Sexual Temptation – Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?

A great post over at ChurchLeaders.com written by Aaron McCarter.

Aaron McCarter shows that „Proverbs is warning us not to let lust override the commandments of God’s word„. And McCarter points out that it is no different today, than it was during Solomon’s reign when he wrote his admonitions to young men. McCarter writes:

Proverbs holds a view of romance, marriage, and sex that was counter-cultural back then, and it’s counter-cultural now. In Proverbs, the highest possible value is placed on faithfulness and friendship in marriage. I’m not entirely sure those are the leading ideas in culture at large today.

He talks about the danger of sexual temptation and recounts the devastation he has seen from „having a front row seat” to the destruction of many a marriage:

Being a pastor can be sobering at times. I’ve been given a front row seat too many times to watch the destruction that unfaithfulness brings to a marriage. It’s horrifying to watch. Usually I’m brought in to help… but I generally feel like a helpless bystander with little or nothing to offer. It’s just carnage. You’ve probably seen it yourself.

No decent human being sets out to cheat on their spouse… but it happens all of time. Why? It’s not because somebody goes out and does it. It’s far more subtle than that. The seeds of adultery are planted in the mind.

People have affairs because one day they allowed themselves to consider it. That’s all. And then, inevitably, they flirted with the idea (even if they didn’t yet even flirt with an actual person). And the momentum gathers.

“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”

He concludes by comparing lust to fire and showing how fire can be „powerful and useful„, yet, „difficult to contain and enormously destructive„. He concludes with a pastoral warning:

Don’t see how long you can carry fire next to your chest. God intended sex, romance, and relationships to be handled in a certain way, and walking close to sexual temptation is a sure way to get burned.

 

 

 

 

God’s design for sex

Al Jackson – Red Hot Monogamy: God’s Design for Sex – Proverbs 5:1-23  Message at 

Preaching from Proverbs 5:1-23, Jackson says that God’s design for sex is that a husband be captivated by the love of his wife and a wife be captivated by the love of her husband.

2 principles from this text:

 Principle #1 – Beware the deadly danger of adultery (vv 1-14).

Solomon is saying to his son, and God is speaking to us today, through Solomon’s writings: Beware of the deadly danger of adultery. It will destroy you.  Professor Garret os Southern Seminary says of verse 3 (For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,) that „the man is drawn to the adulteress because she inflates his ego with hollow praise, in ways his wife will not”.

Verse 5 – Solomon says,  „Her feet go down to death „, her steps lead directly to the grave; she has a pathway  and it’s the pathway of traveling toward sexual immorality. It’s not progress, it’s regress. It’s not upward, but it’s downward. Adultery is a dead end road and it leads always, always, always to pain, grief and sorrow and deep regret. Verse 6 – „She gives no thought to the way of life, her paths are crooked but she knows it not”. She’s an airhead, she doesn’t know about real life. She doesn’t know about joy, about real fulfillment; she’s trying to gratify the desires of her flesh.

In verse 7 –   Solomon is saying: „Listen up, go on the straight and narrow”. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7? „Narrow is the road that leads to life and few there be that find it. And, broad is the road that leads to destruction and many there be that walk on the broad road that leads to destruction„. In verse 8, Solomon is saying, „Keep your distance from her. Stay away”. Surely, you know, before someone commits adultery they think about it. That’s why Jesus said, „You heard that it was said ‘thou shalt not commit adultery, but, I say to you that a man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart„. First, it’s in the head before it’s in the bed. First, it’s an emotional attachment before it’s a physical relationship.

Let me give you some early warning signs. Someof you need them right now because you’ve already been tempted.

  1. A growing fascination with that other person. Things are not good at home. The romance has kind of settled down and there’s an emotional distance between you and your spouse. If the devil hasn’t already put old ‘honey lips’ in your path, he will; he wants to bring you down.
  2. A heightened sense of anticipation when you have the opportunity to be with this person. Be careful.
  3. A growing desire to confide in him or her, especially about how bad your marriage is. And when you get there, you’re just about ready to lose it.
  4. Emotional adultery opens the door to physical expressions of adultery. You will pay a high price. See Proverbs 1:9-10 „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”
    There’s a price to pay for sexual immorality- it might be an unwanted pregnancy, a sexually transited disease, or it might be something financial. There’s a high price to pay for a few minutes of sexual gratification

Look at verses 12-14 „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.”  I didn’t want somebody to tell me what I could or couldn’t do. I didn’t want that narrow minded, legalistic preacher from Alabama to tell me I couldn’t do these things.  Now, you may cover it up for a while, but, it will be disclosed.

The testimony of the word of God is absolutely sure, „Be sure your sin will find you out„. „Do not be deceived, God is not mocked”. „A man reaps what he sows. He who sows to the sinful nature will reap destruction”.

Please hear my heart this day: Beware, beware the deadly danger of adultery. You are a candidate for adultery, I am a candidate for adultery. Beware! Always keep your guard up. Never, never, never let your guard down. That’s all negative, but, there’s good news. It gets better.

Principle #2 – Rejoice in the delightful pleasure of monogamy

Here I am talking about married monogamy. Solomon is saying here to his son: Beware of adultery, but, rejoice in the delightful pleasure of a monogamous relationship.

