Temptation

Temptation

Your lust, your addiction, your lying, your sin will kill you.

Proverbs 7 was likely composed between 971 and 931 B.C. That is around 3,000 years ago. So how does this passage apply to us?

First, we must look at what the passage is addressing. Look at Proverbs 7:10-12. Who is the woman in this passage? She is a seductress, a temptress.

So why should you care? Because this passage is talking about your sin. No, you may not be running after a seductress but you crave something. Solomon here is not merely addressing the temptation of adultery but temptation to sin in general. He uses adultery as a case study. We will just have to plug in our own situation. This passage applies to us all. Listen. Because this, as we will see, is a matter of life and death.

Keep God’s Word, keep away from sin! Tattoo God’s Word on your heart (Prov. 7:1-5). Verse 2a says “keep my commandments and live” but in order to keep them we must know them. That is why we must treasure up God’s Word and keep it as the apple of our eye. We must keep God’s word always before us. We must even etch it onto our heart. It is one thing to write something down, another to use a Sharpie, but another thing altogether to engrave something. We must hide God’s Word so thoroughly in our hearts that it will be permanently upon us, like a tattoo. When God’s word is bond on our hearts and wisdom is our close friendthen it will keep us from the forbidden woman. When we know God’s Word we will see the lies of lust and the lies of addictive substances (cf. Ps. 119:11; Jn. 17:17). We need the sword of God’s Word to fight against temptation.

Run and hide from sin (Prov. 7:6-12). Why is the young man lacking sense in Proverbs 7, why is he stupid, and unwise? Because he is passing her corner. I am in the army and I have gone through tons of training of how to cross a road, go under bridges, and around corners when driving a Humvee. Why? Because they are danger spots. In fact, if these spots can be avoided we are to avoid them. It is not wise to go into these situations if you can avoid it because it is in these situations that the enemy is near and waiting in ambush. If mounted Humvees seek to avoid the “danger spots” we must avoid them all together.

We must flee from sin (1 Cor. 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:22; Prov. 5:8; 6:27). Too often we try to reason ourselves out of this. We say, “If I don’t hang out with them how will they get saved?” Yet the real question is, “If I keep falling into temptation before them, how will they get saved?” It true that Jesus ministered to prostitutes but that ministry is not for everyone. It true that drug dealers and drug users need Christ but if you’re tempted to sell or do drugs that is probably not the ministry that God has for you, at least at this point in your life.

Have you ever been on a diet? So you’re not trying to eat sweets to lose a few pounds. Let me ask you though, before you go on this diet, do you fill your freezer with ice cream and your cupboards with chocolate? If you do you are foolish. Or your just not serious about your diet. Yet how often do we do this very thing with our addiction? With pornography? With drugs? You might tell yourself, “I don’t want to use tonight. I’m just going to hang out for a little bit.”

We may say we don’t want to keep taking that pill, smoking that joint, but is that true if we keep going to that person’s house? We don’t want to do so many things, supposedly. If solders had that in Afghanistan today, they could literally be dead; the enemy would kill them. Yet we leave ourselves open to enemy ambush all the time. We think nothing of it. We walk right around her corner. We must be on guard and avoid “the corner.” You know your corner. You know where temptation gets you. If you can avoid that corner, you’ll be on the way to when the battle.

I, basically, never watch movies or TV. This is my personal conviction for me. This is me avoiding the corner (see Prov. 7:7-8 cf.5:8).

I use to work doing security and when I get to the guard shack, I was very intentional about turning off the TV right away. I don’t want to react but pre-act. If we are near the corner, we are foolish (Prov. 6:27). We must be proactive and avoid the corner. We must practice radical amputation. We must be willing to not drive on certain roads, look the other way when passing Hooters (I do this!), take a baseball bat to the laptop. We must do what it takes.

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mk. 14:38).

