“The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” Prov. 9:13-18
Every day we are bombarded with messages and enticements. Everything around us seems to be competing for our attention. It is almost unfair that some of the best things in life receive such little “airtime” and some of the worst things in life seem to gobble up the most.
“Folly”, the “forbidden woman” that Solomon has been speaking of (in essence the lustful and adulterous indulgences of mankind), can seem to be one of the greediest competitors for our attention. Sex and temptation are all around us–in full force at all times. Las Vegas is one of the most extreme examples of this on a large scale. Everything in Las Vegas screams at you to indulge your lustful passion. But, it is not isolated to Las Vegas. The voice of lustful temptation is everywhere and it is loud! Solomon describes this voice as “sitting at the door of her house” and as “taking a seat on the highest place of the town, calling to those who pass by”. Sex has been given the top seat in advertising. She is the queen! But, she has been designed for the stupid. She “knows nothing”. She is for the simple. That’s who she is calling to.
To the stupid and simple, lustful temptation perpetuates the lie that “stolen water is sweet”. The truth Solomon declares is that it is not sweet at all, but bitter as wormwood. To the simple and stupid, lustful temptation tries to convince us that “bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But, the truth Solomon points out is that it will not remain a secret, first of all. Also, it is not pleasant, but immensely destructive and disgraceful and its terrible effects are long-lasting and tend to lead straight to death in the end.
But, we don’t have to be simple and stupid. We don’t have to listen to these empty lies. We can be educated and wise. We can fortify our minds with truth. Over the course of these six posts on the wisdom of Solomon regarding lust and adultery, we have been offered six very practical insights and strategies to combat the very loud message we are bombed with constantly.
1) Stay far away from the things or people you are tempted by and don’t go anywhere near them. If you can’t avoid this physically, do so mentally.
2) Draw near to your spouse and place all your affections upon him/her instead of upon the source of your temptation.
3) Count the true cost of committing sin. We often minimize what we think the consequences will be. The truth is that they will always be much greater than we anticipated. Focus on the long-term, long-lasting benefits of avoiding sin vs. the short-term, supposed benefits of lustful indulgences that do not provide lasting relief.
4) When tempted, you cannot explore the edges of your temptation. This will always lead to the birth of sin. You must turn in the opposite direction and run as far from it as possible.
5) Realize that lustful temptation and sin is common among men and women. It is not special or unique. It is not honorable or valuable. Seek to find the kind of relationship that is truly unique and special which God has designed for us to find lasting fulfillment in.
6) Don’t be simple and stupid—listening to the common and loud lies of sex, adultery and lust. Don’t be misled just because of the abundance of it all around. Instead, have a mind that is properly educated and truly wise on the matter. Use these six insights and strategies to rise above the common crowd and live like the relatively few who find that there is a better way that leads to life!
I’ve been really blessed by the wisdom of Solomon and I hope you have been as well. May this insight and practical advice serve to fortify you against the strong impulses, desires, and temptations that may be lurking in your own heart. We are truly our own worst enemy. We can’t really blame advertising, society, or others (although they are often not helpful). In the end, we are each responsible for the choices WE make. So, may we not despise the education Solomon has tried to give. He drank the cup of lust to its depth and found it to be poison. He shares with us his insight from experience. May we incline our ears to the voice of our instructor and learn from him rather than being stubborn and having to learn for ourselves. May we save ourselves that long-lasting pain!
I might suggest you copy these six strategies and have them within reach because temptation is sure to come. And,when it does, it’s vital that we have some tools to help us to cope in a healthy and victorious way…