Proverbs 7:19 is potentially one of the most danger-filled sentences in the Bible. It reads: ‘My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey’ (NIV). The rest of Proverbs 7 sets out the story of a young man being lured in by a woman whose husband is working away. It applies to so much more than adultery. It’s a picture of every time we do something that we know isn’t the best choice, just because we had the opportunity to. It’s also about the times that we don’t do something we should, because no one will know. It echoes every time we allow ourselves to be lured into talking negatively about someone, because we’re pulled in by the ‘persuasive words’ of those around us (see Proverbs 7:21 NIV). It mirrors when we get distracted by the ‘coloured linens’ of social media, when we’d planned on reading the Bible (see Proverbs 7:16 NIV). The ‘adulterous woman’ (vv.5 NIV) embodies every temptation and distraction that we face each day. At the end of Proverbs 7, Solomon pleads with us to ‘listen…pay attention... Don’t let your hearts stray away towards her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death’ (vv. 24-27 NLT). We all know from experience that when our ‘hearts stray’ and we ‘wander’, it’s almost always unintentional. We get drawn in. This means that the only way to avoid it is to be intentional first. Pray for your eyes to be more open to temptations, to recognise distractions, and actively move away from them. Close the app, walk away from the conversation, say goodbye to whatever your ‘adulterous woman’ happens to be.
Do just that. Start by praying for God to keep you on guard, then take action when you see temptation.
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