We are all highly susceptible. . . and we need to recognize this reality. Proverbs warns us about just staying on guard. . . all the time. . . against the efforts. Proverbs chapter 7 offers a sobering warning against it. Today’s cultural landscape is fertile ground for seduction.
In yesterday’s entry in Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers, we read these words from Proverbs:
With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. – Proverbs 7:21-27
Then, Scotty Smith shares this prayer that is timely for all of us. . . everyday. . .
“Dear Lord Jesus, what a sobering Scripture. But we shouldn’t be shocked, for you created us for rich intimacy and satisfying communion with yourself; the likes of which, even our best relationships, are just a hint, a whisper, and symbol. But alas, like all good things, our longings for intimacy get hijacked by sin and sabotaged by selfishness.
When it comes to relational and sexual sin, Samson and King David don’t stand (and fall) alone. Every one of us is capable of being seduced and seducing others. We need the gospel to keep us sane, centered, and satisfied.
For there are many lonely husbands, wives, and singles who are primed for a fling, targets for an affair, on the cusp of a “hook up”—aching, yearning, reaching for a few minutes of pleasure to medicate months, years, even a lifetime of disconnect and emptiness. It may never become physically sexual, but sometimes just the emotional connection can bring an exhilaration bordering on intoxication; and it is an intoxication that can lead to addiction; and an addiction that leads to death.
But Jesus, how well we know that it’s not just lonely and unhappily married people who veer onto the “grave highway” leading to the “chambers of death.” Even when we’re connecting well, even when our marriages are at a good place, or even when we’re quite content and fulfilled in our singleness, our seduce-ability is ever present. It may be dormant, perhaps, but never dead.
I know the way of grace is neither paranoia nor presumption; it’s rather wisdom, care, and freedom. You are constantly wooing us in the gospel, saying, “Come away, my beloved.” Your desire is for us and your banner over us is love. Indeed, whom do we have in heaven but you, Lord Jesus, and being with you, who or what could we possibly desire more on this earth? You alone have the words of eternal life, and your love alone is better than life. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and tenacious name.”