Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Bashan: Usually the road to immorality is not a steep drop-off but a gradual decline. Here’s Judy Starr.

Judy Starr: As you go along, you get to the point where you don’t really even care; and when people begin talking to you about truth, your perspective is so skewed that you really don’t care anymore. I remember Holly saying to me, “You care more about the captain’s feelings then you do about your husband’s,” and at that point I had gotten there.

Leslie Bashan: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Tuesday, January 31st. Today we’re reminded that a wife’s choice to be unfaithful to her husband comes as the result of the series of smaller but dangerous choices. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re talking this week about a very sober and serious matter, something that every Christian woman needs to be alert to and warned about. God’s Word warns us in no uncertain terms about some of the issues we’re talking about this week.

So it’s a very serious matter, and I hope that you’ll join us for the entire conversation today with my two guests. Holly Elliff, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Holly Elliff: Thanks, Nancy.

Nancy: It’s always good to be with you, Holly, as a precious friend and co-laborer in this ministry and an accountability partner in my life.

Also joining us today is Judy Starr. I’ve known Judy for many years. Holly, you know her even better and have known her longer. Judy, thank you so much for being a part of this program.

Judy Starr: My pleasure.

Nancy: You’ve written a book, Judy, called The Enticement of the Forbidden. For those who weren’t able to hear the last program, let me just reset a little bit.

You and your husband were involved in distributing and showing the Jesus Film, about the life of Christ, on islands throughout the Caribbean, and the captain of the boat . . . you found yourself, within 48 of getting on that boat, with an attraction that became a strong romantic attraction. That experience for you became a pretty intense wake-up call.

Judy: It did. I made a lot of wrong decisions along the way.

Nancy: I want us to talk today about what some of those wrong decisions were. In fact, as I read your book, in the first two pages you kind of set the story for what happened, and I’m underlining like crazy, going, “No! No! Wrong! Don’t go there, Judy! No!”

We’ve talked on this program before about putting hedges around your life as a woman, whether married or single, in your relationships with other men. I just saw these hedges falling everywhere, and I know as you look back on it you see the same thing.

So let’s talk about what some of those small choices (they seemed small at the moment) were that you made—what the wrong choices were, and what you could have and should have done differently.

So as you backtrack now and roll the tape back, you get on the boat, you see this captain—what was one of the first things that, looking back, you realized, “I shouldn’t have gone there”?

Judy: Well, immediately when I sensed the attraction to him, I should have heeded the fact that we should never have underestimated the power of attraction. I knew there was a strong attraction between the two of us, yet I chose to ignore that warning sign and just to continue nurturing that relationship.

Holly: So what would you say to the skeptic out there, and I know there are some who are listening to the radio thinking, “Oh, yeah, a woman in ministry, married to a great guy, and she’s going to get on this boat, and within 48 hours her heart’s going to be drawn away?” Did it really happen in 48 hours?

Judy: Well, I sensed the draw to the captain in 48 hours, but really it was preceded by all the time I hadn’t spent in the Word and keeping my heart tender and broken before the Lord. I think that’s absolutely the most critical thing in protecting our marriage, is maintaining our individual time with the Lord, and I had chosen not to do that.

Nancy: So you get on this boat, Judy, and within 48 hours, in spite of the fact that you’re a happily married woman to a godly man in ministry, you find yourself attracted, emotionally drawn, to this tan, suave sailor, the captain.

Yet there must have been a progression there by which you fueled and nurtured those emotions, to bring you to the place you ultimately came to where you seriously considered leaving your marriage in order to have this man. How did you get from point A to that very dangerous position?

Judy: Well, it was by little steps, little choices that I made to ignore the Holy Spirit’s warning signs; by, for instance, spending time alone with him. When I sensed this attraction, I wanted to spend time individually with him, especially without Stottler there.

So I would make scenarios where I would send Stottler on with the film team and say, “I’m too tired tonight; I’ll stay on the boat,” so that the captain and I could spend time just talking on the boat.

We also talked about personal issues in our lives, and things that were very personal to our hearts, such as our love for music. And we talked about his marriage and divorce, that he’d been divorced before, and situations in his family. So all these personal issues just drew our hearts even closer together.

We also did fun things together. We went scuba diving together, and that just fueled my passion for this man. My husband isn’t able to scuba dive, so here was someone that could, and could enjoy that part of my life with me.

Holly: And what makes it so dangerous is that it was so incremental. It wasn’t just one big huge choice to jump outside God’s will, but they were tiny little steps that day by day led your heart away from truth.

Judy: That’s right.

Nancy: A key battleground here has got to be the mind. What were you thinking about? I assume your thoughts were going more and more toward this captain? Was there a fantasy world going on in your mind?

Judy: Oh, absolutely! In my mind I was creating all kinds of possible scenarios. I didn’t start out that way, but the more time we spent together, the more I envisioned being with this man, and him meeting my needs in areas like sports and being out in the sun and the ocean and those kinds of things; so I could envision this whole world of fantasy with this man.

Nancy: And what happens when you let your mind go places that it shouldn’t go?

Judy: Well, it drew my heart completely away from my husband and totally toward the captain, so that at the end point I wanted to stay with the captain and felt fairly dead emotionally toward my husband.

