Sexually Pure in the 21st Century: Placing the Guardrails


Sexually Pure in the 21st Century: Placing the guardrails

Our world is saturated with sexual content. If you really want to avoid it, you may wanna move to the next planet. Is it possible for followers of Jesus Christ to remain sexually pure and honor the covenant of marriage?

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One would feel safe driving by a canyon or escarpment when there’s a guardrail on the cliff. Imagine driving down the Rift Valley and there were no guardrails. It's scary! Every believer is susceptible to sin. We take no chances. We have to set boundaries to protect our souls. Or as King Solomon would say, "guard our hearts because they are the wellspring of life." When there are no guardrails for our sexuality in an over-sexualized society, the paranoia sets in: 

"Purity is impossible."
"Who does it nowadays?"
"It's impractical."

Well, I can tell you it's practical from a personal stance. A remnant of Jesus' true followers are keeping the faith and so must you. It's very practical because what would you gain to attain a temporary pleasure at the expense of your soul? We are all up against lust.

The guardrails prevent you from compromising your stand. We will look at Proverbs 7 to demonstrate how lust gets us into captivity. We will study how the foolish young man commits adultery with another man’s wife and ends his own life in the process. We will derive lessons that if applied will work as effective guardrails. Let’s read through the chapter. (It's pretty short, don't get discouraged)

Proverbs 7 (NASB)
The Wiles of the Harlot
1 My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you.
2  Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.
3  Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4  Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend;
5 That they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.
6  For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice,
7  And I saw among the naive, and discerned among the youths, a young man lacking sense,
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the middle of the night and in the darkness.
10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11 She is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home;
12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner.
13 So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says to him:
14 I was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows.
15 “Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16 “I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt.
17 “I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19 “For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey;
20 He has taken a bag of money with him, at the full moon he will come home.”
21 With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him.
22 Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool,
23 Until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths.
26 For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.

The young man was compromised. 

Compromise

Guardrail 1: Compromise occurs because we are bankrupt of the knowledge of the word of God

Every believer’s first guardrail for protection is knowledge. When God told Hosea in Hosea 4:6 that his people were dying for lack of knowledge, he alluded to the fact that the knowledge was rejected. No believer has the excuse of not knowing what to do. You have a responsibility upon you to act upon the truth.

Read verse 1 and 2. My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.

The apple of your eye is your pupil. The human eye is designed to protect itself against the first sign of danger. It will involuntarily close to protect itself. A believer should keep God’s word at heart with such caution. Anything that threatens to make the believer act against the word should be shut out immediately just as the eye shuts immediately danger approaches it. How is this done? By having the word of God meditated on at all times. You must read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, think about it and most importantly live it. How can a young man or woman stay sexually pure? David asked the same question and he gave us the answer. It’s the first guardrail.

Psalm 119:9-10 “How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
 so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.” (MSG)

Think about it



Guardrail 2: Compromise occurs when the decision to do the right thing is not made way in advance.

V7 -8 And I saw among the naive, and discerned among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house.

The Bible describes the youth who is about to fall into sexual sin as naïve, young and lacking sense. That is no news. You’ve probably heard the older generation define us that way. Well, it’s because we act that way. Youth is wasted on the young, someone once said. Our naivety and senselessness is brought about by our ignorance of the word of God. That lack of knowledge leads us to act without thinking. Look at the young man in Proverbs 7. The Bible says he passes by the street corner of the women he lusts after. He takes the route to her house. This is senseless. If you want to overcome lust, avoid the path that leads to death. Let’s be practical.

If you’re dating, you should not meet for your dates in his room. You’re setting the stage for sin. You’re actually wrapping yourselves in a gift and delivering yourselves to the devil for his birthday. Meet in open places. Talk about this and write it down as an agreement. Write a list of places you shouldn’t meet. Turi and I did this while dating. It really helped. This way, we never got into trouble with our bodies when we met in a secluded place. Our minds knew in advance, “No meeting in Ernie’s hostel, no meeting in Turi’s house, no meeting in the field.” All those places were lust zones. If you don’t talk about them and agree what not to do, you will end up there easily and severally because there is no guardrail. If you’re single, write them for yourself. Once you’ve done this, you’ve placed an alarm system to warn you each time you’re about to take the corner to his house. Avoid it and you will stop saying falsehoods such as, “It just happened. I don’t even know how we ended up doing it.” The truth is that you knew. You went there and you compromised because there was no guardrail. The decision to do the right thing was not made way in advance.

