Survival Tip #5: Fidelity

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 7/19/2020
Marriage  Proverbs  Wisdom 


This morning I want to speak about one of greatest LOST VIRTUES of our times. That virtue is FIDELITY. Last week we explored the value of fidelity in our friendships. Proverbs 20:6 says: “Many a person proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy person?” We tend to look at ourselves with rose color glasses. We proclaim ourselves to be as loyal and faithful as the rising and setting sun. But here is the reality: who can find a trustworthy person these days? If its hard to find a loyal friend, how much more a loyal partner, husband, or wife?


We touched on Proverbs 25:19: “Trusting an unreliable person in a difficult time is like a rotten tooth or a faltering foot.” If you have a rotten tooth, you can’t eat anything. If you have a faltering foot, you can’t go anywhere! And this is exactly what we see in relationships. When there is infidelity (when a couple isn’t giving their undivided love/loyalty to one another) a relationship never satisfies. When there is infidelity, a relationship never goes anywhere. It just limps along. I can think of no virtue more foundational to joy and happiness and satisfaction in a relationship than fidelity!


One of my favorite recreational activities is texting Proverbs to my wife Lara. There are some really tasty “marital morsels” in Proverbs. For example, Proverbs 21:9, “Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife.” He repeats that several times! Proverbs 21:19, “Better to live in a wilderness than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.” First she drove him to the corner of the roof, but then she drove him to the wilderness! Proverbs 27:15, “An endless dripping on a rainy day and a nagging wife are alike. . .”


In all seriousness, these Proverbs say far more about the husband than the wife. Why is she nagging? Why is she frustrated and so dissatisfied? Because the guy is probably a bum. He’s not fulfilling his responsibilities and obligations. He’s not giving his best to his marriage and his family! Maybe his heart is divided or wayward? Maybe his interests and energies are spent elsewhere? Maybe he’s not taking initiative, or taking the mantle of leadership? No one is nagged, and probably no one is more miserable, than a passive/unfaithful man.


Proverbs 17:17 offers a pretty good definition of fidelity: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.” This is the ideal. This is the dream. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, according to God’s law, until death do they part, loving at all times, loving through adversity. With fidelity, Proverbs 18:22 rings so true, “A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Without fidelity, marriage bleeds blessings.


So here again, is what you need to know about Proverbs, especially if you are a woman. The Proverbs are written from the perspective of a FATHER talking to his SON. This is an older male talking to a younger male. So if you are a parent talking to your son, what is the greatest external threat to your son? It’s a “wayward woman!” And what is greatest possible blessing your son could have? For all the concern about the son getting entangled with a wayward woman, at the end of Proverbs (chapter 31), the Father EXTOLS the virtues of a godly woman, and wife, and mother! These Proverbs are as pro-woman/family as any text you’ll find.


Let me take a shot at summarizing some of the teaching of Proverbs regarding marriage. First, build on the strongest possible foundation. If you don’t get the foundation right, nothing else you build will have stability. In Proverbs, the only thing more precious/desirable than acquiring a godly spouse is acquiring wisdom, knowledge, and understanding before God. If a couple is deeply rooted in a fear of God, if God is your North Star, you can navigate any difficulty together. I elaborated on the fear of God at length Week One, so I won’t do that again now. But a Fear of God is not an optional accessory, its core.


Second, never ignore matters of character. If you’d take the time, you could easily make a list of character RED FLAGS. The best time to evaluate character is “before” marrying a character not “after” marrying a character! It’s before sexual intimacy, before giving up your security, before having children. Dating and courtship are vital safeguards. Dating and courting well allows you to discern one another’s character, to discern one another’s true allegiance to Christ.


Listen to some of the character red flags the father raises. Proverbs 2:12-17. The father warns the son about a wayward woman. They say perverse things. They abandon right paths. They walk in ways of darkness. They enjoys doing evil. They celebrate perversion. Their ways are devious. They insincerely flatter with endless talk. They abandon their childhood friendships (If they can’t maintain healthy friendships, how will they maintain a healthy marriage/family with you?). They’ve forgotten their covenant with God.


Isn’t it shocking when a relationship fails? You start talking to a person. And then they begin to list all the red flags they ignored early on. For “love” people will turn a blind eye to even the most deviant behaviors and glaring faults of their partner. The Father doesn’t mince words about this danger. Proverbs 2:18-19, “for her house sinks down to death and her ways to the land of the departed spirits. None return who go to her; none reach paths of life.” Ignore character to own peril.


