Category Archives: Temptation

No Reason for Envy

Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. – Proverbs 23:17

Testimonies

I love to hear stories of how God has changed people’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thrills to hear how the Lord can take a dreadful, hell-bound sinner and turn him into a saint in all respects.

But sometimes testimonies can turn into a glorification of past sin. Sometimes a well-meaning story of God’s grace can make the average person wish they’d taken a chance at being bad.

Like,

“I once was a drug dealer and had everything money could buy. I woke up with champagne and girls, drove fast all day, and then partied all night until I passed out in the arms of another supermodel. Then Jesus saved me.”

Sorta makes becoming a believer a little anti-climactic, doesn’t it?

The Truth

What we need more of is the truth – not just the truth about the consequences of sin, but the literal joys of following Christ and honoring the Father.

So often we are bombarded by images of those who are doing everything the Bible condemns and having fun while they’re doing it. All of us want to have fun and enjoy life, don’t we? Therefore, these images tend to make a lot of us envious.

But if we had more stories of the joy, peace, and awestruck wonder that accompanies the one who walks in the fear of the Lord, the fleeting pleasures of sin wouldn’t even be worth talking about.

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Your Name Is More Valuable

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Sales

I have had more than a few years of experience in the area of sales. I have, over the years, sold everything from credit card services to funeral pre-arrangements. Right now I sell for Aflac (the company with the Duck), and I hope to have a long relationship.

However, there have been times when I’ve been instructed by sales managers to do whatever it takes to close the deal. At one point one crook of a sales manager (I quit after this) told me, “After all, those people are not your friends.” I said, “Everyone is a potential friend.”

Sales can be a tough way to make a living – it’s actually hard on me right now – but some things are far more valuable than money.

Your Reputation

Some may think this is just a thing I say to gain trust, but it’s the honest-to-God truth. I tell people they can trust me because I have a reputation to protect.

Even though I could make a sale and make some money, what good would it do, in the long run, if word got out that I was untrustworthy? How would that affect my ministry? How would that affect my ability to lead a church, or share the gospel?

Oh, you don’t know how much I would love to open a few new accounts and pay my bills! I don’t want “great riches,” only enough to pay for necessities and a little more, plus enough to lay aside for later. “Tiny riches” would be fine with me!

But all the riches in the world are not worth ruining one’s name, especially when one’s name is associated with the Name above all names, Jesus Christ.

I’d rather have a good name that brings honor to His name than all the gold in the world.


Defiled From Within

Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. -Proverbs 7:25‭-‬27, KJV

Proverbs chapter seven, as we have abundantly discussed lately, is a warning against an immoral woman.

As Anthony pointed out, women are just as guilty as men as regards aggressively pursuing physical satisfaction. And as Dawn reminded us, we need a lot of reminding of the dangers.

Hence, the New Testament did so, too, reminding us as usual that it goes farther than just sex:

  • And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
    2 Peter 2:2, ESV
  • They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
    Ephesians 4:18‭-‬19, ESV
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Galatians 5:19‭-‬21, ESV
  • For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
    Mark 7:21‭-‬23, ESV

I highlighted one word in particular: sensuality.

Why?

Our western culture is so steeped in sensuality that we barely notice it, but Peter, Paul, and even the Lord Jesus warned us that (outside of marriage) it is a dangerous tempter straight out of and that leads straight to hell.

And sensuality (and other things) lives in us.

This is why we need so many reminders.


Brazen Church Girl

Today I decided to post a rerun from 2012. I couldn’t say it any better if I re-wrote it today.

Proverbs 7:13-15

“So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.”

One of the greatest myths is that all church-going girls are “good” girls. These verses are a good example. Not only has this woman been waiting in the dark for her prey, she is openly religious, and uses her surface piety to lure the fool. But let’s break down these verses one at a time.

“So she caught him, and kissed him..”

Look who is the aggressor; it’s not the man. Conventional wisdom (not godly wisdom) has taught us that men are always the aggressor and that women should be wary. However, there are plenty of young women, as young as middle school, who know exactly what they want, and how to get it. Consider the words of this mother…

“I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive 15-year-old son. I have literally been chasing the girls away from the door ever since the seventh grade. … The aggressiveness and promiscuity of young girls nowadays is beyond words. Their dress is so alluring and inviting to a young man, what’s a guy to do? Moreover, what’s a mom to do?” (source, Family Life Today)

“Impudent face…”

It is amazing how people can look you right in the eye and tell a bold-face lie. That is what this woman was doing. The Hebrew word translated here as “impudent” could also be translated as brazen. She just looked this naive boy in the face and told him what he wanted to hear.

“Peace offerings…vows…found thee.” 

It is obvious in verses 14 and 15 that something doesn’t add up. Why is it that a woman of the night would be telling this young man about how she went to church? Oh, it’s pretty simple, really. She was just saying what a good Jewish boy wanted to hear.

Here was the total, irresistible package: a young, gorgeous and religious woman calling out to be rescued from breaking the Law. “I am so glad I found you! You’re the answer to my prayers! This must be God’s will,” she essentially said.

In the Old Testament, when a peace offering was made, the leftover meat was to be eaten that night, and no later (Lev. 7:15). She presented her case in such a way that said, “We have to do this now!” She played to his religious chivalry.

When this woman grabbed the man, kissed him, lied to him, and trapped him, she did it with everything that said: “This must be a good girl – she’s only trying to do the right thing – and she likes me!” I can almost imagine him repeating the words of an old Debbie Boone song, “This can’t be wrong when it feels so right.”

A Prayer

Oh, Lord God, open our eyes to the tricks of the Enemy! Give us the wisdom we need to discern between a treasure far above rubies (Prov. 31:10) and a trap. Help us to teach our sons and daughters to be godly. Help us to be parents who set the example.


