“Tempted to Stray” is a two-part series about sexual temptation that the Lord led me to write several months ago. It hasn’t been easy for me to write at all. While writing it, I have learned more about myself as a man and husband. I have come to the realization that without the Lord’s strength and grace, any person can fall into the sin of cheating on their spouse or having sex before marriage. I have read in emails I receive, of the pain of women especially, whose husbands are having affairs. I personally know of marriages that have been wrecked.
Part 1 looks into Proverbs 5 and examines how and why we shouldn’t fall into sexual sin. Part 2 looks into how a young man – Joseph – overcame great sexual temptation.
I hope and pray that these articles will help someone out there, especially someone who is feeling tempted to cheat on their spouse or to have sex before getting married. Whether we like to admit or not many if not all of us have been tempted, even in thought. Let us depend on the Lord to strengthen our resolve to resist the great lure of sexual sin in our present world, and live lives pleasing to Him. God bless you.
“ 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, 2 that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. 6 Lest you ponder her path of life – her ways are unstable; you do not know them. 7 Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, 9 Lest you give your honour to others, and your years to the cruel one; 10 Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labours go to the house of a foreigner; 11 and you mourn at last when your flesh and body are consumed, 12 and say: “How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! 13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! 14 I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation” 15 Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well. 16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be only your own, and not for strangers for you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. 20 Why should you my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. And He ponders all his paths. 22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”
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Wisdom and Understanding
Proverbs 5 above was written by Solomon, and he begins on the issue of wisdom and understanding in addressing the topic of adultery. Wisdom is knowing the truth and how to apply it to any given situation. Understanding is knowledge seasoned with wisdom and insight. Proverbs 9:10 says “…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of God is understanding. This ‘fear of the Lord’ doesn’t mean we must be afraid of God, but that we should hold Him in awe, high esteem and respect. Wisdom and understanding are key to avoiding adultery. They come from knowing the Lord and having a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. As you grow in fellowship with God, you will know how to deal with the various situations of life that may come your way. In the context of this scripture, wisdom and understanding will help you to realize what to do when tempted with breaking your marriage vow and having sex with someone else. Verse 2 says that wisdom and understanding will help you ‘preserve discretion’ – i.e. appreciate good judgement.
The very sweet and present nature of sexual sin
Verse 3 gives a very important insight into adultery and more generally temptation. When tempted, the plan of satan is to focus your attention on present pleasure while hiding the dire consequences of sin later on. The immoral woman’s lips drips honey, her mouth is smoother in oil. “Her body looks good, she’s available, no one will know, the sex will be great.” However if not careful, you will never remember “I’m married, my life will be destroyed, I’m sinning against God.”
Verse 4 says “But in the end…” This is what will vanish from your mind if you go down the path of adultery or fornication. It’s only after you’ve messed up that you say ‘Oh my God, what have I done.’ Don’t make this mistake. This scripture gives us all the opportunity to consider the consequences of sexual sin before you make that first move. Look at verse 5 and consider ‘death’ and ‘hell.’ Do you want to risk it? Verse 9-11 shows that you will suffer….”giving your honour to others, losing your wealth, mourning and consumption of your flesh. Again I ask, is it worth it?
Just stay away
Well, hopefully by now you have realized the deadly nature of sexual sin. What can you do to avoid it? Verse 7 helps us – ‘Do not depart from the words of my mouth.’ Solomon the writer of Proverbs encourages us not to depart from God’s word. It is the word of God that will give us strength to say ‘No’ to temptation. When Jesus was tempted, He used the word. So must we. Secondly, verse 8 instructs us to ‘remove your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house.’ In other words, if there is a certain woman who is tempting you to stray, take the initiative of staying away. If you know she walks down a particular street every morning at 9am, make sure you are not walking down that street at that time! If she is a friend of yours, do not go to lunch, or if you work with her, don’t be caught in the office alone with her at 9 at night doing overtime! Sometimes temptation starts with just a little look…which grows into a longer look….then….’she’s on my mind’…..’I like to see her every now and then’….’she seems like she could be just a friend’…..’I want her’…
Do your best to stay away!
Take positive action, appreciate what you have
In addition to staying away from even the appearance of sexual sin, you as a married person should seek to cleave to your mate. Verse 15-19 encourages you to enjoy your marriage and appreciate your spouse. The temptation to stray can be borne out of a lack of fulfilment in your relationship. However this doesn’t give anyone the right to abandon their vows. If there are issues in the marriage that displease or hurt, you can with God’s help take steps to make things right. You owe it to yourself, to your spouse and to God. Verse 18 and 19 shows the sheer joy and intimacy you should have…totally in love.