My son, pay attention to my words. Treasure my commands that are within you.
Obey my commands so that you may live.
Follow my teachings just as you protect the pupil of your eye.
Tie them on your fingers. Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister.” Give the name “my relative” to understanding
in order to guard yourself from an adulterous woman,
from a loose woman with her smooth talk. (Proverbs 7:1-5 GW)
(Context—Proverbs 7:1-27 GW)
Siblings have a unique relationship. It's more than the relationship of best friends—although I know siblings who are truly best friends. I've seen this with my mom and her sister and my own daughters. This can also be true of brothers and some brother-sister relationships.
The relationship of siblings is unique because they share similar DNA. This can be a good and bad thing and leads to what I call the love-hate element of sibling relationships. They can be each other's protectors or advocates then arch-enemies within minutes of each role.
I've seen this over and over again in my own family and with other siblings. It's no coincidence that Solomon says to call wisdom a sister—a close member of the immediate family. It characterizes the somewhat love-hate relationship we all have with doing the right thing at the right time.
Once again, this chapter is an admonition spoken by a father to a son. The father tells the son to stay attentive and focused on wisdom as if his life depended on it—because it does.
The father then tells an allegorical story of a young man who didn't keep wisdom in focus and falls prey to the smooth seductiveness of an unfaithful woman. The illustration pits loyalty to wisdom in contrast to the temptation that leads to unfaithfulness, which leads to destruction.
Seduction is a process. It's not a simple choice but involves a series of opportunities where a wise choice could be made. When wise choices are not made the pull into doing something unwise grows with intensity. Eventually, an inescapable trap is set.
Immorality is a stereotypical example of temptation. But temptation can come in many areas of our lives and in many ways. We can be tempted to do something that jeopardizes our health, allows us to get away with something, or to seek influence or power for selfish reasons.
Temptations focus on anything that is a weak point or shortcoming in us. It's similar to the physical effect of stress. Stress can bring on migraines, backaches, an upset stomach, or fatigue. Once those set in, we lose the battle with stress.
God's Spirit can tap into any reserve of God's wisdom in us to awaken us to subtle dangers and all forms of temptation. Understanding spiritual truth gives us the ability to see beyond the immediate to the end result of what tempts us.
The discipline of keeping wisdom close to you like a sister can help you win the daily battles you face in life and prevent you from falling headlong into various temptations.
It's easier to resist the subtle pull of temptation in the beginning than later when it gets stronger. Better yet, to avoid a common temptation altogether is the wisest of all choices.
Ask God to show you how He has already kept you from falling into temptation. Also, dailyask His help to be aware of and avoid whatever temptations may cross your path.
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