Topic: Flee Temptation
While virtually every outlet in popular media bombards us with sexually oriented material—a phenomenon that previous generations didn’t experience—we also face another danger: the opportunities to commit adultery have never been more prevalent. Furthermore, we live in a society that is more accommodating than ever. In addition to the normal temptations that occur in everyday life, we can go online to a dating service for married people seeking affairs!
So what can we learn from Solomon’s sayings when we’re faced with the lure of a lustful lifestyle? How do we live beyond the grind of this kind of temptation? The sage offered four specific decisions to make to avoid taking the moral tumble of adultery. (We will discuss two of Solomon’s points today and the remaining two tomorrow.) He originally wrote these for his son, so temptation is cast as a female. Of course, temptation doesn’t discriminate; it afflicts both genders equally.
- Stay away from the “evil” person.
Solomon urged his son to fill his mind with God’s Word as a means of putting distance between himself and the sensual woman he finds tempting. You might not be easily able to escape the physical presence of someone who wants to engage in an affair, but I highly recommend you make any sacrifice necessary to do so. At the very least, you can create emotional distance by nourishing your soul and, if you are married, by cultivating a deeper intimacy with your partner. Bottom line: put space between yourself and lustful temptation.
- Guard against the “smooth tongue” that invites you in.
Believe it or not, most affairs aren’t all about sex. The potential for sexual tension exists anytime a man and woman must spend significant time together, but most people do not cheat on their partners. A good marriage coupled with a secure, God-based self-image keeps us out of trouble. Yet very often, a normally straightlaced person is lured into an illicit relationship with compliments. In fact, sexual predators—aka Solomon’s “evil” people—use a person’s lack of confidence and relational dissatisfaction as opportunities to conquer.
Observe this vivid scene as Solomon describes how a tempter uses flattery to lure his or her prey:
“I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”
With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him. (7:15–21)