Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Tempter and the Tempted

Proverbs 7:21 "With much seductive speech she (the forbidden woman) persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. so now  15 I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you."
There is seldom a sermon on sexual provocation. Why? We are all potential victims of that sin! Because of fidelity commitments and marital jealousy, it's something we keep hidden in the closet, but inside that closet the heat will someday self combust unless we see the danger therein and prevent the fire before it ignites.

In this technological age it's just too easy to run across temptation without even seeking it. The web is full of  tantalizing pictures and videos because it sells. On top of that bored people seek excitement. Because the world is the realm of the Prince of the Air, it's he who contaminates the spiritual environment. 

For instance, I always thought that Christina Ricci was an unusual, but not beautiful woman. A pop-up (the devil's tool) presented me with an unsolicited picture of merely her face an shoulders. I thought "I like her. I'm going to look at her other photos." Obviously I was bored. When I clicked on the link, there were no pictures of Christina Ricci at all. It was a semi-pornographic site. No, it wasn't the full Monty, but there was stuff there meant to entice, obviously they were after money at some point! I actually got angry that I was fooled and retreated to safety.

Don't give me any credit. I wanted to stay and look, but I had been studying my Bible. If I had not, I would have lingered. That's what Satan expects and counts on! Women, don't be hurt. I'm no different than any man ever and you are no different than any woman ever! I hate that I can fall to temptation, but until I'm made perfect in a glorified body, I am going to be tempted. That's what Paul meant with "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!"

Some theologians speculate that the original sin was about sexual temptation with it's beauty. That proceeds from guilt of the sinners who immediately covered their genitals. In the Bible's lexicon the sexual organs represent "the flesh" and even in patriarchal times "the flesh" was cut-off by circumcision. God knows our sexual weaknesses and made a covenant with Abraham for circumcision as a signature for the deal.  By circumcision the Jew was made "a new person" just as we are when we're "born-again". The Jews were given a new chance and it was sealed with circumcision. Salvation provides a new beginning and it is sealed with baptism! Both are a commitment to be a living sacrifice and to cut off the flesh, the former the foreskin, but the latter the heart of flesh!

Lust is original sin! That's what both Adam and Eve did. They perceived that they had been short-changed by God and sought what they desired; the fruit of the tree. What God was jealous of is that his fruit was standing nearby and Adam and Eve lusted after what they didn't have! They had "The Tree of Life" with it's twelve fruits of the spirit, but they desired forbidden fruit. That's symbolic of the man or woman who has beautiful fruit already in marriage, but lust after what they don't have! I believe this was the sexual nature of original sin: LUST, whether it be for things sexual, prestigious, or knowledge.

Satan will always provide a stimulus because he knows man's weakness. For most people romance is a stimulus. Even happily married committed people react to stimuli. Being genetic descendants of Adam and Eve we are born that way! Marriage partners, don't get upset. It's not your fault that you can be tempted, but it is your fault if you relent to temptation because that's what sinning is all about.

A man can love his wife and be tempted by another. A woman can love her husband and suffer the same affliction. Don't be angry with your loved one.  That's the nature of the beast. Not that people are beasts, but that we are born with a beastly nature. Without spiritual restraints men are no more than a bull in the field and the women the willing heifer, not wanting to give birth, but driven by instinct to do what comes natural. Although procreation and even carnal knowledge is of God, Satan usurps it's use to pull us toward sin!

I repeat, Satan will always provide the stimulus, even to and especially to righteous men and women. That's because his desire is to minimize Jesus, already knowing that Jesus cannot be destroyed. He can't be, but we can be. That's why Jesus was only tempted four times. It was to  no avail, but we are continually tempted because we can fail and Satan knows that!

In this age everything is sold with sexual advertising. Yes, those pretty blonde girls who sell Hardy's on television are meant to tantalize. I told Terri that I doubt that one would find them at Hardy's when one goes there to buy hamburgers, but people go anyway. Advertisers know that sex sales because it does. They don't believe it's of Satan, but still deceive as Satan deceives.

