IN Britain, it is compulsory by law to take out insurance to cover injury or damage we might  cause to other persons and to their vehicles when driving our own. It is a sensible law and  provides some redress when other people suffer loss or injury.

We live in a world where third party damage to marriage is as common as catching cold. We need to know how we can spiritually insure against such a tragedy. Marriages by the thousand have been rent asunder, or have been placed under great strain because a third person has claimed the affections of someone who is already a husband or wife in  marriage. A generation ago these cases were so rare amongst religious people of most persuasions that  it would have been considered almost scandalous to write about them to believers.

Today it is not only commonplace for such interference to take place, it is also regarded as within normal social behaviour and occasions  little more than the raising of eyebrows by the world around us.

What has happened?

Why is the world so different today? What has happened? How do we protect our own marriages?  Even amongst Christadelphians some cases do arise, as all of us know.

There has been a radical re-definition of what is and what is not normal behaviour amongst and  between the sexes. These changes are not minor or few; they are considerable, and almost endless in their scope and variety.

What our fathers regarded as decent and right is now called old-fashioned and puritanical. Ever  since the ‘swinging sixties’ when the first major changes became obvious, society has been subjected to successive shock waves of fundamental change.  At first these were regarded as outrageous and an affront to ordinary people. But gradually the changes took over and it is those who oppose or disapprove of them who are regarded as ‘square’ or religious cranks or moral conservationists with useless and  out-moded standards.

For Example …

Let us get down to basics. It is now taken for granted in the world around us that the majority  of young people will have sexual experiences either whilst they are still at school or very soon  after. Those who do not will be out-numbered and, perhaps, regarded as prudish or immature.

The consequences of this great shift in morals are extremely wide. Young people expect and regard it as one of the norms of boy-girl friendships that ‘sex’ should be enjoyed. Any young person who decides that he or she will not indulge has to make a stand, and may well be regarded at best as a disappointment or at worst as depriving someone else of what is their ‘right’.

Anyone who follows the Lord Jesus Christ knows that such behaviour is sinful. Nevertheless, some who read this, indeed many, will be aware that there are those of their own number who commit this sin and do not regard it in that light. The fact that both men and women can take preventative steps makes it all the easier to indulge. If you are one of such persons, you are known to Christ, whether or not anyone other than your ‘partner’ is aware.

But we are not to remain pure and chaste  merely for fear of consequences, whether temporal  or eternal. _ ere is a positive good, a real blessing,  a God-given reason for con_ ning sexual relations  to marriage. Sex is not a free-lance pleasure like  listening to music or having a glass of wine. It is  intended to be a unique bond between two persons,  a man and woman, committed to one another for  life by marriage.

As soon as we deny that, we weaken marriage. We have removed part of the bond which God has given. Obviously, if sex before marriage is permissible, it is no longer part of the marriage bond. Worse still, if it is not part of the marriage bond, it might  still continue with a third party even after marriage. This is precisely what is happening. Clearly, children of God and would-be children will wish to be free  from this sinful taint and will thereby provide extra strength to the marriage bond as God ordained.

A Split Mind

As we have noted at other times, marriage is a marriage of minds. Our minds become one in intent and desire. It is because we are of one mind that we  also can become one flesh. To seek to become one flesh without being one mind is to sow the seeds  of confusion and disaster.

Therefore, we need to protect our minds. To those who are courting (an old-fashioned word  these days) or are engaged to be married, it is  essential to practise singleness of mind in our relationship. This is possible only if we desire it. It is achievable if we truly love each other.

A roving eye and a roving mind’s eye are potential  disaster makers. We have to take positive  steps to curb “the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh”. We must practise chastity of mind as well as  of body. These are positive values and not unbearable  restrictions. “My beloved is mine, and I am his” is  the keeper of the mind.

As soon as we allow a third party to have access  to our mind, we have split our mind and its affections. That is the way to misery and unrighteousness. We must resist all approaches of every kind from  outside the marriage. Nor are we to exercise our charms or powers of persuasion in order to excite responses from a third party, or form friendships  based on the kind of love and behaviour reserved for two people who are pledged to be married or are already married.

We must remember that the world around us has abandoned long ago the standards which respect the existing relationships of other people. Anyone, literally anyone, is regarded as fair game. Therefore, we need to beware of the intentions of others and  also beware of behaving in such a way as to give opportunity to such intentions.

Our Insurance

It is more important than ever to keep the right company, to avoid the kinds of worldly places regarded as meeting places for people of the opposit  sex, and to preserve our minds from evil by avoiding media programmes of all kinds that thrive on the  ery evils we have been discussing.

Christ is clean and wholesome. His word is pure. The light of God exposes all evil and we must walk in it and depart from darkness. We must protect our thoughts by allowing God’s thoughts to take over. We will never have any cause for regret if we adopt  these standards.