Tuesday, September 23, 2014
“The Price of Lust”
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You’re listening to The New You, the daily broadcast for people who have been made new by the blood of Christ. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s Scripture:
With her enticing speech she caused him to yield,
With her flattering lips she seduced him.
Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks,
Till an arrow struck his liver.
As a bird hastens to the snare,
He did not know it would cost his life (Prov. 7:21-23).
Lust is unquestionably one of Satan’s most powerful tools. He used it in on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he’s still using it today. John wrote: “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).
I don’t want to belabor you with the statistics, but you need to hear some of them. Six out of ten websites are for pornography. One in five online searches made on a mobile device is for porn. Twenty four percent of smartphone users admit to having pornographic content stored on their device. Do you think Satan is still using lust to draw men and women away from God? Of course he is, and our culture is absolutely eating it up.
Lust has a price. “When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15).
Proverbs chapter seven is all about the price of lust. The writer begins by providing us a defense to withstand lust, then he identifies a bad decision that was made by a young man that ultimately led to his destruction.
The defense (Prov. 7:1-5). Do you want to learn how to withstand the temptation of lust? Here’s how you do it: internalize, practice, and treasure God’s commands. Proverbs is all about wisdom and understanding. We learn from Proverbs chapter one that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). Don’t be foolish. Instead, set up your defense by getting closer and closer to wisdom. “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call understanding your nearest kin, that they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words” (Prov. 7:4-5). Make the Word of God so much a part of your life that you know it as well as you know a member of your own family.
The only way you can really get to know anyone or anything is by spending time with them or with it. But is it worth all of that time and effort to build this defense against lust? As we further examine the price of lust, I think you will see that is most definitely is.
A bad decision (Prov. 7:6-21). The writer says that he looked out of his window and observed a young man walking down the street. That young man could have walked in any direction along the streets, but he chose “the path to her [the immoral woman’s] house” (Prov. 7:8). Here’s that bad decision.
Notice several things about this decision. First, it was made in darkness (Prov. 7:9). “He took the path to her house in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night.” Second, notice her dress (Prov. 7:10). “There a woman met him with the attire of a harlot.” This situation doesn’t look good, does it? Do you think that this young man knew that she lived down this road? Whether he did or didn’t, he could certainly tell something about her from the way that she was dressed. Third, notice the draw (Prov. 7:13-21). She begins to entice him with her words. She kisses him and tells him that she has made preparations to receive him into her home – and into her bed. She assures him that her husband is not at home, and that he is not expected to be back anytime soon. She flatters him and seduces him, and he falls for every bit of it.
Destruction (Prov. 7:22-27). “Immediately he went after her,” the writer records. But he went in to his own destruction. Proverbs 7:23 says that “an arrow struck his liver.” This is likely figurative language. In their commentary, Keil and Delitzsch note that people in ancient times considered the liver to be “the organ in which sorrowful and painful affections [made] themselves felt.” Thus, this activity was like an arrow to the liver. He chose this path to his own destruction, dishonoring his name and ruining his spirituality. So, the writer says, “He did not know it would cost his life” (Prov. 7:23). That’s what lust does to us. It destroys us.
Let’s wrap it up: Are people today carried away with lust? Statistically speaking, it could be that someone listening to my voice now is carried away with it in one form or another. So I’m here today to remind you and me of who we are. We are Christians, we have been made new by Christ’s blood. You are the new you. So let’s act like it. God has given us a defense. Let’s exercise self-discipline, sober thinking, and scriptural deeds that will bring us ever closer to wisdom’s salvation.
Memory Verse: Judgment day is coming for us all. Fortunately, we have the standard by which we will be judged: God’s Word. Jesus identifies that source in this week’s memory verse, John 12:48:
He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day (John 12:48).
Sometime today: Read Proverbs 14:12 about the way that seems right. What way is he talking about? Where does it lead? More on that tomorrow, Lord willing.
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This Thursday marks the one hundredth episode of The New You! I hope you’ll join me day after tomorrow for this special milestone.
Until then, thanks for listening to The New You. I’m Robert Hatfield, and I hope you have a great day!