Every young sports fan dreams of being a professional athlete—the physique, fame and fortune. Unfortunately, when we pick up the Sports page or log on to the net, we see on a regular basis that not all athletes are as strong at home as they are on the field. That's because there's one more thing that often accompanies professional athletic success: Adoring women.
Sex scandals have taken down some of the most amazing athletes and their marriages. Sitting atop of their game, many athletes don't know how to deal with the adoration of women, and fall to a lack of self-control and/or short-term memory loss. Then POOF—their marriage is in shambles, reputation tainted, costly divorce proceedings, and the media hyenas eat up the infidelity stories until there is nothing left on the bone.
You might be surprised to know, however, I don't think the No. 1 threat to marriage is infidelity. Of course, cheating can certainly cause divorce and make it extremely difficult to recover a healthy marriage. And, yes, I agree women can be highly tempting, but they are merely accomplices—because the hunger for power, money, fame and success can also consume a man and wreck a marriage.
I think the No. 1 threat to marriage is ourselves.
You are a target and under constant attack. Your character and integrity are vulnerable, especially if you're not aware of the battle going on in your life -- the spiritual battle to destroy you or deliver you.
In Ephesians 6:10, the apostle Paul writes that God's man needs to "...be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." If you don't suit up for the real battle being waged for control of your energy and expression don't expect to win it.
So how does a God's man protect against the No. 1 threat to marriage? Be a Hero at Home. Here's how:
1. Power Up — Paul writes to "be strong in the Lord" which means to seek God, know God and obey His word. There's power in knowing scripture and doing His will.
2. Protect Your Spiritual Self — Paul says to put on "the full armor of God," describing it and our weapons in Ephesians 6:14-17.
3. Pray On All Occasions — In verse 18, Paul says to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." Even in the midst of temptation, we should pray.
4. Partner Up — I believe God's man need accountability from other men who can honestly discuss the challenges we face and offer loving guidance.
5. Join the Program — We need to have the mind-set that we are in a "character-development program." With that focus, knowing God is interested in molding us to His image, we should look at tests and temptations through the corrective lens of God's love and plan for our lives. We need to emulate the ultimate model, who is always faithful and keeps His promises — God.
6. Pump Up with Practice — Practice making good decisions in your daily walk with God to pump up your spiritual muscles and avoid your carnal weaknesses. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, the Bible says "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." That takes practice.
I'm not saying marriage is easy. It takes work, communication, courageous love and perseverance. But, if we work on ourselves as much as we work on the marriage, there will be great earthly and heavenly reward.
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him," says James 1:12.