Think about it. What affair has ever taken place without intimate words exchanged? Women often tell me, “I’ve not been unfaithful to my husband. All this man and I have done is talk.” But what is the nature of the words exchanged? Maybe he says things like:
* “I was hoping to see your beautiful face today.”
* “My wife and kids are out of town and it sure is lonely at my house.”
* “I had a wild dream about you last night. Waking up was a disappointment.”
* “Does your husband appreciate what a wonderful woman you are?”
Perhaps she responds with words like:
* “I just love being around you. You always make me feel good.”
* “When will I see you again? Can you call me soon?”
* “I think about you all the time. I can’t get you out of my mind.”
* “What would your wife say if she knew we were talking like this?”
What would she say? What would your husband say? “It’s okay, honey. You haven’t been unfaithful yet”? I don’t think so. Spouses would feel very betrayed by such words. As a matter of fact, those words would probably hurt just as bad as any physical acts you could have committed because they indicate that your heart is no longer fully invested in your marriage relationship. Consider this passage from the book of James:
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire. (James 3:3-6)
Did you catch that last part? The tongue corrupts the “whole person.” We must stop thinking about purity and faithfulness strictly in physical terms and understand the importance of matching our words, thoughts, actions, and convictions with God’s Word. When all four of these things agree with one another and align with the Word of God, we are acting with sexual integrity. But if any one area is out of alignment with God’s Word, we have compromised our sexual integrity, regardless of how far we’ve gone physically.
If we long to be women of sexual and emotional integrity, we must understand what a mighty weapon our words are. Words are what will lead us into an affair, or words will stop an affair before it ever begins.
I used to say, “I’m too weak to resist sexual temptation,” and guess what? I was. But when God began dealing with me and sanctifying my mouth, I changed my tune. I started out by asking God, “Is it possible that sexual temptation could have no hold on me?” He gave me a glimmer of hope. Then I began claiming the statement, “Sexual temptation has no hold on me.” After a while, I actually began believing it wholeheartedly. Now I can honestly declare with conviction, “Sexual temptation has no hold on me!”
If we tell ourselves that we can’t resist sexual or emotional temptation, we will likely fall into temptation. But if we tell ourselves that we will not give in to sexual and emotional temptation, then we will be far more likely to back up our words with corresponding actions. That is how you become a woman of integrity⎯ a person whose lip lines up with her life and vice versa.
For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good [woman] brings good things out of the good stored up in [her], and the evil [woman] brings evil things out of the evil stored up in [her]. But I tell you that [women] will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:34-37)
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.