Walking on Hot Coals
Father, help me to keep my eyes from temptation and keep my heart on You.
Read Proverbs 6:20–35
20 My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes.
26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away.
34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWe take another look at a sensitive subject today, so pray for self-awareness.
We return again to Monday’s theme. Proverbs is not an ethical textbook, where each issue is addressed systematically, so themes do return (and will do so again in chapter 7, which we skip in this series). So first refresh your memory of Monday’s message.
The chapter begins with another theme we have already considered: the value of following the instruction in life from wise and godly parents and others. Perhaps the advice you cherish comes not from the home, but from an early experience of Christian formation. That advice is no good if left at home when we venture into the dangerous world of sexual attraction—we need to hear their voice echoing in our hearts (22), and no more urgently than when we find ourselves at risk of being carried away on a tide of hormones and sexual desire arising from some very hot coals (28).
The route is clear—she or he is gorgeous (25) and they lead you on. But it is not just the damage to reputation and soul that is at stake here; it is the revenge of the maltreated spouse the young man has to worry about (34), resulting in disgrace and self-destruction (32,33) from this fatal attraction. No, deal with these things when first they arise, and pour cold water on those fires.
What steps can you take to protect yourself from sexual temptation? Changing what you feed your mind is a good start.
Lord, keep my heart free from the desire for what does not belong to me.