really applies to everyone, not just married people!

What is lust?

Now, I have to clarify that there is a difference between lust and simply noticing and acknowledging that a person is attractive. Lust is allowing your mind to dwell on the image or even just the idea of a person, and entertaining feelings of desire for them. I would even say that lust can be emotional, as well as sexual, and in both cases it’s the same root problem. But again, there’s a difference between enjoying someone’s presence and actually lusting for them.

So how do you tell the difference? Well, this is another situation where you can’t possibly set specific rules for every possible scenario. What you CAN do is examine your heart, pay attention to the holy spirit convicting your conscience, and you know when that line has been crossed.

In your heart, you know.

I will say this: if you’re unable to worship God and talk to him comfortably while also entertaining any sort of thoughts about another person who you know is made in the image of God, that’s a huge indicator right there that you’ve crossed the line, probably a while ago.

It’s a line that might look a little bit different from person to person but it’s one you should never “flirt” with…when in doubt, stay far away from that line rather than try to get as close as you can to it without sinning. That would be ridiculous!

It’s very good and wise to set boundaries and rules for yourself, safeguards to keep you from drifting too close to that line, which when it comes to lust can quickly and easily happen even unintentionally.

Jesus himself said it’s worth going to pretty drastic measures in order to prevent yourself from sinning! Though, again, hyper-literalism is not your friend here. Jesus is not telling us to actually dismember ourselves to prevent us from lusting! He’s using hyperbole to make a point.

He is telling us to take sin seriously and to remove stumbling blocks from our lives if necessary! This principle, when lived out, looks very different from person to person and even from culture to culture! For some of us it might mean changing when and where we use certain devices, or even getting rid of them altogether! It might mean not watching certain movies or TV shows, or going certain places. 

It should mean setting boundaries as to who, where, and when we spend time with other people who aren’t our spouse. And if you are married, it’s a good idea to talk through all these things together so you have the same expectations and opportunities to build trust.

All that said, I do want to caution against trying to deal with lust simply by throwing a bunch of rules at it, or by burying your head so deeply in the sand that you can’t even interact with the world around you. Setting rules and boundaries for yourself is helpful to avoid stumbling into temptation, however if you can’t even leave your house without a blindfold on, then there is a deeper issue of the heart, of desires and self control.

If you or someone you know is struggling with lust, or specifically pornography addiction, and would like to have some more practical guidance on the subject, there is a book on the back counter called Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free. Please, feel free to just grab a copy and take it with you. It’s practical, and does give practical steps to take, but also addresses that the root of the issue is the real problem.

Conviction, Shame, Reconciliation

There’s one last point I want to make sure to bring up on this topic. Reading these verses, and talking about these issues, if any of you are experiencing conviction about the state of your heart right now, today, that’s a good thing! It may be uncomfortable, but it’s a gift - an opportunity for confession, repentance, and reconciliation between you and God, and hopefully between you and anyone else as necessary. 

But there’s an important distinction between conviction in the present and guilt or shame regarding your past. This goes for any sin that has been left behind.

1 John 1:8–9 CSB
8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Covered by the blood of Christ, we are declared holy and pure, regardless of our past. Jesus gives us the promise of reconciliation with God.

Of course, reconciliation with other people we’ve wronged is not always a given. Sin often comes with immediate, real-world consequences, and that is certainly the case in a marriage. While reconciliation is possible if both parties are willing to pursue it, it takes a lot of time and hard work to rebuild trust in a relationship. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Conclusion

We all are condemned by the law. That’s actually the point Jesus is making…our hearts are all sick with sin, whether it’s obvious on the outside or not, we’ve all been unfaithful to God, and unloving to other people.

Jesus is intensifying the light of the law, and its requirements, to reveal how deeply we fall short.

BUT, he’s also offering himself as the solution, AND teaching us how better to understand God’s standard. Having been covered by His Grace, knowing we cannot achieve righteousness on our own merit, we can live more freely and fully and lovingly, in worship to God and service to those around us. Emulating and embodying the values and lifestyle of God’s kingdom out of an outpouring of renewed hearts, not by following an exhaustive, exhausting list of rules, but understanding the core values of the law. We must try to live the way Jesus taught, as a response to him saving us, not as a way to try to earn salvation.

In our marriages and other relationships in general, this means seeing people for who they truly are: image-bearing children of God. And specifically in marriage, it means choosing to love each other faithfully, never entertaining any thoughts or desires for other people, even if you think you’d never act on those thoughts. Pull them out from the roots. And it means working hard, fighting for your marriage as long as it’s possible, and as much as it depends on you. Being selfless and seeking to serve rather than to be served by your spouse. Choosing to love long after the butterflies of the honeymoon are gone. Marriage, at its best, is a beautiful manifestation of true love, a reflection of God’s love.

I’ll close with a classic passage of Paul’s thoughts on love:

1 Corinthians 13:4–8 CSB
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.


Join Our Mailing List

North Country Fellowship Church
NCF was started in 1987 to minister to the growing population of Fort Drum and Jefferson County. Located in Carthage, just minutes away from Ft Drum, Lowville and Watertown, it is a blended congregation of local and military folks, single soldiers, young families and grandparents.