Saturday In The Proverbs—Don’t Judge By Outward Appearances (Proverbs 23)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

…they are deceptive food (Proverbs 23:3).

Jesus said, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24). That means we have to look beyond the surface; we have to see things as they really are, not as we want them to be. 

Things like…

…the outward appearances of wealth aren’t the same thing as true riches (vv. 1-3, 6, 8)

…overwork doesn’t mean it’s good work or a noble work ethic (vv. 4-5) 

…just because someone hears you doesn’t mean they are truly listening to you (v. 9)

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it (vv. 10-11)

…children may grumble in the moment of correction, but they will be truly thankful in the end (vv. 12-5, 22-25)

…sinners aren’t “getting away” with their sins (vv. 17-18)

…people who “party hardy” aren’t necessarily enjoying themselves (vv. 19-21, 29-35)

…pornography and other sexual sins aren’t victimless crimes or “no one is getting hurt” activities (vv. 26-28) 

As the Holy Spirit to show you the truth. Ask Him to show you the ultimate consequences of your activities. Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—A Powerful 1-2 Punch (Proverbs 5)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

My son, pay attention… (Proverbs 5:1).

Adultery can look exciting.

Pornography might seem harmless.

Sex outside of marriage may appear appealing…

…but only to the foolish! 

Solomon warns of the perils of any sexual activity outside of marriage, but he also tells of the joyous satisfaction of sex inside of marriage. 

His conclusion for us:

  1. DON’T even dabble in sexual immorality 
  2. DO invest in your marriage

This is a powerful 1-2 punch to both find satisfaction in your spouse, and avoid the heartache illicit sexual activity is guaranteed to bring. 

Book Reviews From 2016

The Power To Overcome Sexual Temptation

Focus On The Family“It’s not easy to overcome recurring sexual temptation. That’s because sexual sin is, at the most basic level, an illegitimate way of fulfilling a deep and legitimate human need: the need for love and intimacy.” —Focus On The Family

John Piper“Here is the secret of the power of faith to break the enslaving force of sinful attractions. If the heart is satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus, the power of sin to lure us away from the wisdom of Christ is broken.” —John Piper

6 Quotes About Understanding Sexual Sin

Focus On The FamilyEarlier this week I shared some quotes from a Focus On The Family (FOTF) reading plan I completed on YouVersion regarding the problems with pornography. Here are some additional quotes from a related FOTF reading plan called Understanding Sexual Sin.

“Sexual sin distorts the image of the Trinity mirrored in our marital relationships.”

“If our sex lives are meant to function as reflections of the image of God, it stands to reason that they should be shaped by the qualities of the Trinity. Three primary principles apply here.

1) We may never use another person as an object, sexual or otherwise. The members of the Trinity never relate to each other as objects or things to be used. Instead, they relate to one another in love, each seeking to serve and enhance the goodness and glory of the others.

2) We must keep sexual relations within the bounds of a loving and committed marriage. … This sexual embrace within the bond of marriage mirrors the nature of the relationship between the members of the Trinity as nothing else in creation can. Ideally, the marital bond is designed to be loving, permanent, exclusive, and self-giving.

3) We must respect and honor the God-designed differences between male and female. Male and female are not simply cultural constructs. They are God-created characteristics of humanity. Together, they personify the Trinitarian nature of God in a fundamental way…. The differences between male and female provide the fullest picture of the image of God in creation.”

“Biblically speaking, sexual immorality (Greek porneia) is any sexual activity that takes place outside of marriage. This includes adultery, premarital sex, and extramarital sex. Scripture teaches that both are off-limits for Christians (see 1 Corinthians 6:9; Acts 15:29; Hebrews 13:4).”

“It’s a mistake to confuse normal sexual attraction with lust. Sexual attraction is natural. … True lust involves a choice and an act of the will. To a certain extent it’s a conscious decision to pursue the desirable object instead of simply allowing it to pass by. It’s a willingness to give in to the natural impulse.”

“Pornography represents a departure from God’s design for sex in that it depersonalizes real people, strips them of their dignity, and turns them into sexual objects.”

“It is never wise to give more weight to feelings than to rational conclusions and clear biblical teachings. Feelings don’t make you who you are. Beliefs, values, and conscious commitments do.”

10 Quotes From C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis(When is it ever not a good day to share C.S. Lewis quotes?!)

