A Commandment That Gives Life to Living 5/17/98

Proverbs 7:1-27
Page 939 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST was tempted three times by Satan personally. The threefold appeal dramatically struck at basic needs we all have. Jesus was in all points tempted like us. He resisted and was victorious. Believe it or not, many modern Christians are both tempted like you and victorious. What is now shared is done so in love with the prayer that it might be used of the Lord to enable others to gain and enjoy more spiritual victories over temptation.

TEMPTATION can be a physical object you encounter.

It can be the body of another person with which you become so preoccupied that you grow to conceive of the person not as a person but as an object. Expressions such as, “What a hunk,” and “Look at that body,” reveal such an attitude.

Temptation can be a beautiful piece of pie that makes the mouth water when you are trying to lose weight.

It can be a pornographic magazine.

It might even be too much change accidentally returned by the cashier of which you are aware but the cashier isn’t.

TEMPTATION is a pressure situation, when everybody kids you and urges you to do something you really don’t want to.

TEMPTATION is a challenge to prove what you are or can do by being other than what you ought to be.

TEMPTATION is anything which, if we follow it, causes us to do something contrary to God’s will.

James 1:14, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own desires.”

I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to beat it.”

Every passion, desire, and appetite of everyone of us has a tempter lying in wait for it which desires to misuse it. Even vices often wear the robes of virtue.

Many young males and mothers have urged me to speak more directly about how young men can avoid the advances of an aggressive female and help avoid improper allurement. Females today are depicted in an aggressive role in all of the media. TV, ads, movies, and novels represent the female as the aggressor. Some think this is new. It isn’t according to Solomon. Let’s do a case study of one young woman and man.

A. Company. He was among “the simple.” The term means the silly frivolous idle.

B. Intellectual. “A young man devoid of understanding.”

He may have been brilliant, but he lacked something. The term “understanding” means “common sense satisfied by purity.”

It is unfortunate that the age which needs most advice deplores it most. Talk to youth when passion is high and pleasures are glittering and you will be looked upon with more contempt than a case of leprosy.

Who are those without understanding?
1. Those who reject the good counsel of loving parents.
2. Those who seek wrong companions.
3. Those who rebel against spiritual principles.
4. Those who yield to sensual gratification.

C. Geographical. “Passing along the street near her corner, and he took the path to her house” (vs. 8).

If you are not going in the house, stay off the front porch. Avoid temptation. Don’t flirt with it. Doubtless, he thought he could handle such a stroll.

If you don’t want to eat the bitter fruit of sin stay out of the devil’s orchard.

D. Time. “In the black and dark night” (vs. 9).

E. Attire. “With the attire of a harlot” (vs. 10).

F. A Spirit of Rebellion. She was “rebellious” (vs. 11).

G. Fantasizing. “Lurking at every corner” (vs. 12).

You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building their nest in your hair. You can’t avoid certain improper thoughts but you can keep them from being consented to as your will.

H. Physical Stimulation. “She caught him and kissed him” (vs.13). Note also verses 16 – 18.

I. Shamelessness. “With an impudent (shameless) face” (vs. 13).

J. Religious facade. “Today I paid my vows” (vs. 14).

K. Flattery. “I came out to meet you” (vs. 15). Read also verse 21.

The cover story of the May issue of “Sports Illustrated” related to children of NBA players who gave birth to children without fathering them. Promiscuity is a norm around the league. One young man stands out among them. A.C. Green, who has played on two NBA championship teams, recently became the “Iron Man” of the NBA, having played in more consecutive games than any player in NBA history. A.C. has started an organization known as “Athletes for Abstinence.” Regarding temptation A.C. said, “Temptation is just a part of life. … the opportunity is always there. The Bible says that when Jesus was tempted by the devil, the devil then went away and waited for another opportune time to come back and temp Him again. There’s always going to be temptation, and there’s always going to be a struggle within us between right and wrong. So, it is always there, but having fellowship with guys on the team and guys that you can talk to on the phone—that always helps.”

A. Physical. When he started down the street by her house according to verse 22, he was like an ox on its way to a slaughter house. An ox on its way to the slaughter house has no idea what is about to happen. He likely thinks he is going to a field of clover where all day long he can revel in herbaceous luxuriance. Soon he finds himself walking down a narrow shoot that funnels him into an even more narrow pen where a sudden death-dealing shock is instantly delivered.

Many a person has been driven on by what they thought would be paradisiacal enjoyment; suddenly he finds that instead of walking in an enticing garden, he has been driven “as an ox to the slaughter.”

The physical consequence also involves public shame. He becomes like “a fool to the correction stocks.”

B. Emotional. “Till an arrow struck his liver (vs. 23). As the “heart” is today often used to speak of emotions, so the liver was considered to be such in previous ages. It still is by the Chinese. The liver was spoken of as “black bile.” Psychologically it was a term which spoke of depression. The graphic term of an arrow striking the liver speaks of guilt and resulting depression.

C. Spiritual. “Her house is the way to hell…” (vs. 27). When he started down her street, he was on the path to hell.

Consider this comment by A.C. Green, the NBA “Iron Man,” “Every decision has a consequence. That’s the bottom line. You have to be accountable for your actions, no matter who you are.”

What can be done to avoid this downward trend? Consider:

The Bible instructs us to “Flee temptation.” When you do be sure you don’t leave a forwarding address.

The term “flee” means to get away so fast you kick up dust. If you have an improper friendship here is sage advise. That is, a relationship you know the Lord does not approve of. Break it off permanently immediately.

When you encounter temptation always turn to the right.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13).

What ever you know about yourself, know this, you are dreadfully like everyone else.

Corinth was a sea port. The term translated “way of escape” was a nautical expression. It referred to a ship in peril in a storm. The only way it can survive and ride out the storm is to lighten it load. Therefore, certain of the cargo has to be thrown overboard. To avoid being overcome by certain temptations we might well have to throw overboard certain things in our life. Get certain things out of your life and your life out of certain things.

First consider a special capacity and then a concept,

A. Know your limits. Do you think a submarine can go as deep as it wants to? No! There is a limit to its capacity. Do you think a plane can fly as high as it desires? No! Likewise there is also a limit to our capacity to resist temptation.

Even subs that have crashed through the ice at the North Pole have a maximum depth. A submarine named the Thresher exceeded that depth some years ago and was crushed. When the pressure outside became too great it crushed the sub.

There are explorer subs designed to take only one person deeper. They have inches of protective metal and thick glass for protection. At crushing depths, they find many odd little fish swimming around freely. Are these fish shaped like a sub, and do they have thick protective shells? No! How can they survive under pressure. They have a secret. They have an equal and opposite pressure inside themselves. They have internal strength.

We like they can withstand the pressure of life only by having the internal strength of Christ. Romans 12:2, “Don’t be squeezed into the mold of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Let Christ renew your mind regarding the temptation that does so easily catch you off guard. Renew your mind regarding your concept of love and sex.

B. Talk openly and often with a mature Christian friend. You don’t have to talk about every evil thought, but do speak openly about areas needing to be strengthened.

C. Spend time each day alone with the Lord. Let the first part of the time be reading the Bible in order to minister to yourself. Read and make self- application. As you read keep asking yourself, “What application has this to me?”

Let the last part of your time with the Lord be prayer time.

D. Ask the Lord to keep you on a short leash. Pray for a tender conscience. If you start to rationalize in your thoughts ask the Lord to stop you.

E. Christ taught us in the Model Prayer to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” From this we learn we should pray daily, “Lord, keep me from the assaults of Satan. Keep me from being blind sided.