Lasting Consequences

Solomon concluded this discussion of sexual temptation by considering additional consequences. He noted that when a man steals in order to keep from starving, most people empathize with his situation. Even so, empathy doesn’t remove the demand for justice. His community may feel sorry for his desperate choice, but they will neither excuse his sin nor set aside the victim’s right to receive complete restitution multiplied by seven!

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Plan for Purity

Solomon warned his son to avoid the wiles of a temptress and gave him four practical instructions to help him. The first two—“Stay away from evil people” and “Guard against the smooth tongue that invites you in”—focus on the external component of temptation. That is, these instructions tell us to place distance between us and the potential lure and fulfillment of sin.

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Flee Temptation

While virtually every outlet in popular media bombards us with sexually oriented material—a phenomenon that previous generations didn’t experience—we also face another danger: the opportunities to commit adultery have never been more prevalent. Furthermore, we live in a society that is more accommodating than ever. In addition to the normal temptations that occur in everyday life, we can go online to a dating service for married people seeking affairs!

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The Bitter Price of Secret Sin

David’s celebration of God’s forgiveness takes a dark turn as he recalls his anguished past. He remembers—perhaps accompanied by a gloomy minor key—the days of misery he spent in the isolation of secret sin. Reflection on Past Sins: When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away. Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

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For Righteous Living

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

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Greatness

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to most of us that we act out precisely what we take in. In other words, we become what we think. Long before that familiar line found its way into Psychology 101 and hyped-up sales meetings, the Bible included it in one of its ancient scrolls. It just said it in a little different way: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7).

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For Godliness in a Godless Culture

Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list.

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Open to Change

ALL OF US HAVE PRACTICED certain areas of wrong from our youth. It is a pattern of life that comes “second nature” to us. As a result, it strongly resists change. We gloss over our resistance with the varnish of excuses: “Well, nobody’s perfect.” “I’ll never be any different; that’s just the way I am.” “I was born this way—nothing can be done about it.” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Jeremiah tells us why such excuses come easily:

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The Poison of Impurity

WHEN GOD paid His visit to Sodom and Gomorrah, these twin cities controlled a lush, fertile valley through which ran the Jordan River.

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Never the Same

David was “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet, once he crawled into bed with Uriah’s wife on that moonlit spring night, never again did he know all the former joys of close family ties, public trust, or military invincibility.

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