Preparing for Action
Training to become a pilot involves hours and hours of intense preparation. Some of this training takes place in simulators where the intensity is high enough to induce sweating and stress. Why are pilots subjected to such rigorous training? So they can learn to make the right decisions when it really matters!
When it comes to purity, it is often the case that people fall into sin because they try to make vital decisions in the heat of the moment. That just won’t cut it. If we are going to maintain purity, we need to make choices in advance and on the basis of God’s word.
This is why Peter tells us to prepare our “minds for action … being sober-minded.” The King James Version translates this verse, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” In other words, we are to keep control of our minds—to get a grip of our thought processes—so that we’re able to run after what is good and flee from what is evil.
If we do not prepare our minds for action, then we will be easily seducible and prone to tragedy. We will tend to make difficult, life-altering decisions in the heat of the moment when our emotions are engaged and our desires are shouting at us. But a life of purity does not happen by accident; it is an act of absolute determination prompted by God’s Spirit, guided by His word, and enabled by His power.
We need to make a commitment to purity, as the psalmist did when he said, “I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules” (Psalm 119:106). Make your commitment before it’s too late.
And here’s a suggestion for the kind of commitment to make: determine to live in the center of the narrow way, not on the edge. The young man in Proverbs 7 who fell prey to the temptation of a “forbidden woman” was living on the edge; he was “passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight” (Proverbs 7:5, 8-9). The Bible’s lesson is clear: don’t get yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There is nothing to be gained from living on the edge when it comes to purity. Make your commitment before the temptation confronts you, so that when the evil day comes, you will be ready to say, “No, I already made that decision.” Keep your life in the center of the narrow way and determine to stay there. On the day when Christ Jesus returns and by grace His people stand around His throne, none of us will say that the pursuit of holiness was not worth the effort.
Warning Against the Adulteress
1My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
2keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
3bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
5to keep you from the forbidden1 woman,
from the adulteress2 with her smooth words.
6For at the window of my house
I have looked out through my lattice,
7and I have seen among the simple,
I have perceived among the youths,
a young man lacking sense,
8passing along the street near her corner,
taking the road to her house
9in the twilight, in the evening,
at the time of night and darkness.
10And behold, the woman meets him,
dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.3
11She is loud and wayward;
her feet do not stay at home;
12now in the street, now in the market,
and at every corner she lies in wait.
13She seizes him and kisses him,
and with bold face she says to him,
14“I had to offer sacrifices,4
and today I have paid my vows;
15so now I have come out to meet you,
to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16I have spread my couch with coverings,
colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
aloes, and cinnamon.
18Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
let us delight ourselves with love.
19For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey;
20he took a bag of money with him;
at full moon he will come home.”
21With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him.
22All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast5
23till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24And now, O sons, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths,
26for many a victim has she laid low,
and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27Her house is the way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death.
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