Plan for Purity

Solomon warned his son to avoid the wiles of a temptress and gave him four practical instructions to help him. The first two—“Stay away from evil people” and “Guard against the smooth tongue that invites you in”—focus on the external component of temptation. That is, these instructions tell us to place distance between us and the potential lure and fulfillment of sin. This wise father also recognized, however, that part of the problem of temptation lies deep within. Cupcakes appear more attractive to people who are hungry. Therefore, these next two instructions tell us how to survive temptation by looking within and assessing our appetites.

3. Refuse to entertain secret desires for the opposite sex.

Beauty and charm are hard to ignore. Television, movies, advertisements, and virtually every corner of cyberspace train our minds to factor physical beauty into every decision. Attractive people convince us to buy certain products. The political candidate with the more pleasing physical appearance enjoys an advantage at the polls. Impossibly beautiful, air-brushed women stare alluringly from magazine covers, telling us what food we should eat or not eat. Even the newscasters are beautiful! So, why would we expect this preoccupation with physical beauty to stop suddenly and automatically when we interact with regular people at work, home, school, or the marketplace?

Unfortunately, this mental self-control is a matter of discipline. It is neither easy nor automatic. We must consciously retrain our minds to remove physical beauty from our thought processes. We must train ourselves to look beyond it. We must make a conscious, habitual choice to set aside any consideration of beauty and to engage everyone like a brother or sister. We must consciously capture all our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) and then evaluate them according to Philippians 4:8 (“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things”).

4. Don’t let those alluring eyes captivate you.

Everyone wants to feel desired. In fact, this basic need to be wanted has fueled illicit sex since humanity had rules of monogamy to break. Solomon warned that a “smooth tongue” is only one form of flattery tempters use to captivate their unwary prey. A seductive woman also knows how to signal sensual desire with her eyes. In fact, flattery can come in many forms. So beware the charming man who is not your husband or the attentive woman who is not your wife. In almost any context, flattery is merely a prelude to everything you should avoid!/p>

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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