Proverbs 6:27, Playing with Fire

Men, we need more frank conversation about sexual temptation.
God’s wonderful design in our attraction to the beauty of the female body has been prostituted like never before in the name of freedom of expression. The amazing gift of human sexuality designed for the intimacy and safety of marriage commitment is prostituted in full view on the bed of United States businesses marketing departments and teen age Brittany Spears wannabes.  Billions of dollars are made there because of our weak wills. The video Every Young Man’s Battle with Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker states that the pornography industry in the United States alone rakes in tens of billions of dollars a year! And that does not even include the profits of Hooters, Baywatch, and Maxim.
When I walk to work I pass a photography studio whose specialty has been photographing female clients in teasing poses, often displayed in the store window. I confronted them about it suggesting it was offensive to pass by their store with my children, but they boldly proclaimed that they are on par with Victoria’s Secrets advertising. Well said, well said. I don’t think any of us have a problem with what Victoria’s got. God designed this beauty. But do we agree that God also designed that her stuff be kept a secret for her husband in the bedroom rather than prostituting herself on posters in the mall and on TV?  Why invite children and the public into our bedrooms?
Sadly this run away lust train is dragging many of the disciples of Christ through the mire as well. Even the godliest Christian man fights a battle daily to keep his eyes pure for his wife or future wife and for Christ. The daughters of United States culture display their goods for sale on TV, movies, newspapers, magazines, emails, posters, screen savers, and the street. They sell their beauty in every venue possible, yet are they willing to give their beauty to their husband as a gracious gift in the bedroom?
Even the sincerest Christian woman is challenged to set a godly standard for modest dress. On one occasion I saw a beautiful Christian girl dressed inappropriately and dared to speak to her about it. I was informed that it was my problem and she can dress as she chooses. Doesn’t she have a Christian dad, mom, brother, sister, friend, or husband that loves her enough to explain the facts of life?  Or maybe instead she refuses the counsel of her dad.
Though men, she is right, it is our problem. Even if we persuade a few Christian women to respect themselves, the prostitution of female beauty will always be with us. There will always be men eager to buy and women eager to sell, whether we trade with money or trade with lustful glances. In fact a pastor friend once said to me that we have yet to see how bad it will get.
Consider God’s strategy in times past. He said to Israel, “In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full" (Genesis 15:16 WEB). God allowed the sin of the Amorites to grow GREATER before he brought punishment. God is a wise gardener. He allows weeds to grow to maturity because then they are obvious to all and more easily pulled out. We often want to deal with weeds quickly and simply mow them off.   The problem is the weeds keep coming back. God, however, insists on tending the fertile ground of the heart and so allows weeds to develop strong roots so that when he rips them out he gets the whole weed, root and all.
One possible reason is explained by Malachi, "Then you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who doesn't serve him" (Malachi 3:18 WEB). God is quite fairly giving us time to trust and obey him from the heart or to find a better way if we think that is possible. If we do not think God’s way is best from the heart he is quite willing to let us learn the hard way. As we see from the cross this breaks his heart, but it is the only way to fully persuade and convert a rebel to his cause. He has no desire to force unwilling obedience by constant lectures. That is the unfortunate fate of too many earthly fathers. Our heavenly father, however, wants no fakers on his team, but complete devotion.  So he shows us his inescapable grip of love through his powerful open hand.  No one can fall any lower than his nailed scarred hand.
I said all that to challenge us with the wisdom of Solomon who said, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27 WEB). Have you scooped fire into your lap? Are you flirting with sexual sin in any way whatsoever? Are you a true Christian brother to the daughters of eve?