Nancy: And that, Judy, really illustrates the danger of even peeking into the door called Infidelity, as you say in you book.

Judy: Absolutely. Once you potentially open that door and peek in, it’s like a room full of snakes, and you will be bitten if you step into the room.

Nancy: And that’s exactly what the Scripture says again and again and again. You know, it bothers me a little bit that we use the word affair to speak of an illicit relationship, because having an affair sounds romantic. And the temptation of the moment often does seem so romantic; if it didn’t, why would we be falling for it?

It does seem alluring, and it’s that fantasy world versus reality that the Scripture says God has a totally different perspective on—what happens when we go for the bait. What is going to happen is not what the fantasy world pictures for us; the reality is something quite different.

Judy: Absolutely. In the first nine chapters of Proverbs, God spends so much time talking about the actual horror, from His perspective, of infidelity and what we call an affair. It’s really like two people descending to the chamber of death, is what He says.

Holly: And the world paints that very, very differently.

Nancy: That’s why in Proverbs 6:27-28 we read, “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?”

In the context there he’s talking about what happens when you toy with the enticement of the forbidden. You are opening a door. You are starting down a pathway that Proverbs says ultimately leads to death and destruction.

Holly: What’s so amazing about it is that you do not sense it at the beginning. You walked little by little into that, not feeling that you were in a dangerous situation.

Nancy: You don’t sense what the end will be, but if you’re a child of God, God’s Holy Spirit lives in you, and you do have the warning lights that go off if you’re listening to Him. If you’re sensitive to Him, you can sense this is not good, this is not best, this is not right. The key is to heed those warning signs when they first go off.

Judy: That’s right, because the really scary thing is, when you don’t heed those as you go along, you get to the point where you don’t even really care. When people begin talking to you about truth, your perspective is so skewed that you really don’t care anymore. I remember Holly saying to me, “You care more about the captain’s feelings then you do your own husband’s,” and at that point I had gotten there.

Holly: That’s an amazing thing, and that’s also why Scripture says we are to run, to flee, to get as far away from anything related to immorality as we can, because the Enemy is so subtle in his traps that we don’t even realize we’re falling into one of them.

Nancy: We’re going to continue this discussion next time; and, Judy, we do want to hear how God brought you out of this pathway of destruction.

I think we need to just stop and address a listener, maybe many listeners, who right now are toying with the enticement of the forbidden. You’ve maybe convinced yourself this isn’t so dangerous, this isn’t going anywhere, this is an innocent friendship, there’s nothing there, nothing could ever happen.

But as you’ve been listening today, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to your heart, and you realize, “I am on a pathway headed the wrong direction. I could, if I pursue this course, come to a place where my heart would be hard to the Lord, my heart would be hard toward my husband, and my heart could be even more drawn to this man who is not my husband.”

Judy and Holly and I just want together to plead with you on the authority of God’s Word that says, “Flee from sexual immorality.” Read it in 1 Corinthians 6:18, and if you’re not convinced that you need to flee it, then go back to Proverbs chapters 5 – 7, and see what happens if you don’t flee immorality. The Scripture says it will cost you your life.

Now, that may not mean that literally you die, though that happens sometimes. It may mean that your marriage dies, it may mean that your heart and your affection that you once had for the Lord die; but it will cost you dearly if you do not heed the warning that God gives to you in His Word and that He is giving to you through these women today.

Leslie Basham: If you’ve ever found yourself attracted to someone other than your spouse, you know how powerful that attraction can be. We’ve been listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss, with guests Judy Starr and Holy Elliff. Judy’s book is called The Enticement of the Forbidden, and you can order it from us if you’d like.

We also have a personal study guide to go with the book. This is something you can go through on your own or with an accountability partner or even with your spouse. This Bible study and discussion guide will help prepare you to handle temptation with grace and wisdom.

You can order the book by Judy Starr, The Enticement of the Forbidden, and the study guide to go with it, at our website.

While you’re there, look around at all the helpful features on our website. I like the fact that you can read transcripts from past Revive Our Hearts programs and easily e-mail them to a friend. Our website is www.Reviveourhearts.com. If you’d rather call, our number is 1-800-569-5959.

Tomorrow we’ll hear about the key role that Judy’s accountability partner, Holly, played in her near-disastrous situation. I hope you’ll join us for that. Now, here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Lord, I just want to pray right now for some woman who’s listening, and she is just in a battle for her life; her emotions are pulling in every which direction, and she’s feeling this enticement of the forbidden, she’s feeling this attraction.

Maybe she hasn’t been honest with herself enough yet to admit that that’s what she’s experiencing, but You have pointed it out to her today. There’s a man at work, there’s a counselor, there’s maybe even a pastor or a Christian worker she has confided in, and she’s feeling this attraction she knows is not of You.

And, Lord, You have been speaking to her, and I pray that You will give her the grace, the courage, the faith to say yes to You and to run from that temptation, to run from that situation.

Lord, we want to share some thoughts in the days ahead that will be practical helps for women in that situation; but even before we get into those other programs, I just believe there may be some woman that maybe right now, today, You are wanting to start the process of bringing her back from the pathway of destruction and setting her feet once again on the pathway of life.

I thank You for what You’re doing in hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit this day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture English Standard Version.

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