“There is either a warning or an encouragement here for every one of us. If you are a nice person—if virtue comes easily to you—beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.” —C.S. Lewis 

“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. …You must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” —C.S. Lewis

“On the contrary, those who are seriously attempting chastity are more conscious, and soon know a great deal more about their own sexuality than anyone else. They come to know their desires as Wellington knew Napoleon, or as Sherlock Holmes knew Moriarty; as a rat-catcher knows rats or a plumber knows about leaky pipes. Virtue—even attempted virtue—brings light; indulgence brings fog.” —C.S. Lewis

“For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of  course, it is better to be neither.” —C.S. Lewis

 “A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in it, from thinking that God will not take us to Himself again unless he is satisfied that some sort of case can be made out in our favor. But that would not be forgiveness at all. Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness, and that we can always have from God if we ask for it.” —C.S. Lewis 

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” —C.S. Lewis

“The human lives in time but our enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” —C.S. Lewis

“War creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it.” —C.S. Lewis

“The rescue of drowning men is, then, a duty worth dying for, but not worth living for.” —C.S. Lewis

“Christianity does not simply replace our natural life and substitute a new one; it is rather a new organization which exploits, to its own supernatural ends, these natural materials.” —C.S. Lewis

10 Quotes From “Every Man’s Battle”

Every Man's BattleGuys, you need to read Every Man’s Battle (check out my book review to find out why I say this). Fellas, we can be the men that God desires us to be! Check out some quotes from this powerful book.

“Your purity must not depend upon your mate’s health or desire. God holds you responsible.”

“Why do we find it so easy to mix our standards of sexual sin and so difficult to firmly commit to true purity? Because were used to it. We easily tolerate mixed standards of sexual purity because we tolerate mixed standards in most other areas of life.”

“While in business it’s profitable to seem perfect, in the spiritual realm it’s merely comfortable to seem perfect. It is never profitable. … Excellence is a mixed standard, while obedience is a fixed standard. We want to shoot for the fixed standard.”

“I was asking myself, ‘How far can I go and still be called a Christian?’ The question I should have been asking was, ‘How holy can I be?’”

“We have countless churches filled with countless men encumbered by sexual sin, weakened by low-grade sexual favors—men happy enough to go to Promise Keepers but too sickly to be promise keepers. A spiritual battle for purity is going on in every heart and soul. The costs are real. Obedience is hard, requiring humility and meekness, very rare elements indeed. … If we don’t kill every hint of immorality, we’ll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. … As we ask ‘How holy can I be?’ We must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.”

“Your body isn’t reliable for any spiritual battle, much less the battle for sexual purity and obedience. … Your body often breaks ranks, engaging in battle against you. This traitorous tendency pushes our sexual drive to ignore God’s standards. When this sexual drive combines with our natural male arrogance and our natural male desire to drift from the straight life, we’re primed and fueled for sexual captivity.”

“For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay…because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse. Foreplay ignites passions, rocketing us by stages until we go all the way. God views foreplay outside marriage as wrong. … It’s critical to recognize visual sexual impurity as foreplay.” 

“If we get into sexual sin naturally—just by being male—then how do we get out? We can’t eliminate our maleness, and we’re sure we don’t want to. For instance, we want to look at our wives and desire them. They’re beautiful to us, and we’re sexually gratified when we gaze at them, often daydreaming about the night ahead and what bedtime will bring. In its proper place, maleness is wonderful. Yet our maleness is a major root of sexual sin. So what do we do? We must choose to be more than male. We must choose manhood. … Our Heavenly Father also exhorts us to be men. He wants us to be like Him. When He calls us to ‘be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,’ He’s asking us to rise above our natural tendencies to impure eyes, fanciful minds, and wandering hearts. His standard of purity doesn’t come naturally to us. He calls us to rise up, by the power of His indwelling presence, and get the job done.”

“The hands of Jesus…never touched a woman with dishonor. … Jesus not only never touched a woman with dishonor, He never even looked at a woman in dishonor. Could I say that? … ‘Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,’ one might say. ‘It’s natural for a male to look. That’s part of our nature.’ But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. … When we’re thieves with our eyes, we’re embezzling sexual gratification from areas that don’t belong to us, from women who aren’t connected to us.”

“When God looks around, He’s not looking for a man’s man but for ‘God’s man.’ His definition of a man—someone who hears His word and acts upon it—is tough, but at least it’s clear.”

Watch for more quotes soon…

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