Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 5:5 The Mirage of Adultery

Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.”

–      Proverbs 5:5

WARNING:  If you are a man reading this, please put your cup on.  You may need it.

 

King Solomon is a very interesting guy.  As we said before, he was the son of King David and when God gave him the chance to ask for anything he chose wisdom.  God was pleased and granted him his request.

However, just because you have wisdom doesn’t mean you are always wise.

Despite Solomon’s vast wealth and power he never seemed to be able to fill his appetite for woman and sensuality.  The evidence of this is found in the fact that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines during his lifetime.  This is an entourage that even Hugh Hefner would blush at and TLC couldn’t even begin to do a television show about.

Yet, as we read through Solomon’s writings we hear much more caution and pain as a result of his experiences with woman than happiness.  So why would a wise man that had everything be so enslaved to the pursuit of woman?

The answer is simple:  He was a sinful man just like the rest of us.

In most of his writings, Solomon will personify wisdom as a woman, but don’t confuse the pursuit of these women in Proverbs 5 as wise.  Nearly the entire chapter speaks to married men warning them of the effects of straying from your wife by pursuing the fleeting attention of an adulterous woman.

He holds no punches in verse 5 when saying that following the path of adultery will “lead to the grave”.  In other words, things will die as a result of your decision.

I have talked to enough men that have followed the destructive path of infidelity to know Solomon is spot on.  Adultery is lethal to more areas of your life than just your marriage.  It will euthanize trust, respect, your finances, the spiritual blessing from God, and on and on I could go.  These will be replaced with guilt, shame, anguish, anger, bitterness, denial, and any other manifestations of sin Satan can cook up.

However, this is where most guys will play the “exception to the rule” card.  Even though Solomon, who the Dos Equis Man tips his hat to for quantity of romantic relationships, tells us that cheating on your wife is not worth it…we think it will be different for us.

We will be the exception to the rule.

“You don’t know my wife!, “I’m a man with needs!”, and “My wife has let herself go so much I don’t even find her attractive!” will echo through the walls of our humanity as justification for seeking the affections of another woman.  The culture cheers for us on and will gain us support from other low integrity, “exception” seeking men like us.

All the while Satan sits on the shores of life waiting for you or I to take the bait.  And if we do, he’ll reel us in and drop us into the same bucket with the rest of the idiot men he’s caught.  We will flop around waiting to die as we realize we weren’t the “exception” we thought we were.

But also on the shoreline is God.  Solomon tells us that “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.“ Proverbs 5:21.  While Satan casts a hook for us to grab, God extends a hand for us to cling to.  It’s a Hand of grace that pulls us out of the sea of lies and onto the bedrock of Truth.  It’s even the hand that will snatch us from the bucket Satan threw us in, but the effects of our decision will still be ours.  God’s grace is always there to love and forgive us, but we should never use it as the emergency parachute to excuse what we do.

But as we catch our breath from our near death experience, God will echo the words of Solomon in our ears.

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

- Proverbs 5:18

Don’t let yourself be blindly led by the good looks and smooth words of another woman.  You will only find adultery to be a mirage that will kill your marriage.  Sprint into the arms of your wife who God has blessed you with and find safety and peace on the bedrock of God.

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I’m Just Trying To Hold It Together

How many of these statements have you said in the past 6 months?

  • “I’ve got to be strong for them.”
  • “If I don’t keep it together it’ll all fall apart.”
  • “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”

Some of you (me included) are smiling because you’ve said one or all of those in the last 12 hours let alone 6 months!  These statements are really overarching feelings that scream “I’M JUST TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER!!!!”  In a world of chaos, stress, hustle, bustle, and muscle there are moments when things seem to be coming loose at the edges.  In those moments our faith receives heavy testing and we are faced with how to deal with the idea of control.

As a firstborn, Type A+, extreme “planner” who is married to a firstborn, Type A+, extreme “planner”, I know a thing or two about control.   My wife and I love lists, spreadsheets, dry erase boards, label makers, organization apps, and anything else nerdy short of a pocket protector.  We feel planning for things ahead of time reduces stress in the moment so we try to be ahead of the game.  Whether it’s financially or just packing for a trip to Iowa we try to pre-think about all that needs to be done.

That works great with suitcases and buying couches, but it always seems to fail when it comes to real life stuff.  Stuff like babies in NICUs, illness, family situations, or job stresses.  Pharmacies would sell far less antidepressants and antianxiety medication if we were able to predict those events as accurately as the inflation costs of new windows in your home.  Sorry to break it to you gang, but “that aint how it works.”