Third, stay very far away from danger. One of the most reckless mistakes people make in life is they flirt with danger, thinking they can handle the danger. In Proverbs 5:7-14, the Father warns his sons (plural) to stay away from a relationship, to not even go near the door of a certain woman’s house. Boy does this man know his sons! He flat out tells them. “Boys, her mouth drips honey. Her words are smoother than oil. She’s knows all the things to say and all the buttons to push to draw you in! But she’s as bitter as wormwood. Her words are as sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death. She on a path straight to the grave. She doesn’t consider anything that’s life-giving. Her ways are unstable.”


“Boys, if you go near her house, you will give up your vitality to others. Your best years will be subject to someone whose cruel. Strangers will drain your resources. Your heard earned pay will go out the window. You’ll lament how your physical body will be consumed. You’ll regret having not listened in every way. You’re reputation in the community (among friends/family) will be ruined.”


If you love yourself, you’ll heed the warnings of those who love you. If you love your son/daughter, you’ll spell out the dangers of a toxic relationship clearly and courageously. You definitely will not just turn a blind eye and hope for best!


Fourth, seek complete satisfaction within God’s will. I love in Proverbs 5 the Father spends as much time painting a positive picture/positive prescription of marriage as he does offering warnings about toxic, ungodly relationships. Proverbs 5:15-23: “Drink water from your own cistern, water flowing from your own well. Should your springs flow in the streets, streams in the public squares? They should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers. Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth. A loving deer, a graceful doe—let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever. Why, my son, would you lose yourself with a forbidden woman or embrace a wayward woman? For a man’s ways are before the Lord’s eyes, and he considers all his paths. A wicked man’s iniquities will trap him; he will become tangled in the ropes of his own sin. He will die because there is no discipline, and be lost because of his great stupidity.”


Fifth, never ever tread on another person’s marriage. Talk about drama. Playing with infidelity is like playing with fire. Proverbs 6:20, 24-35, “My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. . . They will protect you from an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a wayward woman. Don’t lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes. For a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another man goes after a precious life. Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on burning coals without scorching his feet? So it is with the one who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People don’t despise the thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry. Still, if caught, he must pay seven times as much; he must give up all the wealth in his house. The one who commits adultery lacks sense; whoever does so destroys himself. He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed. For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not be appeased by anything or be persuaded by lavish bribes.” No thanks! I think I’ll just drink water from my own cistern!


Sixth, relentlessly expose the folly of sexual sin. Our world teaches that fidelity, faithfulness, purity, holiness, righteousness is folly. Not only is it a full-time job to keep ourselves from being deceived, it’s a full-time job keeping those we love from being deceived. We must take every opportunity to expose the true follow of sexual sin. In Proverbs 7 the Father does this while sitting on the porch with his son. And I’ll end with this.


“My son, obey my words, and treasure my commands. Keep my commands and live, and guard my instructions as you would the pupil of your eye. Tie them to your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your relative. She will keep you from a forbidden woman, a wayward woman w/her flattering talk.”


At the window of my house I looked through my lattice. I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. A woman came to meet him dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda. She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner. She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, “I’ve made fellowship offerings; today I’ve fulfilled my vows. So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I’ve found you. I’ve spread coverings on my bed—richly colored linen from Egypt. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let’s feast on each other’s love! My husband isn’t home; he went on a long journey. He took a bag of silver with him and will come home at the time of the full moon.” She seduces him with her persistent pleading; she lures with her flattering talk. He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap until an arrow pierces its liver, like a bird darting into a snare—he doesn’t know it will cost him his life.


Now, sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words from my mouth. Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths. For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death”




Scripture Verses

Proverbs 2:12-19; 5:7-23; 6:20, 24-35; 7;1-27; 17:17; 18:22; 20:6; 21:19; 25:19; 27:15/

Worship Playlist

Oh Our Lord by Paul Baloche

King of Kings by Hillsong

Holy Spirit by Jesus Culture

Jesus Paid It All by Passion

Study Questions

  1. Why is faithfulness such a precious commodity in life?
  2. What are some of the results of infidelity? See Proverbs 2.
  3. What does your sexuality have to do with honoring God?

Apply It!

Resources

Our In the Wilderness sermon series booklet provides a place for sermon notes, questions for reflection, and a challenge to read through the book of Proverbs in 31 days. You may pick up a booklet at Lakeside on Sunday mornings or weekdays between 8:00 am & 4:00 pm.