Think about it


Guardrail 3: Compromise occurs when we flirt with temptation and underestimate evil

In the twilight, in the evening, in the middle of the night and in the darkness.
And behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.

Verse 9 and 10 of Proverbs 7 shows us how this young man teases sin. He walks by the house of the woman in the twilight. There’s still a bit of light. Then it’s evening. Then it’s the middle of the night then it’s very dark. It’s very late. Everyone’s asleep and he lingers by her house. The temptation was weakest at twilight but strongest at darkness. At twilight, the people may see him. In the darkness, his sin can thrive. Sin thrives in the darkness. 

I have heard it said, "I'm strong! I have self control." "I don't go there to drink. I go there to socialize."

Apart from the second guardrail, there are scenes catered to make the believer fall. One of those scenes is literal night. Why wake up to check your email at night when you know you struggle with porn? You know you’re flirting with pornography and be sure you won’t win. Why do you visit her in the evenings? Your lust is in control but we need to change that. 2 Corinthians 5:14 says that the love of Christ controls us. It's inevitable once Christ has full access of our lives. If you keep hoarding sections of your life for your own governance, you will discover that if God has a plan for your life, the devil sure does too.  You’ve underestimated evil. Your heart is proud to believe that you can stand. Turi and I avoided being alone in night events. We always took company. We served in the student government in our alma mater. We were invited for dinners, concerts and corporate events that took  place at night. We always had a friend tag along in the car. Why go to the concert alone? Why flirt with temptation. If you think you’re standing be careful, the Bible says (1 Corinthians 10:12) or you might just fall. Look at what causes you to hurt God’s heart because of your sexual sin. Is it because you flirt with temptation/ do you underestimate your opponent? Look at verse 10 of Proverbs 7. The woman is dressed like a harlot and is cunning of heart. The foolish young man is flirting with temptation. He is doomed to die. As a believer, make every opportunity for sin to occur impossible.

Think about it



Guardrail 4: Compromise charms through fantasy and flattery.

13 So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says to him:
14 I was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows.
15 “Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16 “I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt.
17 “I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with caresses.

In verses 13 to 18, the adulteress shows the young man the lust menu. He has a buffet of lust to destroy his spirit and send him straight to hell. He doesn’t see it. All he sees is the delectable things she is serving.

Note what the adulteress says in verse 14. She says to the man that she has offered her peace offerings and has paid her vows. It means she was at the temple today. She religiously carried out her duties. The lady here is a religious woman. She isn’t a local harlot. She is the lady you see in the choir. She is the woman who is active in the church. Yet in the dead of night, she entertains lust. Her religiosity probably blinds her. Like many young people bound in sin, she believes that if she serves in ministry and is religious then her sins are not so bad. Do you cover up your lust with your ministry? The substitute for sin is not good works. It’s the cross. It’s repentance. It’s turning from our evil ways and turning to Christ.

The woman allures this young man by flirting with him. She paints the perfect lust scene to draw him in. She strokes his ego by telling him that she came out just to meet him. (I’m sure she says that to all the men she sleeps with). She even tells him that it is love they will be making yet we all know too clearly that there is nothing loving about adultery. At this point, turning back is difficult. Once the allure is made, the choice rests upon the one tempted. Don’t come this far to see how strong your decision-making is. The decision should have been made way in advance through the 1st and 2nd guardrail.

Think about it?



Guardrail 5: Compromise ensnares through rationalization.

19 “For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey;
20 He has taken a bag of money with him, at the full moon he will come home.”
21 With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him.

The young man in Proverbs 7 must not have bought that mumbo jumbo about Egyptian linen and spices on the bed. Therefore, the woman acts like a man and uses logic. She tells him that her husband is not home. He’s travelled and won’t be back for long.  She persuades him and seals the deal with seduction. Compromise and lust reasons with the sinner. It makes you look at the situation. There’s no way you’ll be caught. The situation is safe and the lust is boiling. I wonder if these two knew that all along King Solomon was seeing all that was happening through the lattice of his window. He was observing them the entire time to the extent that he wrote a book about it and titled the scene Chapter 7. Has the situation looked safe before? Believe me it will always look safe until you get into it. I was once caught in a predicament with a prostitute. She made her way into my room during a school trip to Tanzania and refused to leave. She began to fuss about her husband and her lost shoes. One of my friends who was awake with me when he heard her come it went to look for her shoes. It was 3am and I was left alone with her. She began to seduce me and invite me to sleep with her. I was struggling to find out how she made it into the room. She had sneaked into the room and found the door unlocked. My pals had left it unlocked and were blacked out from heavy drinking. The lady was attractive.  She was bold in her advances. She didn’t hold back what she wanted. She began running her toes up my leg. I was tempted to give in to her advances. She didn’t want any money. She just wanted to give me pleasure like I would never forget. I reasoned with the situation. She was Tanzanian. I was Kenyan. She lived in Arusha. I lived in Nairobi. I never knew her and would never meet her. It was okay, right. After all, she’s the one who was seducing me. When you reason with lust, it always makes sense and that’s why you need to be in touch with the Holy Spirit to see that it is nonsense. I was saved that day because my pal found her shoes. You can read that story much later by clicking here.

