Isaiah 57:7 NLT
You have committed adultery on every high mountain.
There you have worshiped idols
and have been unfaithful to Me.
In all of my posts about quitting smoking, I have focused on idolatry and alluded to the unfaithfulness of having other gods. I’ve acknowledged the infidelity in every way except by name: Adultery.
Martha gave me this word, literally. She asked me if I had confessed this sin by name. Five months of steady dealings and repentance and revelation and healing, but I had never confessed my adultery as adultery. Having the name of a sin or stronghold is everything, and in repenting of adultery specifically, everything changed.
I didn’t just worship another god when I smoked; I was unfaithful to the One True Love of my life. I had an affair. I stepped out. I took a lover. I don’t use the word “lover” lightly, because I really hate that word. Maybe it’s my generation, but at best “lover” is cheesy and at worst, it’s just absolutely sordid and gross. And sordid and gross is about right. I cheated on God. So it wasn’t enough to confess to idolatry and the resulting unfaithfulness; my actual adultery had to be addressed.
I am astonished at how much being specific matters in dealing with the Lord. He really does NOT deal in generalities. Names matter, especially in confession. Within hours of talking to Martha, I was a different person. The nothingness began to fade.
Adultery is a BIG deal to God. It’s part of the Ten Commandments, and it’s the only ground for divorce that He gives. A BIG DEAL. God wanted me to acknowledge what I’d done, by name, down to the very bottom. It took five terrible months before He gave the word to Martha. And not a moment of those five months was without purpose. I needed to be brought to the end of myself so that I could see with God’s eyes what I’d done. I had to know how He viewed this terrible breach, this broken trust, between us. Only then could I not only confess but also renounce my lover with my whole being – and without hesitation.
Now, God is well aware that I’m a cheating whore, and He married me anyway. We’re all whores, and we all have idols and commit adultery. But how we deal with it matters. Calling it by its true name matters. Going beyond confession and actually renouncing our other lovers matters. The details matter to God! I thought I knew that, but I don’t think I did because it’s resonating within me like never before.
Everything He’s shown me and exposed in me has been a part of my adultery. The anxiety, unfaithfulness, unbelief – all of it was part of the whole that He wanted me to see. Fortunately for me – and all of us – His mercy and forgiveness is just as thorough as the repentance that He requires. My huge need of this makes His overwhelming love and huge heart particularly precious to me today. He is everything He promised.
Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met].
Joel 2:13 Amplified