24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
We have reached the four final verses in a chapter of Scripture that focuses on things we would rather not think about, talk about, or otherwise air in public. Some readers may sit back rich in the knowledge that these words of wisdom apply to other fools, not them. Surely part of wisdom is recognizing when folly has invaded our minds?
Mind invasion could be a good title for of work of science fiction. The science here is seduction, but there is nothing fictional about the dangers associated with seduction. Proverbs 7 clearly states that seduction is a real and present threat to all men and women. If we do not realize this, then it is possible that we have already been seduced, not by an immoral person, but by the folly that says; “This doesn’t apply to me, I’m not vulnerable to this type of threat.”
Assessing the Risk
The first step in guarding against the threat is to acknowledge vulnerability and consider where the risk is greatest. We have to examine what we are allowing to enter out minds, and how society corrupts our thoughts. Here’s a small checklist. You will probably be able to add to it:
- What/who are you looking at?
- What/who are you listening to?
- What are you reading?
- What are watching on television, or at the movies?
- What DVDs are sitting on your shelf?
- Are you vulnerable to advertising images on billboards?
- Are you tempted to click on Internet links that will take you places you know you shouldn’t go.
- Do you really think that spending regular lunch times alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex can remain innocent forever?
- Do you honestly believe that leaving your marriage partner for another person will not cause untold pain and hurt to numerous people?
Feel free to add to the list by commenting below. But first read Proverbs 7 again in its entirety, but linger on the final verse:
Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
29 So he that goeth in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
Playing With Fire
Do you remember how the king of the monkeys in The Jungle Book wanted to learn the secret of man’s red fire? Like the monkey king I used to be fascinated by fire when I was a child. I just loved to strike matches and make fire. I especially enjoyed bonfires and always looked forward to the annual celebration of bonfire night on 5 November. Where I lived in Guernsey people from our road would meet at one of the vineries where there would be a massive bonfire, soup, hot dogs, and fireworks. Bonfire night was a real treat for the kids, but we were always warned to keep a safe distance from the fire and not to pick up the remnants of any fireworks. Our parents knew the dangers and taught us that if we played with fire we would probably get burned.
Desire is no different to fire. If you desire the wife or husband of another person and surrender to your desire you will get burned. The problem is that fire is hard to contain and inevitably causes devastation elsewhere. Images of firefighters trying to extinguish wild fires come to mind. In similar fashion extramarital activity usually causes untold damage to many lives.
The Church is not immune. Satan loves to mess up Christian marriages. Why else would such warnings be included in Scripture? God gave men and women a special gift. He intended it to be used within the boundaries of marriage. This was defined from the very beginning as ‘one man, one woman, together for life’ (Genesis 2:22-24).
I have watched first hand as friends have been tempted from their marriage partners, and I have witnessed the damage, much of it collateral. They always begin with excuses such as “I don’t think I ever loved her in the first place.” They talk themselves into believing that no one will be hurt. They tell friends that what they are doing is for the best. But these are not excuses, they are lies. It is inevitable that adults and children will be damaged by the pain and the hurt, that lives will disintegrate, and tears will flow.
If you play with fire you will get burned. But so will others. You have been warned.