Hot Coals

Hot Coals

There are four sections in the early chapters of Proverbs that deal with the theme of sexual morality; 2:10-22, 5:1-23, 6:20-35, and 7:1-27. Solomon felt this was a major issue in the life of young men. No other subject, outside of wisdom itself, dominates Proverbs 1-10 like the issue of adultery and the seductive woman. Reading the four sections one can see three key themes:

I. Wisdom Precedes Holiness-See Proverbs 2:10-11, 5:1-2, 6:20-23 and 7:1-5. Solomon begins his discussion of sexual sin in the same place he began the discussion of wise living (Proverbs 1:7), the fear of the Lord. All the practical hedges in the world will not a protect a man who does not walk in the wisdom. Wisdom, that is fearing God, precedes a righteous life. Holiness does not begin with actions, but with attitudes that lead to specific God-honoring actions. 

II. The Harlot is Attractive-See Proverbs 2:16, 5:3, 6:24-25 and 7:10-21. The harlot is not an ugly woman with four teeth, who cannot string two words together. She is beautiful and flattering with her speech. Men need to acknowledge that seductive women are seductive for a reason: they look good and talk sweetly. Only a fool fights adultery by pretending the woman is ugly. Fathers and mothers in particular need to understand this with their sons. Telling them that girl on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is ugly is a lie. And boys know this. It is better to say, “Yes that woman is beautiful, but she isn’t yours. And lusting after her will destroy your soul.” Boys (and men) must learn to say no to what looks good and would certainly be a delight initially.  What mother keeps her son from eating cookies before dinner by telling him the cookies won’t taste good?

III. Her End is Destruction-See Proverbs 2:18-22, 5:4-14, 6:26-35 and 7:21-27. This destruction can be poverty, an angry husband or father, loss of a job, loss of a wife, or loss of reputation. Whatever it is, the man who indulges his lusts has picked up fire. However, the destruction can take a while to show up. Men can be lulled into believing that the judgment of God is a fiction. A man can indulge his lusts year after year and believe he is getting away with it. He can flirt with the girl at work for quite a while and believe God does not see. But it is only a matter of time before the illusion of invincibility is pulled away. When a man gives in to sexual temptation with his body, at his computer, or in his mind over and over again destruction is assured.

How to Protect Yourself
1. Stay far away from her-Proverbs 5:8 and 7:25-26. The man in Proverbs 7 went near her house. If we hang around a seductive woman it is like dancing around a trap (Proverbs 7:23).  We will get caught. In the world of the Internet this is increasingly difficult. Half-naked woman show up on all sorts of clean sites. You can watch explicit sex scenes on Netflix or Amazon. But the principle still holds. Move past those images as quickly as possible.  Don’t watch that show. Refuse to go to lunch with the co-workers because of that short skirt and those flirty eyes. Notice in 7:26 that all men killed by the seductive woman were strong men or mighty men. We tend to believe that we can handle it. “I know that friend of mine fell, but I won’t,” said every fool that has ever lived. The truth is we are weak. Run men. Run.

2. A vigorous married life-Proverbs 5:15-20. Delighting in the marriage bed is a helpful deterrent to adultery. Proverbs uses breasts and intoxication in the same verse (Proverbs 5:19) for  a reason. God expects us to enjoy sex with our spouses. He intended it to be good.  The goal is not to have great sex by the world’s standard. You don’t need to go buy a manual on how to have the perfect orgasm. The goal is to be thoroughly satisfied by your wife. If the marriage bed is cold then our temptations will be stronger and wills weaker. 

3. Remember the eyes of the Lord-Proverbs 5:21. God is always in the room. He is always at the office or the gym. He knows when we take a second glance. He knows we went a certain way to get a look at that girl. He knows we watched a movie or TV show just see the sex scene. He sees all the way in. When a man longs for righteousness this is a good thing. He wants the added accountability that comes with knowing God is there. But when a man is hypocrite the last thing he wants to remember is that God is there. Does God’s presence scare you or comfort you? 

4. Guard your heart-Proverbs 4:23, 6:25 and 7:25. The greatest danger to your morality is not porn, co-workers, the gym, or Netflix. The greatest danger is you. Jesus says in Matthew 15:16-20 that all our sins come from the inside out. James 1:14-15 says the same thing. We sin not because of what is out there in the world, but because of what is in our hearts. Here is why certain practical steps, such as Covenant Eyes or accountability partners, cannot ultimately help. They can be a good stop gap and I recommend them for those struggling. These steps are not useless. But they do not guarantee purity of heart.  It is possible to not look at porn and still struggle with lust. A man doesn’t have to have hundreds of nude images on his computer to be in danger of adultery. Take the practical steps you need to, but continue to work on your heart. Through the Word, Spirit, and God’s Spirit filled people we must not just monitor our outward actions, but also our inward motivations. Why do we do what we do? What is going on inside that no one sees? We need to reshape what we love. Learn to love Jesus more and your lusts less. Some key ways we do this are by reading and memorizing Scripture (Psalm 119:11) and gathering for weekly worship (Hebrews 10:25).