Ending an Adulterous Relationship

21 05 2007


Galatians 6:14 NLT As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, [31] my interest in this world died long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead.

Philippians 3:7-11 NLT I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. ..8.. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ ..9.. and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. ..10.. As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, ..11.. so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

Romans 2:29 NLT No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people.


For most of my spiritual journey and experience, I’ve been hearing that one must “die to self” or “surrender self” in order to truly walk like Jesus walked. These are great phrases, but have little meaning to this secular kid. What does it mean to die to self? How does one do this and what are the results?

The other morning I awoke with a strange sensation. I felt a great loss in my soul. It was a feeling like when I’ve lost a significant relationship in my life. Let me explain:

They say that breaking up is hard to do…”

I can look back through the last 30 year years of my life and count the broken relationships. Whether girl friends or best friends, losing those relationships were significant, heart-wrenching experiences. Whether I initiated the breakup or the other person did, it was a great loss. Sometimes, just moving away caused the loss, or death.

In my soul it often felt like I was falling and there was no bottom. It was just this sick, empty feeling of free-fall and I knew I would never recover. I missed my friend, my lover, or the significance of that relationship.

There comes a point where one knows that it is over – there is no recovery. With a death it can be an instant, or it can come in waves; or phases. With a move, it often happens over time: slowly the realization comes that the relationship is not sustainable because of geography and time. When a significant romantic relationship ends, there is the initial grief and then the acceptance of life without the other person. The hopes, the dreams, the fantasies, and the realities of that relationship all come to a halt.

Often in a romantic relationship, people develop a plan for the future. It may include, marriage, family, kids, and a host of expectations and opportunities. When the relationship ends, those hopes and dreams come to a crashing finish. Long after the other person is gone, it is the unrealized hopes and dreams that haunt a man’s soul.

So, as I lay in bed the other morning, I felt these all too familiar feelings. My soul cascading into the abyss of emptiness left by the loss of a relationship. It was at this moment that I thought of the texts above. Not in a literal, word-for-word sense, but the principle of the of the thoughts conveyed. It was like God was telling me, this is what it means to die to self.


To die to self means to lose the relationship. Over the last four, almost five decades, I have established hopes, dreams, realities, and expectations for my life. In a sense, God is asking me to break-up with myself. I’m trying to let this thought sink into my finite brain.

He wants to be number one in my life. Jesus wants to be the center. Just like my wife wants and expects me to have no other women of significance in my life, God wants me to have no one in my life with the significance that He has. Yet, I have always sat in that chair.

In a sense, I’ve been unfaithful all these years. My true lover is God, but I’ve been in an adulterous relationship with my self. Now, this is a tough concept to wrap my mind around. How can I be in a an adulterous relationship with myself?

My romantic soul is reserved for my wife: the woman of my dreams. My family soul is reserved for my entire family: my wife, kid(s), and the core of what makes us family. My calling is to my church family and the wandering souls who are looking for a God to love. But my soul, my whole soul, my heart, is God’s. But because I’ve not been fully faithful, I’ve been adulterous.

I don’t look to God for my hopes, dreams, and expectations; I look inward. I don’t look to God when I look into the future; I look inward. I don’t look to God to find meaning; I look inward.

I have to break-up with my self. I have to let go. For the sake of my true lover, God, I have to lose the grip my self has on me: and vice versa.


Lord, as a I pray the prayer, I feel myself trying to put myself into the pain. I so much want to be loosed from the bonds of my self that I long to force myself to feel the pain of the loss. But then I realize that it probably won’t come that easily. It will probably be a long and arduous process and the pain will come after the break-up is complete.

It took me weeks to get up the courage to break-up with Nancy, and it wasn’t until years later that I missed what I had with her. It took several years to go through the loss of my first marriage and it wasn’t until I met with Trudy to make amends, that I realized just what it was that I lost. I knew my relationship with Sara was over, but it took a year and a half to understand what “over” means. Long before Linda and I ended our relationship, I knew it was over, but it still took many months to understand and accept the finality of it all. It took 13 years to sever all ties with alcohol: one of the most insidious relationships in my past. And, I’m still fighting my relationship with the ever present TV (though this too is in the throes of death).

I’ve had a relationship with my self for a long time. It was self that was there when I was sad, depressed, lonely, or angry. I knew I could count on my self to be there. Whether sitting atop the garage, or hanging out in the tree house, I knew that my self would never let me down. Self was always there and I came to reply upon myself.

I am self-reliant, self-assured, self-absorbed, selfish, self-confident, and self-worshiping (ie; narcissistic). But, knowing myself, it is going to take a long time to end this relationship with self. It is almost like being a food addict. One can’t go cold turkey with food or they will die. I don’t know how to go cold turkey with my self for it is me.

Father God, yesterday at the worship service, I prayed the prayer to break down the walls and die to self. I was expecting this flood of relief and thought I could walk away a changed man. Well, here I am again today asking you to take away this adulterous relationship of my soul. It is you I want to be Lord and Savior of my soul – not my self.

It will take years without your divine intervention God. It may not even happen in my lifetime. I need your resurrection power in my life to raise me from the death of my soul that is dominated by my self. This is no way for me to live and it is death. I want life God and I want it to the fullest.

I’ve always said that it took Moses 40 years and Jesus 40 days to get “it” figured out. If I can do it somewhere between those two extremes, I may be OK. I just didn’t know what “it” was. Today I understand. It, is dying to my self.

The more I think about this, the more scared I become. This isn’t just something that needs to be removed, but like a significant relationship, this self has become entwined with my heart. Today Lord God, I am claiming this promise:

Ezekiel 36:26 NLT And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. [63]

I know though, that heart transplants are not easy. The recovery can be great, painful, and trying. But I also know that the alternative is not good. But, this is why Paul says:

Philippians 2:12-13 NIV ..12.. …continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, ..13.. for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Today Lord, I claim the promises and the hope that you will give me a new heart and a restored relationship with you.

I am sorry for my adulterous affair with my self. It was wrong and I’m sorry for the pain it caused You. Now I know why David say it is against You that he sinned. Now I know.




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