Don’t listen to the lies (Prov. 7:13-27) “She seizes him and kisses him” and promises him sexual delight. She says “Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.” She says there won’t be consequences, no one will find out, my husband is not home. She says, “Come with me we’ll have fun and no one will know. Is this not the lie of lust? The lie that we can drink in lust and it doesn’t matter; there are no consequences and it hurts no one and in fact is normal.

At first, she, the temptation, may look good. She may drip honey, but in the end, she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to hell (Prov. 5:3-5). The river of temptation has a strong current and it will carry you along until your terrible fall unless you fight it and escape its grasp.

Temptation says, “Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love” (v. 18). Is this not what our temptation sounds like? And notice, it promises no consciences, “My husband is not at home” (v. 19); no one will ever know, so it doesn’t matter. Let’s apply this concept to dieting. No one may ever know that you ate that ice cream that night when you were all alone but your life will show it or at least your waistline will. Plus, once you have that one bit of ice cream the next one doesn’t seem so bad, in fact, it seems really good. Temptation promises pleasure and delivers it, for a time. Yet it is only for a time (see v. 21-23).

Lust is the way of death even if she promises delight. However, it is not just lust that brings death and depravity, it is sin. All sin. Your sin. Don’t let yourself off the hook here. You may not feel tempted to to go to a strip-club but what about that lie you told yesterday? What about those bottles you’re going to drink tonight? We all have lies we hear. We must answer them with God’s truth.

We must remember that if we follow her (our sin) it will be as an ox to the slaughter (Prov. 7:22). As surly as the ox going to the slaughter brings death so will our sin bring death. If we follow our temptation, we will be like a mouse going to the cheese in the mousetrap. We may get the cheese but it will kill us. If the mouse knew that, the mousetrap would kill it surly it would stay clear. Brothers and sisters we know sin will kill us and yet so often we fail to stay clear. May we be wiser than mice. We have seen here, through God’s Word, that sin is a trap that brings death, so avoid it. If we don’t it will cost us our family, our ministry, and our life.

Listen to wisdom, obey God’s Word because “many victims she has laid low.” Lust is pictured here as a dreadful mighty warrior and we are told not to fight with her but to avoid her because she has destroyed many. Bible students, pastors, and professors are included in this “many.” In fact, she can, and will take us all down if we don’t avoid her.

Brothers and sisters, sin, grave sin, is not beyond me and is not beyond you. Alcoholism, drug addiction, or whatever it may be is not beyond you.

 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths,
for many a victim has she laid low,
and all her slain are a mighty throng.
Her house is the way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death”
(Prov. 7:24-27).

Don’t listen to sins lies! Hide God’s Word in your heart and run from temptation!

Will this woman, will this sin, be the death of you? Or will you do everything in your power to flee from her?

All have sinned, everyone, and fallen short of the glory of God. None is righteous, not even you. We have all followed our temptation, whatever it may be. We are all as like ox going to the slaughter. We are all on the path to Sheol. Is not this true? Is not the wages of sin death?

Yes it is, but praise God, Jesus has died in our place! The wages of sin is death. But! But the gift of God is eternal life! Brother and sisters you, I, deserve death, slaughter. But, in while we were yet sinners Christ died for us! For us! God promises those who have faith in Him eternal life instead of the death we deserve. He not only gives eternal life but also an abundant and free life here.

Many of you are already in the shackles of sin. You’ve been entangled in the seductress’ lies, whatever those lies may be, you’re like a mouse in the trap. You may have the cheese but your caught, going nowhere, and dying. Can you be free? Free from the shackles of your addictive sin? God says you can! He is able to help those who are tempted. Trust in Jesus for salvation and look to Jesus in your sanctification.

Roman 6:20-23: “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set freefrom sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are free, no longer slaves of sin! We no longer inherit death but eternal life. Yet, now, we serve as slaves to our good Master, God Himself. We now serve a good Master, with good rewards, but we must serve Him.

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :) View all posts by Paul O'Brien

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