Daily Devotional for Monday October 6, 2003
( I Thessalonians 4:3-8, 5:22 )
Living together. If there is one recurring theme in most of my Devotionals, it is this. Our way does not work, and there is always a huge price to pay when we rebel against God. God's way does work, and there are always many blessings when we obey Him. That brings me to today's topic, is it OK for a man and woman who are not married to live together? The short answer to this question has two letters, and the first one is an N. But as important as the answer is, let's look at WHY living together is NOT part of God's plan.
The Biblical case for not living together is built in two areas, avoiding sexual sin and not giving people the impression that your life is in blatant rebellion to God. The Bible is crystal clear about sex. It is a gift from God to be enjoyed by a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage. PERIOD! If you are married and engage in sexual acts OR THOUGHTS with someone other than your spouse, you have committed the sin of adultery. If you are not married and commit ANY sexual acts it is called fornication and is defined as sin all throughout the Bible. If you are not married and have sexual thoughts about someone you have committed the sin of lust.
Are these high standards? ABSOLUTELY! God has called His children to live UP to a high standard, unlike the world that calls people to live DOWN to no standard at all. Like in all things, God's plan for sex is designed so that we can know the peace, the joy, and the abundance of this life. His ways are NOT designed to deprive us of the enjoyment that this life can offer, but to INSURE the enjoyment that this life can offer.
Those who follow God's way in regard to sex know the incredible joy it is when that most intimate of all activities is shared with the person that God has given you to be your partner for the rest of your life. Those who rebel and do it their way, know the pain and heartache of the consequences of their rebellion. Break-ups, children out of wedlock, lifetime diseases, depression, financial problems, low self-esteem, the list is endless. My friend, there is ALWAYS a huge price to pay when we do it our way and rebel against God. A bigger price than we ever dreamed of. So the first reason it is NOT God's plan for a man and woman to live together is to avoid sexual sin.
The second reason is also very important, and that is to avoid the appearance of evil. When someone sees two people living together, they automatically assume that they are also having sex. Even if they are not, it is what people who know them will think. The greatest testimony that we have is not what we say, but how we live our lives before this world. Our lives are the only Bible many people will ever read. As children of God, we are on-call 24/7. We are called "ambassadors of God." Even the most stone-cold heathen knows that God says sex outside of marriage is a sin. So when anyone sees people who are supposed to be Christians living together, it just adds to the impression that Christians are nothing but hypocrites. Living together destroys a person's testimony to this lost and unbelieving world.
Lastly, let me deal with a couple of answers that I get every time this issue is addressed. The first is, "We are getting married." Maybe you are, and maybe you are not. I deal daily with couples that are living together and were getting married....for the last 5 years! Living together is nothing more than a long date. There is NO COMMITMENT!
Get married, then you can live together with God's blessings! The other is, "We want to see if we are compatible." I am sorry, but that is what the dating/courting experience is all about. Getting to know one another. Spending time to see if you connect with one another. Taking the time for God to confirm to both of you that this is HIS plan for your lives. Building that spiritual foundation together. And please, don't give me the lame excuse many try that, "we want to see if we enjoy each other sexually." If you ever trusted me at all, trust me when I tell you this. Get married, do it God's way, and you will thoroughly enjoy that aspect of your relationship. GUARANTEED!
I love you and care about you so much. While this issue may seem obvious to most, it is a battle that many are struggling with. Many who are reading these words today are in this very state. My only question to you today is this, DO YOU WANT CONSEQUENCES OR BLESSINGS IN YOUR LIFE? God has given you His perfect plan for living together, it is called MARRIAGE.
I will pray for you today. I fully understand that it will not be easy emotionally, financially, and in many other ways to quit living in sin. But God will ALWAYS help us, God will always make a way for us to follow HIS plan. It all boils down to this choice. Are you going to live your way, in rebellion to God and deal with the consequences of your rebellion? Or, are you going to live God's way, in obedience to God and enjoy His blessings? If you are living together, you are in rebellion to God's way. PERIOD. NO EXCEPTIONS.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller