Proverbs 5 is subtitled “The Pitfalls of Immorality” in my NASB Bible. I confess that many times I’ve simply skimmed through it. I find that marriage relationships are challenging enough when you’re married to a godly, faithful man who loves Jesus and you have a desire to please and obey God yourself. I have no desire whatsoever to complicate matters with a forbidden relationship. I’m thankful I had parents and spiritual teachers in my life that made sure I knew “the grass is NEVER greener on the other side.” It’s just an illusion.
As I read this morning, however, I was reminded that physical adultery isn’t the only kind that Christ-followers need to worry about. We are ALL susceptible to spiritual immorality – having our hearts drawn away to love other things and other gods, a decision that will wreck our relationship with God.
Proverbs 5:7-9 is good advice when we think about spiritual adultery.
Now then, my sons, listen to me and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house, or you will give your vigor to others and your years to the cruel one.
Here are three things we can do to protect our relationship with our Savior.
Tip #1 – Listen to God’s words.
More than any other source of information. Make God’s word the priority, and the final authority in your life. God’s word has this amazing way of pointing out the places where lust and desire for “other things” might be creeping in. It purifies our hearts and reminds us of the great treasure we have in our relationship with God. Just as delighting in one another and appreciating one another keeps a married couple “enamored” and “in love,” a constant feast in God’s word shows us how good He is, and how undesirable the world is, in comparison.
Tip #2 – Close the door on other things.
A lot of the book of Proverbs is simple, common sense. If you don’t want to end up in bed with an immoral woman, then stay away from her house. Don’t go in the door. Don’t even walk down the street where she lives (Proverbs 7). In the same way, we need to guard our emotions and thoughts against temptation. If you don’t want material things to consume you, stay out of the stores (and off their websites). If you want pure thoughts, take a good look at what you’re watching, or reading, or the kind of music you’re listening to. If you want to focus on eternal things more than this world, consider how much time you spend building up your “earthly kingdom” more than the kingdom of God. Think “entry points.” Where do the things that draw your heart away from God enter your life? Shut them down.
Tip #3 – Focus your time and energy on things that really matter.
The previous tip was the negative (put away worldly things). But don’t stop there. Replace those things with what matters to God. A couple can be faithful to their marriage vows by never seeking a relationship outside the bounds of their covenant but at the same time fail to enjoy and appreciate each other. They can live in the same house but not spend time with each other and completely miss the point. God desires to spend time with us, and He has work for us to do in His kingdom. Discover what those things are and spend your “vigor” and your “years” for His glory. Do what’s necessary to deepen and grow your knowledge and intimacy with God, and then allow His Holy Spirit to work through you to accomplish His work.
God calls the church His bride. He called Israel His wife. He gave us human relationships to illustrate the greatest relationship of all, a Creator and His created. Don’t let the things of this world steal what God intends to give you.
Enjoy Him, and Him alone.