Heeding the Warning

And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”

Proverbs 5:7-14 ESV

I look for the context when trying to understand any message better, so when I hear the warning summed up in verses 12-14 in this part of the proverbs, I look to the verses preceding it to understand why it is given.

The audience of this passage is being urged to listen to a particular bit of wisdom and not forget it: keep far away and do not come near (being unfaithful to God). I see this as a big, bold-lettered sign on the straight and narrow path saying “wrong way” or “danger, keep out”. This is a warning against things of the flesh, the ways of the world, or in other words, that which causes us to sin (to separate ourselves from God).

It can be rather easy to get caught up in our own designs, or so focused on following certain directions (like a figurative GPS) that we miss the warning right in front of us. Honoring others and putting our trust in false teachings or false teachers will lead away from the best path, no matter how good it sounds or in line with current thinking. Yet, if we adhere to the truth and “do not depart” from it, we will be able to see the unfamiliar territory and turn away.

Giving our years to the merciless, those who do not have our best interests at heart will lead to wasted time and possible destruction. For when we follow someone else’s plan, as opposed to Gods, many wrong turns and necessary U-turns will be sure to follow. Yet again, if we adhere to the truth and “do not depart” from it, we will be able to see the wrong turns ahead and continue on the straight and narrow path instead.

As much as any journey is to be enjoyed, wrong turns and wasted time can be exhausting. And when the purpose of the journey is for anyone or anything against God’s glory, it is worthless, for “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) Instead, adhere now to God’s wisdom and see the danger in being unfaithful to Him, lest you find yourself on the path to utter ruin.

 

 


Pernicious Lust

Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord , and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
Proverbs 5:20‭-‬22, ESV

This passage reminds us of three things:

  1. Sex is supposed to be reserved for marriage (yes, one man and one woman);
  2. God knows and judges even our thoughts;
  3. Sin is pernicious, touching every area of life and holding on fast.

Firstly, think about society today, throughout most of the world, and how fixated are on sex. The more we stray from God, the more we seem to crave and then celebrate sin. Just look at the variety of “gay pride” parades and festivals, websites for “personal pleasure” and even affairs, and the use of sex in advertising and popular entertainment.

Secondly, we tend to live either as atheists or as though God is not omniscient nor hates sin. How? In the way we think, convincing ourselves that “it’s okay to look” and “no one else is getting hurt.” Yet, Jesus reminds us that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:28) and that God even judges our thoughts.

And finally, those songs and thoughts do affect everything else, especially the more one dwells on and/or lives out sins. Ask the adulterer or the couple whose marriage fell apart who started by “only looking at porn.” Look at how many people are defined by who they are attracted to or what they look like on the outside. And remember: the urge to look does not go away just because you “put a ring on it.” Lust becomes a habit.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13 ESV


All You Preach About Is Sex

The Complaint

Preach long enough – like one time – and somebody will probably complain. Preach multiple sermons week after week, year after year, and you’ll become used to complaints…because you can’t please all the people all the time…but it ain’t about pleasing people, anyway.

However, several years ago a deacon came up to me with a complaint from a visitor/former member… Wait, may I digress for a moment?

I absolutely hate it when people are sent to tell me what someone else was too afraid to tell me to my face. Do you remember writing those “Do you like me” notes in elementary school? Well, a lot of adults do the same thing when they send a complaint to the pastor via a deacon or elder. Grow up, people!

Anyway, several years ago a former member who was visiting a church where I was pastor got upset and said he was not bringing his family back. Why (and I know this because the deacon told me so)? He said all I ever preached about was SEX!

He said if that was all I was going to preach about, then he could just take his family to a movie or stay at home and watch TV.

But if the truth be known (clearing my throat), this man and his family only visited the church twice in one year, and it just so happened that the sermons they heard were the only two I preached that year which specifically addressed sexual sin. One sermon, I believe, dealt with faithfulness in marriage, and the other was from a passage like Proverbs 5, one which sounded the alarm about pornography addiction in the church.

Honestly, I can’t help but wonder if “just so happened” was the correct way to put it. God gave me those sermons for a reason.

The Catastrophe

The fact of the matter is that sex sells, pure and simple. Everything from burger joints to auto manufacturers bait their products with the allure of sexual gratification. Heck, every time I drive down the main road through my town I see a regularly-updated billboard featuring nothing more than a girl’s legs in short khaki shorts – all to sell shoes.

But sex does more than sell products. When used the wrong way, it can be a nearly-irresistible tool of mass destruction. It can be used to lead men, both young and old, into a life of misery, self-destruction, and total enslavement to addiction.

Even more tragic is what the sellers of sex do with those they use to tempt their prey. Think of all the horror and abuse that permeates the sex slave industry. Is this what God designed?

Proverbs 5 is just as relevant today as it was 3,000 years ago…no matter how many times you preach it – and it’s not preached enough!

 


I would encourage you to read this week’s posts, but also take a look at the previous posts from our first trip through Proverbs 5:1-23 on Proverbial Thought.

You can find links to them listed in the tabs at the top of the page, but I will copy the links below for your convenience.

5:1-2 “Pay Attention” – Daniel Klem

5:3-5 “Deadly Lips” – Anthony Baker

5:6 “Unpredictable Women” – Anthony Baker

5:7-9 “Run Away! Run Away!” – Anthony Baker

5:10-14 “Reason for the Warning” – Daniel Klem

5:15-17 “Drink Your Own Water” – David Welford

5:18-20 “Get Drunk On Love!” – Grady Davidson

5:21-23 “Stay On the Path” – Jason Sneed