Temptation & Sin (Proverbs 5:21-23)

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” (Prov. 5:21-23)

Proverbs 5 is a warning against adultery, and really against sexual immorality in general.

When the Word says that a man (or woman) will “die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly,” it reminds me of how crucial discipline is. With sexual sin, and really any temptation, we must plan ahead to avoid the situation in the first place if at all possible. And beyond that, we must plan ahead to know how to react if we happen to find ourselves in a tempting situation that instead, presents itself to us.

Wisdom is knowledge, while discipline is the application of such knowledge. If we have knowledge from God but we don’t put it into action by the power of the Spirit, then it’s not going to help us much.

If you know that you have a weakness for certain temptations (knowledge), then avoid putting yourself in the midst of those temptations (action). If you know that you’d likely fall into sin if a certain temptation finds you (knowledge), then have a pre-meditated plan of how to run from that temptation (action).

Look at these verses on temptation [EMPHASIS MINE]:

  • “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the WAY OF ESCAPE, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
  • “FLEE from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18)
  • “WATCH and PRAY that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mat. 26:41)

Notice that all of these verses on how to handle temptation have preemptive actions associated to them. We must escape from temptation, flee from sexual immorality, and consciously look out and pray that we would not fall, as our flesh is weak.

Storing God’s Word in our hearts, actively engaging in prayer throughout the day, walking in fellowship and accountability with Christian brothers (and for women, sisters), and having an action plan in the face of temptation, are all practical methods that will provide discipline to our wisdom.

Let’s be careful to do all these things, that we may not be led astray by our own great folly! Amen!

Note: If you’re looking for a good supplemental book on godly discipline, check out “Disciplines of a Godly Man” or “Disciplines of a Godly Woman” by Kent and Barbara Hughes.

[From December 5, 2018]

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