“She does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” (Prov. 5:6)
A shifty, flirty, slippery slope, that’s crooked. It gives no thought to life; it entices you away. The sweet honey has become bitter gall. The darkest of colours. This is so true.
When you become embroiled in such sins you don’t consider how it will affect your life in the long run. You think it’s better than what you have now—perhaps you are discontent being single and your body clock is ticking; or perhaps your marriage isn’t what you had hoped it would be, so you deserve a little happiness. It’s just a wee thing and nothing or no one is going to get in your way. But before you know it, you’ve become emotionally embroiled with someone and now the thrill takes and you think you can simply deal with the consequences later.
For those of us who are married, let me give you a warning: There are days when you are just cheesed off with your husband whether you’ve been married six weeks, six years, or 30 years. No one is perfect—not you, not him. Be on your guard, don’t look over your shoulder and think someone else’s husband wouldn’t do this or that, or omit to do this or that or speak like this or that. If you’ve got these thoughts, address them straight away. How? With prayer and God’s Word. Flee the temptation to compare. Don’t cross the boundary line—you will get caught.
Let’s look now at verses 7–14. The price that is paid for infidelity and immortality.
A High Price
Hear me on this: you will pay a high price for throwing away your best to another.
Here he is again in verse seven asking us to give careful attention to what he has to say. So, if you’ve switched off or lost concentration, come back! Listen up. And do not wander away.
And in verse eight he makes it very simple: keep far from it, don’t go near the door.
Practically, what does that mean for you if you are struggling with pornography, lust, masturbation, or adultery? That can mean you need to switch off that TV or computer, or even ditch it completely, or that music you are you listening to that arouses you. You need to stop texting that guy who’s not a Christian, you need to remove his number from your phone. It may mean you have to change your friends, or you have to take a different route when you’re walking or driving home, or even change your job.
And then there’s all that social media. You may have to do away with Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever else there is. In a way, it has never been easier to get caught in the trap of immorality, impurity and adultery—we’ve all got our phones attached to us practically 24/7.
And you need to find someone to whom you can be accountable. Because as I’ve said already, lying and deceit will ruin you. Because if you don’t take this seriously, do you know what’s going to happen? It’s cruel. Look at verses 8–14.
”Keep to a path far from her,(Prov. 5:8–14)
do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity to one who is cruel,
lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”
It takes away your best years or best strength; it will ruin you and others; it squanders your honour, you will get caught in a whole network of deceit. It destroys, and the shame will never be wiped away.
It will cost you financially (see verse 10). Money you’ll spend on yourself unnecessarily to try and impress, gifts to please your new lover, prostitute fees, hotel rooms, and sadly, it could result in divorce lawyer fees, maintenance and other costs for two sets of children.
And in v11 it even speaks about your health—sexually transmitted diseases. Who says the Bible is out of date!
And then in verse 12 you don’t want to listen to anyone’s advice or counsel. You don’t want to listen to your one to one, your mentor, your pastor, your elders, your family, your friends, you won’t take rebuke well. Remember that verse, it’s in Proverbs 27:6—faithful are the wounds of a friend. But you don’t want to listen even to your best friends because you don’t want to hear the truth – and you then pass the blame. Isn’t it crazy how we can find other things or people to blame for our sin?
Verse 14 speaks about the gathered assembly or congregation where you have come to utter ruin, disgrace and shame. Shame on yourself, your family and your church. Wounds can be healed but scars never go away.
And you’ve ended up here. Why? Through your own choice. Deepak Reju in his book on Purity says: “You’ve chosen off your own back these sins and you’ve made that choice so often it now enslaves you. You’ve lost control in these areas.”
In a way I wish we could go to the next section in this chapter because it’s hard to end on such a difficult note. But thankfully it’s not the end. You can read on yourself about the delights of a faithful marriage over against the pathetic alternative. Alistair Begg has a great book called Lasting Love which I would recommend.
There is no need to remain entangled in this mess of impurity and immorality.
So how do you sort this mess out? Get back to God. If you are feeling the terrible weight of guilt crushing you, for the hash you’ve made of your life, your previous relationships, the way you have treated your body or the way someone else has treated your body. Listen—even adultery, pornography, masturbation aren’t unforgiveable sins—God’s kindness leads us to repentance. And remember, what is your chief end? To glorify God and enjoy him. Grow in love with Him again. And remember that Jesus is gentle and lowly—come to him if you are burdened by sin. The only basis of your appeal is His mercy and unfailing love, which is found in Jesus Christ.
He told a parable of the prodigal son returning home. What did he come back to? Crackers and water, a few sets of clothing from the charity shop, shoes from shoezone, a cheap ring from Primark and a room in the dark basement? No, because he turned around and repented, he came back to a feast and a precious robe and sandals and a ring! God is rich in mercy.
So, turn to God and repent and accept His forgiveness. Turn to those people you have sinned against and seek their forgiveness. And if you have been sinned against by someone, you need to consider your willingness to forgive too. Yes, you feel regret, and sad about all you have done and what has been done to you. Don’t let that be your identity. Yes there are wounds but don’t make them your focus, Jesus heals your hurts and diseases. Make the healing by Christ your focus and boast.
As far as east is from the west,(Psalm 103:12)
So far his love has borne away
Our many sins and trespasses
And all the guilt that on us lay.
How far is east from west? Can you measure it? No, and that’s the point. That’s how far His love has dealt with our sins. It’s immeasurable.
You need to keep going back to Jesus. Keep repenting. Until the day you die. How many of us start things and never see them through? That’s fine if you’re doing a couch to 5k or a social media fast. It’s not fine if you’re following Jesus. You need to keep fighting the battles for purity to the very end. Leave what’s behind, press on to the goal. Keep your eyes (and your lips and speech for that matter) looking forward.
Danger of Isolation
I’ve one more verse from Proverbs 18:—whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire. Deliberately isolating yourself leaves you focussing on yourself and your own desires, including sexual desires. You become selfish, and selfishness separates you from fellowship. You need God’s wisdom from God’s people.
How can a young woman keep her heart pure? By scrolling through rubbish on social media? By watching stuff on Netflix that’s just a wee bit too close to the bone? By reading crappy novels that are called romantic but are actually full of filth? No, we need to “take captive every thought to make them obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and be attentive to God’s Word.
And never forget the most important person who is with you on the journey—Jesus. The gentle and lowly one who urges you to come to him with your burdens. So be on guard—your enemy prowls around all the time. Be self-controlled and alert. Don’t listen to his lies. He’s after your heart. Be on constant watch. Stand firm in Christ.