Think about it



Guardrail 6: Compromise occurs when we ignore the consequences of our actions.

Nobody thinks of STIs, babies and sin when caught in lust. The mind is raided by lust and blurs wisdom.  Look at the young man in Proverbs 7.

Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool,

The Bible says suddenly! It happens all in a sudden doesn’t it? One minute you were flirting, the next you were a daddy. One minute you were tolerating his sweet nothings the next you were tolerating an STI. One minute you were cuddling in your couch, the next you were caught by his parents. Do we ever consider the consequences of our actions? Sexual sin has some of the worst consequences. Each time we ignore them, we sink into a slow fade and we end up like the Proverbs 7 man. We are like an ox heading to the slaughter. The abattoir have their knives sharpened and the kill is the young naïve believer. The consequences can even be too far-reaching for believers to realize. It has been found that masturbation and pornography reduces desire to marry. The research is a plenty on the consequences and it is not pretty.

Think about it



 Guardrail 7: Compromise always costs

Until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.

What arrow pierced his liver? We are not told but we can imagine. It was probably the woman’s husband returned from his long journey. Or maybe it was the neighbourhood who busted the duo and stoned them to death. Perhaps it was the boy’s mother. Perhaps he contracted a virus from the adulteress and it killed him. Maybe he was due for promotion in the King’s Courtyard but lost his chance because King Solomon saw him the entire time in his carnality. Maybe the adulteress got pregnant. Maybe she slept with him and murdered him in his sleep. Maybe she pretended she was being raped when the mob came to stone them and had them stone him alone instead. The consequences are numerous and dire. The bottom line is this. Compromise always costs. That young man and that adulteress (just like you) will stand one day before a holy God. They will give an account for their lust. Far beyond this world, the cost of compromise carries its effect into eternity.

Think about it


Conclusion
Listen to how the wise man finished chapter 7.

24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths.
26 For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.

The believer is warned to pay attention to the words spoken and to stay away from sin. Those two were the first guardrails: knowledge of the word and staying away from sin. You lose here and you lose all. The way to the house of lust is the way to Sheol. Sheol is a fancy name for hell and there is nothing fancy about the place.

Bonus Pointers
Here are a few bonus pointers for placing guardrails.

Guardrail 8: Have an accountability partner.

Who keeps your relationship accountable? Find a mature couple if you are dating or a mature individual if you are single and ask them to keep you accountable. Don’t place boundaries on your accountability partners. They should be able to call you anytime and ask anything without you taking offense. Give them authority to inform your parents and your pastor should you ever go rogue. The body of Christ needs each other to survive. We need to be our brothers’ keepers especially when fighting lust. Meet your accountability partners regularly e.g. twice a month. Always confess to them.

Guardrail 9: Join a fellowship
If you do not belong to a church, find one with sound doctrine. There are quite a number out there. Always confirm the doctrine before becoming a member. Once you’ve joined, actively participate in a small fellowship group like a Bible study. Make friends in the body of Christ.

Guardrail 10: Fast
Once, there was a demoniac who was too strong for the disciples of Jesus to fight. Jesus exorcised the demon possessed and explained to the disciples that sometimes spiritual warfare requires prayer and fasting for it to work. Devote time to fast over your situation once in a while. Fast for other people in the body of Christ who are struggling. Pray the armour of God and ask Jesus to protect you from slipping into temptation.

Do you know any other ways in which you can place guardrails to help you live a life of purity?

ION: My wife, Turi and I celebrate the release of my novel, THE HUMAN TEMPLE. You can now purchase a copy from BOOKS FROM US by clicking here. Also like it while you're at it :-) Thank you!

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