At the end of your life, what sort of things will be said about your heart as it relates to the track record of receiving and following the counsel you needed in order to live a life that was honorable and pleasing to God with respect to your sexual purity?
I hope that question make sense. The question comes to mind in a recent reading of Proverbs 5 with an emphasis on verses 11 to 13: 11 At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! 13 I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. (NIV). The context of this comment springs from a larger warning against adultery. The temptation toward adultery is quite real and some national surveys indicate that 15% of woman and 20% of men are unfaithful outside their “long-term relationships.” The Christian understands the imperative in watching out for their own hearts’ inclination toward this temptation. What makes this particularity challenging is not just one’s environment where there may be frequent opportunities to sin, but instead, the hearts’ predisposition to refuse counsel or advice, and this in part what Solomon wants us to consider.
Read Proverbs 5 and you can easily walk away with the impression that if you cannot maintain sexual purity in your your life or in your marriage, then it can amount to having come to the brink of utter ruin (vs 14). In some cases your life will be exposed “to the whole assembly”. That is to say, many people will know about your adulterousness, and it will not be pretty.
THREE SIGNS YOU’RE IN DANGER OF JEOPARDIZING YOUR SEXUAL PURITY
Sign 1: Your thought life has gone astray
Our insight on this point come from verse 6, “she gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked and she knows is not.” If you follow after someone or something that the Bible describes as living a thoughtless life, you too have become thoughtless. You have given your thought life over to the one who is thoughtless. Simply ask yourself, what sort of things am I thinking about? Are you thinking about your neighbor in a manner you ought not to think?
Sign 2: Your heart is not listening to godly counsel
This point makes sense when we understand that what is described as a devastated life in verse 14 is preceded by a heart’s sobering admission in verse 13: I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. But what is more disturbing is what we see in verse 12, the heart “hated discipline” and “spurned correction”. What advise has someone given you recently? Are you taking it in? If not, this might mean you’re heart is not listening to godly counsel.
Sign 3: You’re not asking yourself the right questions
In this chapter there are three questions found verses 16 and 20. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? (Pro 5:16 NIV). Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? (Pro 5:20 NIV).
We derive two things from the first question: One, your life ought to be discrete; you ought to be a person of discretion. This is an inevitable outcome if we pay attention to Solomon’s wisdom and listen well to his words of insight (vs 1); that you maintain discretion (vs 2). Two, your sexual purity is never to be shared with anyone except your spouse. This is evident in verse 17, let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. Verse 16-17 is Solomon’s way of giving us a visual aid that our sexual life is like a well or spring that must be moderated or else is can overflow in a manner unbecoming of godly man or woman. One of those ways to moderate is found in his advise in verses 18-19; basically, engage in sexual activity with your spouse, and your spouse only.
These other two questions highlight the exact issue of sexual purity regardless of whether you are married. Given what we know about where things lead if we give in to the sexual deviancy, the common sense question becomes, why do this? Why be captivated or intoxicated by an adulterous or embrace someone else’s wife? The question forces us to look into our heart and examine what is it that prompts me to let me thought life go astray or defy godly counsel. It may even force you to examine what is it that prevents you from following the advice of verses 18-19.
These may be difficult inroads to have to make with ourselves, but they are absolutely necessary if we are going to avoid being that person who groans at the end of their life and in retrospect say to ourselves, how I hated discipline, how my heart spurned correction (vs 12).
TWO PIECES OF ADVICE TO MAINTAIN SEXUAL PURITY
Advice 1: Remember your whole life is in full view of god
This advice is derived from verse 21. For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths. (Pro 5:21 NIV) If having your life come to the brink of utter ruin and everything exposed for all to see doesn’t serve as a deterrent (see vs 14), then neither will knowing that God already sees everything in your life. God does not punish us in a manner that our sins deserve and despite seeing every stray thought we have, he does not expose us, but we are exposed to him whether we like it not. However, if you are bothered by having your sins exposed to others, that is is a good thing. Therefore, let yourself be even more bothered that your sin is exposed to God. Strive for righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11).
Advice 2: Untangle yourselF from sin
This advice is derived from verse 22b, “…the cords of sin hold him fast,” and verse 23. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Sexual sin is a particularly insidious sin primarily because sexual sin is like honey (verse 3). So, what I mean by untangle yourself from sin is, we must go back and listen to the advice that Solomon so eloquently outlines for us: Verse 1 pay attention, and listen well; Verse 7 do not turn aside; Verse 8 keep to a path from from her, and do not go near [her]. As well, if you are married, pursue sexual intimacy with your spouse (verses 15-19). And we must be disciplined in all these things. Lack of discipline will cause us to go astray. Untangling yourself from sin is impossible apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit and is a lifelong journey where the Holy Spirit helps us maintain discipline for sexual purity.
I know of no one who doesn’t need advise on maintaining sexual purity. Thankfully, God has provided us his Word so we can learn from Him directly. We need this advise, we need this counsel and God’s counsel for us is the best counsel we can receive. By God’s grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I pray you journey the Christian life following Solomon’s monumental counsel we need for sexual purity so that when you reach the end of your life, you will not groan with regret but you will be able to rejoice with peace and love in your heart toward God and neighbor.
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