TUESDAY, JULY 9
“For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding, Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night.”
Proverbs 7:6-9 ESV
AVOIDING MORAL FAILURE: AVOID THE DIRECTION NOT JUST THE DESTINATION
Years ago I (Larry) had a mentor tell me about a very beautiful woman who propositioned him after a church service. She told him if he ever wanted to meet her in a nearby town about an hour away she would be willing. My mentor responded by first apologizing if he had ever done anything to make her think he would be willing to meet her in another town. He then said he was going to pray that if he got to the place where he was willing to go to the nearby town with her that she wouldn’t be willing. He then told her he was going to pray for her marriage. Finally, he told her he was going home and telling his wife about this conversation. And the woman never approached him again.
The wise decisions my mentor made kept him from heading in the direction of some sinful choices. It may not have been a sin to go to a nearby town. It may not have been a sin to plan on having a cup of coffee alone with a married woman in a nearby town. However, he knew those would have been unwise choices that could have led to some sinful choices. Pastor Chris reminded us on Sunday that it’s not just the destination we should avoid but also the direction we are headed that matters in avoiding moral failure.
Proverbs 7:6-9 teaches that it is a simple and unwise person who goes anywhere near the path of temptation. The simple man goes “near” the corner of the adulterous woman’s house. Andy Stanley writes in the “Path Principle,” “We know that in driving, the direction you are going determines the destination that you arrive at.” With that in mind if we stay off the road headed toward temptation we will never arrive in a place of compromise.
Proverbs 7:9 also uses the imagery of twilight, evening and black of night. These are all pictures of secrets or hidden behaviors. Typically, if the behavior with someone else’s spouse must be hidden from plain view, it’s a warning that you may be headed in an inappropriate direction. This might be the texting, private messaging or secret meetings in a “nearby town.”
If we are going to avoid sin we must realize that it’s not just the actual sin that gets us into trouble. It’s getting on the road that leads to the sin that can be a problem. In your life, what are some of the immoral destinations you have decided you never want to visit? Are any of those destinations more tempting for you than others? Ask God to give you wisdom about subtle decisions that may not be sinful but could put you headed in the wrong direction.