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Day 5: Proverbs 5:20-23

Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
    and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
    and he ponders all his paths.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
    and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
He dies for lack of discipline,
    and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Observations

Although all 23 verses of Chapter 5 impart wisdom on the topic of adultery, we are given fundamental truth about sin and its power in this chapter. We can see in the final four verses three fundamental truths that are echoed throughout Holy Scripture: 

  •  sin is intoxicating and deadly; 
  •  sin is seen by God
  •  sin is defeated by discipline in the life of a true disciple of Christ.

Application

Adultery, or idolatry, is clearly sin. Tragically, our 21st century, American society is set up to allow our hearts and minds to travel away from God. Our culture is built for instant gratification. But even with the opportunity for and display of gratification all around us, many Christians are inclined to dismiss Proverbs’ words as obvious, elementary, or inapplicable to their own holy, scandal-free, personal life. In doing so, they fail to recognize the more common manifestations of this sin, and do not have a weapon ready to fight it.   

“Adultery” does not only encompass a physical “affair” of sexual infidelity. Our Lord says that “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Furthermore, God’s Word uses the term “adultery” to describe all sins of unfaithfulness. Our English translation of Holy Scripture uses the term “adultery” to refer to idol worship, wrongful divorce, a nation’s lack of faith, and being a “friend of the world.” 

Yes, it’s true— many of us have not “cheated” on a spouse. But we all must ask ourselves personally: in what ways have we cheated God? As the Church, our Lord’s Bride, in what ways have we cheated our Bridegroom? 

The sanctifying power of discipline is eternally effective in the life of one who has been justified by God’s grace, through faith in His son. It is not a coincidence that the words “discipline” and “disciple” both stem from the same Latin root word, discere, which means “to learn.” A disciple is a person who follows Jesus and learns from him. In what ways does Jesus teach us to stay disciplined when it comes to defeating sin? He teaches us to sever all ties with the sources of our idolatry. He teaches us to immerse ourselves in Holy Scripture. He teaches us to confess. He teaches us to repent. He teaches us to fast. He teaches us to pray. And He teaches us to live by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and Sisters— if we are to defeat adultery, we must ask ourselves: what TV shows do I need to sever from my weekly routine? What websites do I need to block? When was the last time I memorized a Bible verse? Have I ever taken the time to confess my sins to a priest? Have I ever practiced fasting? How is my prayer life? How often do I seek the help of the Holy Spirit? Answering these questions and acting upon our answers will initiate a habit of discipline, by the grace of God. 

Come, fellow adulterers and idolaters, and heed the words of our loving Savior: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”

Prayer

Most faithful Father, You hear my lustful thoughts and You see my unfaithful actions. I humbly confess that I have failed to resist the temptation to cheat You— in my marriage, my finances, my choices in entertainment, and my daily walk with Your Son and Spirit. I ask that You would forgive my adulterous and idolatrous behavior, and I ask for Your Holy Spirit to fill me at this very moment with renewed stamina for a life of discipline. I pray this in the name of the Great Bridegroom, Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

- Andrew Figliuzzi

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