October 28, 2011

Desire That Incinerates

I was going through the Proverbs one at a time looking for one to drum people over the head with to make sure they are paying attention. Lately, I  have seen people either being willfully deceived or making absolutely no effort to discern whether or not things are biblical or acceptable and proceeding with poor or reprehensible behavior as Christians. This topic seemed appropriate for the time being as it is a constant battle for most and it is a battle often lost or struggled over profusely. This post will be rather short and succinct, not very sweet and direct to the point. Buckle up. 
***Warning To Parents: This post contains Biblical sexual content***

"My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. 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. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is." Proverbs 6:20-35

Don't Cheat on your wife with someone else's wife. Pretty straight-forward. It seems like such a simple and wise thing to uphold and people would be well-advised to obey. Yet so many run rouge of this advice and go errant of such a good piece of common sense...and it makes no sense. Destroying a perfectly good relationship that at least two people have worked to make permanent by doing something so transient and temporary. Dumb.

On the flip side of this we see the woman in this passage. She plays the seductress and tempts the man. This is also uncalled for and unbiblical. As they say, it takes two to tango and both would be guilty in the situation outline in this proverb.

If we look closely at the text we see why some go wrong. The passage tells men to run in this situation. If one goes into this situation with self-confidence they are doomed. This is a tinderbox doused in gasoline. Once lit the fire explodes quickly to flame and becomes a raging furnace that is not quenched. The passage even tells us this in a rhetorical question,

"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?"

Does a man stand next to a raging fire waiting to be consumed or does he run? Does a godly and holy woman purposely fan the flame? In the end we see shameless selfishness on both sides that destroys not just two lives but at least four...or more if children are involved. For what? A fling? How stupid. We must pay careful heed to suspicious borders around pretty pictures that draw us in to stare to deeply and longingly at a picture that captivates our desires. Like being drawn towards a beautiful piece of art in a burning house...there can only be pain if not outright destruction. The proverbial moth to the flame. The hypnotizing attraction of a dancing flame. Once the act this man and woman connived and cheated for is attained it is not like a thief that can returned the stolen object. This is a crime akin to thievery but this thievery is permanent and the things stolen are non-returnable: trust, integrity, and perhaps even love. Sins in this world are many but the misery this one unleashes burns like the flame from a torch and scars the same. The core to this passage and the key to avoiding this is in (v.25) command:

"Do not desire her beauty in your heart". We see this in a command from Jesus also in Matthew 5:28: "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Does this mean that sin starts in the mind? Yes, it does. With lust and adultery there is even something more here. If a man in the area of temptation begins to allow his mind to go there it then is a precipitous fall of desire that will pull him into the sin or act itself especially if he is already in the presence and in view of the one tempting him because once lit the fire is rarely quenched. It is best to run in this situation. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:18: "flee from sexual immorality". If you do not flee the temptation, whatever the fire touches it changes. It incinerates everything in its path.

It ain't brain surgery folks. If you see the fire raging in your direction...you don't run towards it or stand still. If you do it will incinerate relationships to ashes....ashes whose only use...is for mourning.

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