One of the main problems with temptation is how it is fueled by lust.
Lust is that deep desire that is never fulfilled, no matter how much effort and energy is given to do so. Temptation is the age-old lie that what is forbidden is both desirable and somehow acceptable.
Unchecked, these two things—lust and temptation—hold incredibly destructive power. So, what can a person do to keep from being trapped by them?
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. [vss 1-3]
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words. [vss 4-5]
(Proverbs 7:1-5 ESV) [Context– Proverbs Chap 7]
call insight your intimate friend
- What are the exhortations given in the first four (4) verses? What is their general focus?
- There are eight (8) ways this focus is reinforced—do you see what they are? [hint– there are 2 in each verse]
- How do these exhortations involve the mouth, mind, eyes, hands, and heart?
- How is insight valuable and an "intimate friend," and what is this contrasted with? How is the idea of intimacy used as an illustration (by way of contrast) and a practical guideline?
Make it personal...
What is the source of wisdom and insight for your life? How can this insight become intimate to you?
What are practical ways the truth of God, and God's wisdom and insight, can be reinforced in your life?
How has God's truth, wisdom, and insight helped you avoid and resist temptation and defeat lust?
There is no substitute for discipline, no silver bullet or 10-step plan to deal with the problems of temptation and lust. Yet, discipline itself isn't an answer. A person can develop a rigorous lifestyle of disciplines and seek an austere life, and still be overcome by temptation and lust. Why? Because, to be effective, discipline needs to be internalized, and there's no shortcut or one-time fix that will do that.
The first six exhortations (in vss 1-3) are more typical of what is considered discipline, but it doesn't go far enough. Discipline must be internalized. This is the idea of making wisdom a "sister" and insight an "intimate friend." How can we internalize discipline? It requires the surrender of our will to God, just as we see Jesus do in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46).
This is where the real point of resistance comes. Yet, here's the reality—if you're unwilling to surrender your self-will to God, you can be sure you'll eventually surrender it to temptation and lust. This is always our choice and challenge. So... make wisdom and insight your sister and intimate friend, then the choice will be clearer and, hopefully, easier.