This summer I’ve had the priviledge of helping out at the youth group for my church. We’ve been teaching through the book of Proverbs, dealing with subjects that the writers emphasized. We’ve taught through the subjects of laziness, friendship, and materialism/personal wealth so far, and I’m in the middle of a section on sexual immorality. I have greatly enjoyed my time in Proverbs so far and have rediscovered much of the wealth that it contains. I really recommend reading all the way through Proverbs and compiling a list of verses that deal with issues you struggle with. It is highly enlightening to see how the book as a whole deals with all of these various issues.
One reason I have enjoyed the present study so much is that I see so many instances where we (not just teens, but especially teens) seek to find entertainment in some form of sexual immorality. Like every other sin, we look around at extreme examples of sexual immorality, declare that we don’t have that problem, and go on with life. “Well, I’m not sleeping around” so we relax our standards and allow too much opportunity for temptation.
I don’t need to convince anyone of the sexualized society that we live in. Sexuality is pressed into almost everything our culture does, and what should be abhorred is often pursued in the name of entertainment. This is especially true for the world of the teenager. Whether it is television shows, movies, music, clothing, or just the conversation of friends and acquaintences, immoral sexuality is hard to avoid. So how does a teenager survive in this world?
One way is to be reclusive. Don’t allow a teenager to be in the world, so as to preserve them from the world. Unfortunately, not only does this not work, it sets a horrible precedent for how to deal with temptation in the future. Teenagers who are hidden and sheltered from the world never learn how to discern between good and evil or how to stand in the midst of temptation. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying that you put yourself into situations where you will be constantly tempted to act in a way that would grieve your Savior. There are obviously situations where it would not only be unwise to put ourselves into, but sinfully ignorant.)
One of the most interesting things that I have seen in my study is that before Solomon speaks of sexual immorality, he speaks to the topic that we are to treasure the Word of God. In chapter 2, before he mentions avoiding the adulteress in verse 16, he uses the first 15 verses to proclaim the wonders of the Word of God and to plead with his son to love instruction. In chapter 6, Solomon instruct his son to keep the commandments, bind them, tie them, and embrace them before he mentions the adulteress. Then in chapter 7, where i planted my study, he spends the first 5 verses throwing out a list of commands for how he desires his son to deal with the Word.
- keep them and live
- keep them as the apple of your eye
- bind them on your fingers
- write them on your heart
- say to wisdom, “you are my sister”
- declare insight to be your intimate friend
And what is the purpose of this? verse 5 says that they will keep you from the forbidden woman and the adulteress with her smooth words. The promise given in chapter 6 is “When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.”
The promise given in 2:11-12 is that “discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from teh way of evil, from men of perverted speech.”
I don’t think it is a coincidence that Solomon links the Word of God with sexual immorality in such a way. It is unavoidable that the way to protect yourself from sexual immorality is through the study and love of the Word of God. I would encourage you to read through those passages and see the language that Solomon uses. See the rich imagery of how we are to treasure wisdom and instruction.
It is when we commit ourselves to wisdom and instruction that we have the strength to stand under temptation, to abhor sexual immorality, to seek further instruction and wisdom and to yearn for holiness.