Wherever men and women go there will be beautiful people. Many beautiful people are narcissists. They want attention. Their provocative dress and even their demeanor is to get attention. If she doesn't capture you with her appearance they add flattery (Proverbs 7:21 above). They strut their stuff, display their wares and flutter their eyelashes:

Proverbs 6:25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,  and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes..."
I must admit that an attraction, meant to attract, are the beautiful news persons, especially the FOX Women. It is certainly more entertaining watching most of them rather than Barbara Walters. Advertisers and network executives know this and that is why their resume's have "appearance" between the lines. 

Christian can do wrong by lusting without even acting upon it!

Matthew 5:28 "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Going back to Adam and Eve, they sinned before they committed the sin. They should have, out of love and respect, be standing under "The Tree of Life", but instead they stood under the tree with it's forbidden fruit. They lusted after what they wanted. They placed self before God. Satan knows our vulnerability and he will always have forbidden fruit and from Proverbs 7:5 which speaks of "the forbidden woman". That's the woman that you're commanded not to have, the same as "the forbidden fruit" of the tree!

The "forbidden woman" is the adulteress. Not that she has already been carnal, but that is her desire. Satan plants her there and she becomes a tool of Satan. Any woman is vulnerable to be tools in the tool shed. Any man can be the tool of Satan. Don't be prideful and think that you're immune. Look at some of the clothing which are worn. Look at how we interact with others. Christians may not ever mean to be promiscuous, but even the lust associated with it is sinful. We all need to be careful in our interactions with others because Satan uses his tools in the shed as stimuli to do his work! We must wear God's full armor because Satan knows the chinks and where they are! For many people that is lust whether it be sexual, prestigious or any other aspect.

To be honest over the years I've seen as many boobs of careless women and many who wear short or provocative dress as I've seen on television.  It is not intentional, I'm sure, on their part, but they become tools in Satan's tool shed. Women are called on to be modest in dress and behavior!  Men are  as well. We all are at fault!

There are areas where we all must be careful (I must look at this from a man's perspective because that's my experience):
  • Non-verbal speech: our actions transmit information. Admiration can be cast such that the admired can perceive it without having to exchange a word. Proverbs 6:25 points this out for even the sashaying of the eyelashes speak loud, but silent words.
  • Touch: A prolonged handshake or a full body hug speaks audibly in signals. We all must watch the messages which we transmit and be aware of the effects of this type of touch.
  • Visual: This is obvious. Dress so as to not arouse. If you want to look sexy, chances are that you will succeed with some men.  Zealous makeup can provoke arousal.
  • Speech: Flattery comes to mind first. People love compliments and will respond to them.
  • Responses: Over-indulgence to compliments. Narcissistic people love compliments and may respond with affection to obtain more.
  • Appearance: Over-attention to dress and adornment is meant to draw attention and it will. There is more attraction for a classy and sophisticated person than there is for a person who has been around the race-track so to speak.
  • Lowered inhibitions: Drugs and alcohol are meant to lower God's check on us. By being less than sober people they will venture out further than they normally would.
  • Social interaction: Dancing and partying together can lead to more. It's just how things are!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Any behavior can encourage more attention. That's just the same as Pavlov's dog. We have the same animal instinct. When those bells ring, people salivate. Thereafter, even when the bell doesn't even ring people still salivate!
That's enough to get the point across. Even beauty is from God, but Satan uses all of our assets as tools in his tool box. He just bends the tools a little so they can be misused, then fixes people with defective fixes. People think I'm OK, you're OK, but neither are. We're broken and Satan smiles at his handiwork, and we did it for him!

Blame is the in the process at some point when things go wrong. We all can and must accept some of the blame. Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed the woman! It was both of them who were at fault!

Never give up! God can easily defeat the old serpentine backyard mechanic with his worn out tools, but we must wave the sword to make him flee!

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