And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The folly of sexual indifference? How surrender to lust keeps us from true happiness. Part 2

The Method of Seduction.

Looking at the Hebrew of this passage opened my eyes to see how cunning and misleading the lure of sexual pleasure can be. Just as this woman of Proverbs 7 is making advances, so does the simple innuendo of advertisements, logos, television, and directly the interweaving of the porn industry lure the vulnerable. Let us not be naive, let us flee from the very appearance of evil. To do so will require humility, as not to fall in 1 Corinthians 10:12, and wisdom, fearing God.

For men, and young men at that, this may very well be the most destructive and camouflaged sin. It is discreet in its ebb and flow, and is justified and flaunted by the world. J C Ryle does a great job in his book AThoughts for Young Men@ to warn them of these dangers, without being graphic.

In the area of putting off the old and putting on the new, this is one field of habit that must never stop being refined. Just a little dabbling in sexual sins can enslave a person to a life dominating sin. Its time for emancipation. Let us look at some of the actions taking place

And I saw among the naive, And discerned among the youths A young man lacking sense, Passing through the street near her corner; And he takes the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home; She is now in the streets, now in the squares, And lurks by every corner. So she seizes him and kisses him And with a brazen face she says to him: "I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. "Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. "I have spread my couch with coverings, With colored linens of Egypt. "I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. "Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. "For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey; He has taken a bag of money with him, At the full moon he will come home." With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.
(Pro 7:7-23 NASB)

The young man believes that he his acting without being noticed. I would do well to remember that God is always seeing me. The fact that the man lacks sense has been brought up by a friend of mine who is a hunter. He has said that he has never killed a buck without it first being distracted from harm by a doe. Here we don=t know if it=s the man=s intention to go by the woman=s corner, but in verse 22 we see that suddenly he gives in and follows. He listens to her reasoning, and possibly muddles over the pros and cons and gives in to her. This could very easily become his snare of life. He is near her corner. As stated above, we should avoid the very appearance of evil. He is not fleeing, but being playful with the sin. Curiosity has often been the downfall of great men in many areas. When it comes to David=s adultery with Bathsheba, I believe it was not a one time viewing. I figure that he either had seen her bathe before and knew where and when to look, or he may have looked repeatedly throughout the course of the season, looking at her, fleeing to his room, dwelling in thought of her, and then returning for a curious glance. This pattern led to his reputation forever being associated with this event. Further, is produced kingdom divided, murder, and most importantly the name of God mocked.

Our young man is visual. As all men are designed. The adulterous woman is dressed as a prostitute and wily of heart. Her very attire is chosen to arouse curiosity. She knows how to use her body to get attention. She wants to be worshipped. I do not have much information on the attire of such women in such an age, but we can be assured that just like marketing devices and internet tricks, she knew how to subtly get noticed. Her wily heart his pouring forth its contents. Her thoughts and intentions are intending to be worshiped, and we know from the text it does lead to death.

As a note, death should not be only thought of as physical death, though that is a certainty. But the joy of abundant life will be killed. Guilt and shame will come. Then there are diseases. We find that the marriage will not have the luster of purity that God intended. Separation from God is paramount here as it further hardens the heart and opens it to all other sins.

As we see that she is not at home and wayward, my thoughts go to understand how wide spread the seductions of sex are in the world. Video stores and newsstands are not the only places to avoid. I shall not list the facets of where to find arousal, as this is self explanatory.

We read of her in the street and in the market. Sex is big business. If you can get hooked, you will be as dominated by it as someone on drugs or alcohol. It seems that everyone has a penchant to some type of sin (James 1), and these days sex dominates the marketplace. Know that as a multi billion dollar industry, the people behind it are without restraint. If they would manipulate you this way, several other deceptions lie in store.

It tells us that this woman lies in wait. She is a convenience merchandise. She appeals to satisfying the selfishness of her onlookers. The sex industry is constantly looking for more ways to be come obtainable with greater ease and fewer restrictions. We must be on our guard. Quite often these temptations will grab hold of men simply on the basis of convenience. One may never ever go to a pornographic theater, but a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue at a newsstand may serve as well.

We next find our young (or even older) man descending the next step. He has come in contact with her as she seizes him, and she speaks to put thoughts into his mind. She becomes an advocate to the sinful thoughts he already has within. She talks of her “cleanliness@ as a way to say she is pure. Then she says that she has sought him out. In her efforts to be an idol, she appeals to the mans desire for admiration. He begins to think higher of himself than he is, as now this woman makes advances that elevate his manhood. Rationalization is always a step toward acceptance of sin.

Pornographic magazines, and perfumes for that matter, all use alluring titles to beckon. Its like a lure to a bass. Part of the trap is the bait. Here we see cinnamon, Egyptian linens, perfume. Each of the senses is aroused. The mind is affected and pushed. Once the mind has begun discerning things, recalling memories of pleasures, and evaluating we see that she (or temptation) begins to incite fantasy. ACome, let us take our fill of love till morning@ she says, Alet us delight ourselves with love@. This grieves God. Love here is perverted. This is eros outside marriage. It is not agape or phillo. It is taking a created beauty, made by God, and turning it into an instrument of idolatry.

Then we find that she is married, and unfaithful to her husband. I see that many men wrestle with right and wrong in these situations. But the thought of being ten feet tall and bulletproof, or being AGod=s exception to the rule@ takes over. Remember, God does not stain His holiness for anyone.

The man here again rationalizes his integrity. He fails to look at the big picture, and eternity. He lives for the moment. Most men do dumb things, ie fall into sin, because they were not thinking with wisdom.

Then we see that suddenly he does follow her. He commits to follow her. She has power over him because he chooses to find pleasure for the moment. He has crossed the threshold. Oh that we might establish boundaries to our lusts.

We then get God=s perspective of how giving into sexual temptation plays out. Words like slaughter (planned killing for the benefit of the diners), caught fast (as in a set trap), and arrow pierces liver (hunted down), and a bird in a snare, all show us that death occurs. That we are being lied to and taken advantage of. Our God is mocked and not feared by these.

So our man at the window gives us some advice. He has probably seen this behavior several times over. He then concludes four things that I see.

First, be attentive to what he has told us beforehand. Know that this applies to us. Put off the behaviors of the young man, and put on the behaviors of the one safe in his home.

Secondly, Do not let your heart turn to the ways of this woman. Know they are perverted and evil. It is a candy coating over poison.

Third, do not stray in her paths. Again flee the very appearance of evil. Avoid all known temptations. Pray, memorize scripture that you might not sin against God. Have a plan to purify your heart if somehow you are tempted or exposed to one of these steps to destruction.

Fourthly, remember. Be knowledgeable that strong men, mighty men it says, have fallen to seduction. Seduction is a plan of entrapment. It is a trail of crumbs to a snare. You may enter the path midway or at the beginning, but it still leads to death.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1Co 10:12-14 NASB)

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