Whether we can see the events coming or not, we still deal with them and most of us will choose 1 of 3 responses:

  1. I’ll just ignore it.  If I pretend it’s not there, it’ll just go away.
  2. I’m going to tackle this thing myself.  I’ll put my head down and deal with it.
  3. I’m not strong enough to deal with this so I’m checking out and giving up.

To be sure, all of these responses will produces results.  Not always the best results, but results nonetheless.  What saddens me (especially when I do it too) is when Christians fall into these same lines of response.

I say saddens because as Christians we profess to believe in a pretty amazing, awesome, and powerful God, but often we “reduce Him to the size of our biggest problem”, as Mark Batterson would say.  We think the God that created everything from the atom to the heavens can’t possibly save my marriage or help me with my difficult child.

So instead we choose to tackle our challenges by our own efforts and then wonder why we are exhausted, crying, burnt out, and miserable all the time.  The reason this happens is because we are going against what God designed.  We are forgetting Who holds this whole thing together and news flash… it isn’t you or I.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-17 (emphasis mine)

Thank goodness Paul is there to remind us that in the midst of the storm of life God is still there holding things together.  He doesn’t take breaks, go on holiday, or get distracted.  He is laser focused on His creation and is active and working with in it.  So we should be quick to remember that if we are going to lean into anything in our time of struggle, need, joy, or contentment it should be into the strength of God.

So stop trying to be the superhero of your life when God hasn’t asked you to do that.  The bottom line truth is that if you are trying to hold your life together by anything other than God you simply have the wrong glue.

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 4:4 – Daddy May Be Right

“When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.”Proverbs 4:3-4

All of us growing up think our parents have no idea what they are talking about.

Now just stop it.

Don’t pretend like you were such an angel that you never once gave an eye roll or sigh or talked backed to you parents because we all did it.   I know that my parents read these posts so I am well aware that they are sitting back recounting many times when my brothers and I thought we knew what was best and found out later we did not have a clue.

This still happens even now that most of us are out of the house and a have family of our own.  Accepting the fact that we may not know everything can be very hard to swallow.

In fact, all of us have little lawyers inside of our head’s that debate 1 of 3 ways when it comes to accepting or rejecting truth knowledge.

 

Lawyer #1

Its probably true, but I can’t stand the person telling me so I’m going to disagree just because I don’t like them.

Lawyer #2

It might be true, but if I agree with them I will look like I’m an idiot, so I’ll disagree so I don’t look stupid.

Lawyer #3

It is totally true, and I’d be dumb not to agree.

 

The first two internal lawyers always make their closing arguments using the same point of leverage.

Pride.

They count on this pride that cripples our lives in so many ways to convince us that we should not listen to the truth.  When we give into pride we remain ignorant and our spiritual growth is stunted.

But for those of us that choose to listen to the third lawyer, we begin to grow.  We wake up portions of our heart that have been atrophied from neglect.  Life is breathed into our souls and our world gains a Technicolor pallet of colors we never thought existed.

This doesn’t always mean that wisdom will lead to an easier life.  It doesn’t mean that everyone around you will follow the same logic, but don’t let that hold you back.

Choosing wisdom means you stopped listening to dumb voices.  You are refusing to let pride get in the way of your growth.  You are making the decision to not live your life through the jaded views of others.

Decide today to filter the voices you hear not with the lawyers in your head but with the Truth of Jesus in your soul.  Refuse to go through life following the weak-minded advice of the sea of people around you.  That’s the easy road.

Instead, listen for the voice of Jesus calling you to something wiser even if it means admitting that your parents were right all along.

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A Marital Challenge: 5 Tiny Things That Can Make A Huge Difference

So I decided to scratch the topic I had in mind for today’s blog and focus in on a quick marital challenge instead.  I say quick because let’s face it, most of us don’t have 6 hours a day where we can look longingly into each other’s eyes and talk about our future dreams or write poetry about the other person as they cut wild flowers in the backyard.

Sorry…kinda got a little sick just writing that one.

However, all of us have small bits of time or even just small bits of awareness each day that we can and should dedicate to our spouse.  It’s these moments that I want to provide our quick challenge to today.

The Message translation of Ephesians 5 frames our time together well.

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. – Ephesians 5:22 (MSG)

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. – Ephesians 5:25 (MSG)

 

SINGLE PERSON READER PAUSE:  If you are single and reading this, don’t stop.  Just because you’re not married now doesn’t mean you won’t ever be.  In fact, there is about a 90% chance everyone will get married at some point so hang in there.  Start making yourself aware early so you avoid later stress.

