As news headlines remind us on practically a daily basis, improper sexual behavior remains a significant issue regardless of political party, ethnic group, or social strata. Sexual sins tempt anyone from politician to preacher, exist in every form from sexual harassment to prostitution, and appear anywhere from the Internet to Hollywood’s casting couch. The people humbled and sometimes humiliated due to their sexual misbehavior include the famous and the infamous, people around the world and people next door. And many others have had their reputations sullied in history as a result of escapades they (and others) hid for decades. Throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon especially calls on the reader to appreciate parental advice. This basic tenet introduces many other practical principles designed to warn of the dangers of bad behavior and the benefits of good conduct. Indeed, good advice only helps when you follow it—and not just for the moment. Indeed, these kind of life lessons should serve as constant companions (Prov. 6:20-21), informing our every decision and cautioning us against the perils of immorality (Prov. 6:22-23). However, when we remember David’s personal history and the problems within his family, the advice passed on by Solomon in this manner deserves special attention.
In an age where “sexy” has become a term applied broadly, there is an underlying message that Christians often forget. It overvalues the external as the value of a human being. Therefore, despite all of society’s lip service to deeper evaluations of character and person, the reality remains that worldliness focuses on the temporary and fleeting, whether in the feeling of the moment or the constantly shifting standards of physical attraction. Do not let outward beauty and flattering flirtation keep you from recognizing how they disguise moral poverty (Prov. 6:24-25). This is the root of prostitution, behavior that degrades the humanity and spirituality of all involved, impoverishing the soul and often the participants. It peddles the lie that you can buy love, or at least a cheap knockoff of it while actually only renting lust at peak prices (Prov. 6:26). Some, of course, try to find a compromise and think they have cheated the system while actually cheating themselves. Adultery takes a relationship intended by God to build lifelong oneness and instead inflicts pain and emotional suffering with a vengeance. Only a fool thinks he can escape such behavior unscathed (Prov. 6:27-29). An adulterer’s lack of self-control often comes with unforeseen consequences (Prov. 6:30-31). In seeking pleasure the adulterer sacrifices his soul (Prov. 6:32). More than that, he sacrifices his reputation for life (Prov. 6:33) and makes conflict his constant companion (Prov. 6:34). The consequences of adultery are many, its scars are real, and its damage extensive. While the unmarried participant may think he or she can live with no regrets, the opposite is actually true (Prov. 6:35).
Modern day society has so cheapened sexuality through mockery, politicization, and deviancy that fornication, adultery, and pornography seem tame by comparison. And that is part of Satan’s trap. Christians can fall prey to the loosening of moral standards in the midst of congratulating themselves on being better than the world. Instead, we need to learn from the wisdom of the past, learn from the wisdom of godly parents, and learn from the wisdom of inspired scripture. Paul told Christians living in Corinth, a city known for its licentiousness in an empire filled with immorality, to “flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18). Many had left such behavior behind already (1 Cor. 6:9-11), but worldly allure can cause people to stumble and fall when not properly focused and running toward God. Like drug use, gambling, and nicotine addiction, sexual sins like adultery come with a price. Rather than paying that price through lasciviousness, Christians should remember the price Jesus paid for righteousness (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 7:23).