Verses 15-16 15 Drink water from your own cistern,  flowing water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? This is a metaphor- cisterns and spring for sexual intercourse. Quoting from Dwayne Garret: The best interpretation is that sprains and streams of water refers to the husband’s sexual affections, as the cistern refers to the sexual affections of his wife. The man should not take his love and desire to anyone else, by going out into the street. The analogy implies that a husband and wife will fill and refresh each other- the one like a flowing stream, the other like a peaceful well. Sexual anarchy results when people cross over the bounds of fidelity.

We live in a society that is characterized by sexual anarchy. And, the Lord’s speaking to us through Solomon today and saying, „Be faithful to your mate”. Drink water from your own cistern, not some other cistern. Verse 17- „Let them be yours alone„. Not someone else’s, yours alone.. „never to be shared with strangers„. First he says it positively „yours alone”, then he says it negatively, „never to be shared with strangers”. The sexual relationship, the sexual expression, God’s intention is that it be expressed between a husband and a wife, and only there. Whenever God says, „Thou shalt not…” it means: Don’t hurt yourself. And when God says, „Thou shalt”, He’s saying, „Let Me bless you”.

Verse 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. He’s saying, „Be satisfied with the one you’re married to from when you were a young man or a young woman”. Take joy in each other, not in someone else.

Verse 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love  Captivated is the key word here, by the love of our wife. Not somebody else’s wife, our own wife. Focus on her. Focus on your marriage. Give attention to your sexual expression with your spouse. Make it red hot monogamy.

If you’ll water the grass on your side of the fence, it will be greener than the other side of the fence and the grass on the other side of the fence will not be nearly the temptation it would be if you don’t water the grass on your side of the fence.  Don’t just neglect each other.

Verse 20-21 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. You know God sees everything? I don’t have to be anxious that someone sees me because I know I am under the all seeing eye of God. Always! Always!

Verses 22-23 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray. How sad. Die for lack of discipline.

It’s real. Sexual temptation is real. The allure of internet pornography is just a few clicks away. It’s a deadly path. Well, you say, „Brother Al, what can I do? All these women are coming on to me all the time”. Well, what kind of signals are you sending? They don’t come on to me. I have never had a woman come on to me, except for my wife. Be careful what kind of signals you are sending.

Some of you may say, „I’m in an accountability group and I get asked the hard questions week after week, so I’m safe”. I’m all for accountability groups, but that’s no guarantee that you’re safe. Hear my heart on this. I don’t want to seem disrespectful, I have all kinds of groups that I meet with. But, a man who’s in adultery won’t think twice about lying about it. Lying is small stuff compared to adultery.

You say, „What can I do to ensure I won’t have a moral failure?” I don’t know there’s anything you can do to guarantee, but you can certainly do some things that you can make it very very unlikely. I just want to leave you the 2 primary ones that I try to implement in my life and marriage:

  1. Keep the fire of romance burning hot with your spouse. Men, never flirt with another man’s wife and never fail to flirt with your own.
  2. Pursue your love relationship with God with all your heart.

I believe if we are passionately in love with the bride of our youth and cultivate that relationship and fall deeply in love with God and cultivate a deep love relationship with our Savior, it’s not likely we’re gonna succumb. Scripture says, „Be holy as I am holy”. God is a holy God. It’s a high price to pay, to lose the smile of God for a few moments of sexual pleasure. Men, be holy. Be holy. Jesus said, „Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God”. Do you wanna see Him? I wanna see Him. I wanna know Him, I wanna experience Him, I wanna walk with Him, I want His favor. I wanna experience they unless of His power.

God honors personal, practical holiness.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Scottish preacher, died at the age of 29) – „Remember you are God’s swordHis instrument—I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.

Guard your heart, cultivate your marriage. Stay in love with Jesus. Our reward is not here, it’s in glory.

 

Al Jackson – Red Hot Monogamy: God’s Design for Sex – Proverbs 5:1-23 from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

Randy Alcorn – The Purity Principle (Esssential Reading)

This is a very helpful article with the Biblical perspective on sexual purity from Randy Alcorn. You will find all his links at the bottom of this page.

Chapter 5 and 6 from the Purity Principle

Posted in: Excerpts from Randy’s Books, Sexual Purity Articles
By Randy Alcorn

The Purity Principle is this: Purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid.

Does God really argue for sexual purity on the basis that it’s the smart choice, while impurity is stupid? Judge for yourself:

Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife? For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. (Proverbs 5:20-23)

Why avoid adultery? Because God will see it and He will bring judgment. But even before judgment day „the cords of his sin hold him fast.” The adulterer will be ensnared; he will die. He’s the primary victim of his foolishness. In contrast, the man who remains pure can „rejoice” and „be captivated” by his wife’s love, enjoying their sexual union (Proverbs 5:18-19).

In the next chapter God asks, „Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. (Proverbs 6:27-29)

Haunting words: no one who touches her will go unpunished.

Proverbs also depicts the man who is seduced into adultery as „an ox going to the slaughter,” and like a deer or bird being killed by a hunter (Proverbs 7:21-27).

A believer recovering from sexual addiction (which requires repentance from sexual sin) told me, „Addicts always think they can get away with it. You won’t change until you realize you can’t.”

I can never get away with sexual immorality. God wants me to remember that…for my sake.

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