 

Ok, so Paul outlines these respect and love dynamics throughout his writings, but especially here in Ephesians.  These are God driven realities of who we are as men and women and when they are nurtured the change in our relationships is visible.

However, when relationships go sour it is more times than not that neglect of love or respect contribute to the cause of the issues.

Avoiding these pitfalls early through a disciplined awareness of creating loving and respecting habits is crucial to less time driving around in the car to “cool off” and will greatly reduce your monthly budget of Ibuprofen because your headaches may be fewer.

So here are 5 Tiny Things That Can Make A Huge Difference for both the husbands and the wives out there.

Oh, and DON’T LAUGH at some of them.  They may seem simple, but let’s be honest; we make things complex on our own.  We don’t need to start complex because believe me we will find a way to get there on our own. :)

 

5 Things Husbands can do TODAY to show love:

  1. Open the door for her. (car, store, you name it, just pick one)
  2. Put toothpaste on her toothbrush at night. (I said don’t laugh)
  3. Text your wife that you love her (Copy and Paste this if you need help… I Love You)
  4. Ask your wife what 3 things you can do for her next week that would help her out.  (and then DO them!)
  5. Hold her hand when you are out in public (…with no “strings” attached either)

 

5 Things Wives can do TODAY to show respect:

  1. Tell him you appreciate what he does and that he is good at it.
  2. Give him 15 minutes of down time when he comes home from work (stop rolling your eyes)
  3. Ask him to pray for the meal (if you want your husbands to lead in the home we have to give them opportunities to do it)
  4. Text him an encouraging message when you know his day may be rough.
  5. Just hang out on the couch with him and watch what he’s watching.  (Key: keep the q’s few :)  )

 

See that wasn’t so bad!  I’m willing to bet that if you try these little things you will see a change in your relationships.  I also know you also will see a change in you.

When we start to take the focus off of what I need and onto what others need we begin to live life more selflessly and humbly.  We begin to live life and have marriages that are more God honoring and that is what we all want deep down.

Ok…what are you waiting for?  Go get some toothpaste!

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Getting The Last Word

For as long as I can remember, my brothers and I have this on going battle with who will get the last word in.  Whether it’s one more sarcastic comment to slide in or one quick punch to the kidneys with a zinger about your hair someone always has to have the last word.

The best at this is my middle brother Brad.  See, Brad sits in the background of most conversations and will takes some ribbing from my little brother and I and never really says much.  Until he sees his moment and then he pounces for the ultimate shutter-upper like a Puma on the hunt.  He’ll say something like, “Well at least I didn’t throw up on my school desk in class when I was 12!”

Then the living room would blow up as my brother high-fives everyone and points a finger in our face.  Totally getting the last word….AGAIN.  Darn you Bradley-O!!!

Sometimes we mistakenly think of Jesus as the punching bag Savior that just took jab after jab from everyone without fighting back.  Not that we were looking for Him to sin or “open up a can” on someone, but just a little defense of Himself from time to time would seem fitting.  However, it seems hard to find that anywhere in Scripture.

Peter even tells us in 1 Peter 2:22-23 that at the height of His suffering Jesus remained silent.

 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

See, we read Passages like that and think “Man, how could He have done that?”  I mean they beat Him and mocked Him and killed Him yet all the while He said nothing?  We should be careful though.  Although He didn’t respond in the way you or I would have with sin, vengeance, and anger…He did respond.

In fact, some of Jesus’ final moments were filled with responses.

“When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” – Luke 23:33-34

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”– John 19:26-27a

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” – John 19:28

In his final moments, in His final breaths of life, Jesus chooses Mercy not mayhem.  He chooses Grace not anger.  He chooses to Forgive not to fight.  He chooses to Love on not to Lash out.  He chooses humanity over Divinity.

But to me the greatest of His responses from the tortures of the cross was His last.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19:30

This encourages me so much because it is the greatest reminder to us all that…

Jesus always gets the last word.

Jesus gave up His spirit.  It was on His terms not the mockers or murders.  He determined when it was time for suffering to end.

His silence in the storm of spitting, mocking, and murdering was not weak defeat it was patient victory.

A patience that loved us so much it endured it all until what needed to be done was done.  Until it was finished….on His time…on His terms…for our Souls.

So as you finish reading this blog and consider what this means for you, please remember that the battle for our Souls is over.  Jesus has won, Jesus has conquered, and Jesus has finished what needed to be done to reconcile us back to God.

Live your lives differently knowing that Jesus always has the last word. 

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