As I was doing my Bible study this morning, my daily reading was Proverbs 7, which is all about seduction. Don’t let me lose you here, because I believe this is a really important issue in the fitness industry – and it’s a crucial message for everyone, married or single.
It sells ads, alcohol, clothing, perfume, cars and it certainly sells fitness. Beautifully carved creatures plaster magazines and TV networks in order to sell supplements, fitness equipment and products that don’t even work. Sex is the #1 tool Satan uses to hook people into making the worst kind of mistakes. This applies to everyone.
In my reading today, Solomon said seductress women lead to death. And it made me think, lust is like the gateway sin. It’s the beginning of the end. But how does it start? I think it often starts out more innocently than people think.
1. It starts with conversation.
“So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery…
…He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.” (Prov. 7:21-23)
We all desire affirmation and attention, and want to feel “wanted” and attractive. Yet, that need can be a like a drug to some, causing a chain of poor decisions “under the influence” of it. It’s like a gateway sin to more sin, more mistakes, more pain and eventually (as Solomon says) death.
Most affairs start with innocent conversation, so we must be SO careful with what we say – even if it’s just a compliment or maybe an inappropriate topic. We have to be on guard with our conversation.
2. It starts with being naive.
In verse 7, Solomon describes the guy as naive, a guy lacking common sense. Would you play with a rattlesnake? No! Why? Because you know it is poisonous so you avoid it. Many people make mistakes simply because they are unaware of how it can poison us. It’s simply a lack of knowledge.
I have to admit, I used to be SO naive. I really walked around clueless about many things. I was around half naked people in skintight spandex all the time and never thought twice about it. I never looked at bodies as sex symbols but more like anatomy projects. I was naive. Very naive.
I remember, many years ago, my friend from church came to the gym and literally had a jaw-dropping moment as she saw what some girls wore to the gym. She sorta lived under a churchy rock and hadn’t really been exposed to the real world. I was the opposite. I had never thought twice about what the girls were wearing – or what I was wearing for that matter. I never thought about my outfits causing men to struggle. I didn’t think like that, and her insight really made me think more about what I was “numb” too.
The fitness business can be pretty racy at times. It’s the one of the few places a man can strip off his shirt in public and not get kicked out. It’s one of the few business establishments you can be nearly naked in – all while bending over lifting weights or spreading out in some crazy yoga pose. No wonder people think gyms are a meat market.
We have to wise up, which requires seeking knowledge, and there is no better knowledge than Godly knowledge of studying scripture. The wiser we are, we can recognize dangerous territory.
3. It starts with not being careful.
I think about Eve and how she wouldn’t have been tempted to eat the apple if she wasn’t hanging around the apple tree. So many things could be avoided if we were simply more careful.
One of our biggest mistakes is thinking “it will never happen to me”, but in chapter 7 verse 26 Solomon says it happened to “strong men”. Which means it probably happened to some really great men – AND it can happen to anyone if they aren’t careful.
In chapter 7, the guy Solomon talks about was not avoiding her house. He was doing so many things wrong. I’m sure he thought he could handle the temptation, but he failed. We could avoid so many issues in life if we just stay on guard more and stay away from temptation no matter what that temptation may be – big or small.
4. It starts with being alone.
In this story, the naive guy was always walking alone. Jim Gallagher points that out in his commentary on this chapter, pointing out the importance of having support. If he was struggling with this woman, he should have not only avoided the route that went by her house, but he should have not been alone.
We all need people in our life to hold us accountable and keep us strong. Ironically, some of the times we need people the most is when we avoid people – like when we are unhappy, depressed, struggling and feeling weak.
The same way we need a spotter in the gym to lift heavy weight, we need spotters in our life to help us with some of life’s heaviest issues.
What’s In It For Me?
After studying this, I thought to myself “how does this apply to me?” We are so quick to think about everyone else that needs this message, but there is not one verse that cannot be applied to our own life so how does this apply to me – or you?
1.) Don’t be “that” woman.
The first thing I notice is that she was the tempter. Whether we meant to or not, we have to be careful to not put others in place of temptation. That can be with what we say and definitely how we act and what we wear. I am guilty of this myself and I have been really been trying to be better about this and more aware of what I do and say – and definitely what I wear.
Next, while I would love to think “I’d Never…”, this passage is gives a list of clear things to avoid. I don’t believe this seductress woman was purposefully evil, or started out that way. Her husband was away on a long journey, so she was probably lonely.
I think many “seductress women” are lonely, neglected, sad, hurt and/or long to be valued and found attractive. I don’t believe they set out to murder marriages and hurt people on purpose. But once they get that first quick fix, it can be addicting and it can turn into a complete lifestyle and even addiction.
Solomon described this women as rebellious and a socialite who hung out at night, never content at staying home. She was nice to men, even flattering. She had long conversations with men, even spoking about things she should never talk about to another man – talking about her bedroom and wooing him with sexual conversation. Those are all clear things to avoid, even if justified. I am sure many affairs started with an innocent compliment or conversation.
I believe we should be constantly aware of how our actions affect others (especially in the gym!).
2.) Take care of your man.
If you just ate a big meal and I passed you a plate, chances are you would pass it to someone else. However, you can guess what would happen with that plate if you were hungry. I’m not just talking about sex, I’m talking about respect and value. If you don’t provide that, someone else will.
I now realize the importance of listening, respecting and valuing Steve through even silly things like doing a simple task he might have asked me to do or just thanking him for his hard work. As soon as you spouse stops feeling important, he or she is at risk for someone else to meet that need.
Not only is it important to be careful not to neglect your spouse, but it’s also important to watch for people who may be feeding a need you might have and recognize when someone is starting to make you feel a little too special.
3.) Don’t discount it
We live in a world where sexual relationships outside of marriage are common. I think it’s interesting Solomon talks about sexual sin as leading to death. This is why I call it the gateway sin. Even when you are in love and your motives are right, it can cause you to do things that cause more problems.
I always say if we moved in together before we got married we wouldn’t have lasted because we fought so much! ha! God knew, if we were going to make it, it was going to require a commitment to each other and to God. That commitment is what forces us to work through stuff, to grow in character, to become better and to allow God to work in us. There is no one else in our life that God uses more to push our buttons and bring the yuck to the surface. Marriage is God’s refining tool.
If we have the relationship without the commitment, we miss personal and spiritual growth. Instead, we allow our flesh to lead us where ever we want, and we can avoid those opportunities to grow. We become more selfish and more selfish, which leads to destruction.
The key to life is dying to self – learning to share, to submit, to think of others and to serve others. All of those things are not required in a relationship outside of marriage. You can do whatever you want and you can break up with whoever you want as soon as you don’t get your way. It happens all the time and no one thinks twice about it – yet, it is a pattern that leads to death and can cost you your life (vs 23).
“Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.” – Proverbs 6:32
I know this isn’t a fun topic, but boy is it important. I almost lost my marriage from being naive and not seeking wisdom on this topic. That is why we share our story, our struggles and our victories and that is why I’m writing this blog today.
If you haven’t heard our story, you can CLICK HERE to get caught up. 😉