"I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." – Psalm 34:4-5
In this series on building a pure marriage in an impure world, we've looked to the story of Adam and Eve for insight. Most of us see their story primarily as a cautionary tale – used to warn us about the high cost of disobeying God's word. But I've also come to see a beautiful redemption story.
After Adam and Eve's disobedience, and after God spells out the consequences of their sin, there lies a verse that I read right past for years. In Genesis 3:21, the Bible says, "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."
If you think about it, God could have had many responses other than this one. He could have told them, "Now you've done it; you're on your own now!" But instead, we see God tenderly sacrificing one part of His creation to clothe another after their sin, no doubt pointing towards the day when Christ would cover us all.
It is very telling to realize that God did more than forgive Adam and Eve's sin. By covering their nakedness, He took the first step to healing their shame. But several questions remain:
- Did God continue to fight for Adam and Eve as individuals and as a couple?
- Did Adam and Eve continue to open their hearts?
Reading on in the Bible, I see evidence of both:
- Eve's reliance on God. Eve's first words after the birth of Cain were, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man" (Genesis 4:1).
- Adam and Eve's parenting. Adam and Eve taught Cain and Abel to give to God from their flocks and garden (Genesis 4:3-4).
- God's involvement with Cain. Seeking to help him avoid tragedy, God sought to help Cain face his anger and emotional pain. God wanted to reassure him that if he did what is right, he would be accepted (Genesis 4:6-7).
- God's gift of Seth. Through this son, given after the banishment of Cain (Seth literally means granted), God granted Adam and Eve a second chance (Genesis 4:25).
God's Got You Covered!
Fighting for a pure marriage isn't just for those who've struggled with impurity; it's for all of us. And Satan would seek to keep us hiding in shame over many different issues – whether depression, struggles with children, infertility, debilitating health problems or financial challenges. But the good news is that pure intimacy in marriage doesn't depend on perfection. It doesn't even depend on not sinning.
Although Adam and Eve lived out and then lost their proverbial fairy tale existence in the garden, there was still mercy, grace and redemption to be found. And that means hope for us as well. How can we continue fighting for a pure marriage in an impure world? Here are a few suggestions:
- Build pure intimacy. Make your relationship your safest place through praying together, talking about emotional pain/anxieties and setting good boundaries.
- Talk about your purity. Don't be afraid to discuss such sensitive topics as false intimacy, pornography, emotional struggles and other temptations on an ongoing basis.
- Refuse to hide your battles. Whatever struggles come, commit together to keep your relationship in the light. Have the heart to do whatever it takes (whether counseling, recovery groups, accountability partners, etc.) to fight for your purity and your relationship.
- Give each other a place to grow. Refuse to be ashamed of your battles. Support each other by engaging tough issues and reminding each other that God truly has you covered.