The challenge of chaste living and moral purity, especially sexually, in the midst of a culture seemingly dedicated to the promotion of depravity, places Christians today on common ground with God’s people of ages past. While the temptation may sometimes come through today’s technology, the flesh to which it appeals has proved consistent throughout generations (1 Cor. 10:13). This matters immensely. Sometimes people act as if the temptations of today differ greatly from the past, but the only difference lies in their manner of delivery and availability. As the ruins of Pompeii demonstrate, ancient cultures faced the same problem. Therefore, the solution lies not in somehow blaming Satan’s current method of temptation but rather in addressing it with the proven principles of inspiration. The fifth chapter of Proverbs addresses sexual temptation with pointed clarity, emphasizing that the responsibility for overcoming such challenges lies not in controlling the culture but in training the heart.
Learning discretion in the face of temptation offers the best defense against the wiles of the devil, but this requires a willingness to listen and then to think in mature terms even when younger. Indeed, learning to respect the advice of the experienced is an essential key to greater wisdom (Prov. 5:1-2). In its essence, discretion teaches us to avoid the folly of seeking immediate gratification but instead to see the long term costs of choices we make. Thus, discretion places the momentary allure of sexual temptation (Prov. 5:3) against the backdrop of the consequences of heartache (Prov. 5:4), emptiness, and instability in life (Prov. 5:6) that follow. Wisdom therefore dictates the simple and straightforward plan of action to flee fornication and all its related temptations (Prov. 5:7-8; 1 Cor. 6:18). As Joseph’s example shows, removing yourself from the temptation is the surest path not to fall into the sin. The only way to insure that you do not sacrifice your reputation (Prov. 5:9), your money (Prov. 5:10), and even your health (Prov. 5:11) in consequence of sexual promiscuity is to flee fornication in the first place. Therefore, dedicate yourself to avoiding a lifetime of regret by committing yourself to a lifetime of purity (Prov. 5:12-14). God created sexuality for a godly marriage, and thus it is only within the bonds of holy matrimony that sexuality find its proper expression (Prov. 5:15). This means that every person who enters into marriage has a responsibility to remain sexually faithful for life (Prov. 5:16; Matt. 19:6; 1 Cor. 6:16), to be available and responsive to his or her spouse’s needs sexually throughout life (Prov. 5:17; 1 Cor. 7:3-5), and to develop a fulfilling sexual relationship in marriage that binds husband and wife together for life (Prov. 5:18-19). All of this becomes natural when you think of your life—including your sexuality—in spiritual terms. There is no good reason to be sexually promiscuous (Prov. 5:20), knowing that the LORD will judge us for such (Prov. 5:21; Heb. 13:4). These decisions define us more than we think (Prov. 5:22), and the failure to heed this advice will lead you down the path of destruction (Prov. 5:23).
The path to chastity and purity is not some mysterious road reserved solely for the hyper-spiritual. This should be the path chosen by all. While Satan uses media of all kinds to lure the unprepared into a world of debauchery and filth under the guise of entertainment and “adulting,” he does so by hiding the ugly truth of the consequences that follow. God created sexuality; the devil corrupted it. The corrupt form can never fulfill the purpose nor offer the joy available in following God’s plan, and that is why living with self-discipline on the path of purity is always the right choice.