THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL SIN
"Now therefore, my sons, listen to me and pay attention to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways (the ways of an adulteress), do not stray into her paths. For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain. Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death." - Proverbs 7:24-27
Some years ago, I was having lunch with a friend. He was visibly shaken. When I asked him what was wrong, he spilled the beans. He had become overwhelmed with lust and groped a woman at work. His wife found out ... as did her husband. It was a huge mess. I can still remember him telling me these chilling words, "I am so afraid I am going to lose my family."
Without question, one of the biggest challenges facing Christians today is the problem of sexual immorality, including lust (a temptation of the mind), pornography (a temptation of the eyes), adultery and fornication (a temptation of the body). Many good men and women who truly love God are falling prey to this powerful and alluring temptation. How can we have victory when the sexual pull is so strong, so ingrained in our flesh, and so readily available?
VICTORY IS WON AT THE BEGINNING
The Lord speaks directly to the temptation of sexual sin in Proverbs 7. In this chapter, the man lacking in sense is seduced by a scantily-clad harlot who says to him, "Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses" (Prov. 7:18). He follows her for a night of momentary pleasure, and afterward he experiences a lifetime of lasting pain. Such is always the case with "the passing pleasures of sin." Like the fish that went after that shiny, beautiful lure, "so he does not know that it will cost him his life" (Prov. 7:23).
The man in Proverbs 7 made two fatal errors. First of all, he didn't hold fast to God's clear command. He chose his way over God's way, and it cost him. A big key to victory is a made-up mind. When you are fully persuaded that God's commands are true and right and produce lasting contentment and satisfaction, you will trust what He says and turn away when evil presents itself.
Secondly, the man lacking sense took an ill-advised step toward a slippery slope. He took the way to her house and strayed into her path. He lied to himself and rationalized his actions which were not overtly sinful ... yet. But, he inched too close to the fire and got burned. He ventured too near to the spider's web and got caught in its sticky trap. He could have had victory ... if only he had clung to God's Word, if only he had not taken that fateful step toward sexual sin.
The old saying is so true, "Sow a thought, reap a deed. Sow a deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny." It all starts with the thought. God tells us to take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). If we will do that, we will keep to the path of life.
When you are tempted to take a precarious little step toward compromise by clicking on a questionable link, starting up that "innocent" conversation with an old flame, or engaging in inappropriate sharing with a co-worker you find attractive, stop and ask yourself this critical question, WHERE COULD THIS LEAD?
Sexual sin is defeated at the starting gate. You cannot fight that sin because it is too powerful. God tells us to flee it. God says, "Follow the example of Joseph and get yourself far away from the slippery slope." If you go near the door of her house (the door of sexual temptation), you will be overwhelmed, and you will fall ... and you will rue the day you let that sin wreck and ruin your life, your marriage, your family, and your testimony for Christ. It is NOT worth it. It is NEVER worth it. If you don't believe me, just ask King David.
THE GOOD NEWS
If you have failed, you can get back up with the Lord. You don't have to live as Hester Prynne with a scarlet A on your chest. The blood of Jesus washes white as snow. Confess your sins to the Lord and to another trusted friend who can hold you accountable. Claim God's amazing grace over your life ... and walk in the peace and joy of His forgiveness. Put God's Word into practice in your life and begin to live in victory over sexual sin.
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Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.