Super Glue. Have you ever used it? It’s billed as a glue which can make anything stick together…forever. That “anything” can be a broken plate or a child’s favorite toy. Of course, it can also mean your fingers when the smallest dab makes contact with your skin (which it always does) and adheres instantaneously to whatever it touches (in my case another finger). You better move quick if this happens because if you don’t the effects will be less than pleasant! It’s not that Super Glue’s packaging isn’t replete with warning labels (it is), but somehow we think that we are benign to its properties. “It’ll never happen so us!”, we say. Until of course, it does, and we find ourselves having to explain why our fingers are covered in band aids.
Sin is the same way. Best defined in two ways – It’s anything outside of God’s will that we do (commission). It’s also everything inside of God’s will that we don’t do (omission). Like Super Glue, sin comes loaded with warning labels – Warning! Warning! This is dangerous! Yet humanity’s response across the spectrum of time has been convincing ourselves that the warning labels don’t really apply to us, but oh how they do!
In Proverbs 7, Wisdom is key to understanding that not only do the warning labels of sin apply to us but to understand its consequences well enough to stay away. In this scene, the author observes a hapless “youth who had no sense” (v. 7). The next verses are where the trouble starts: “He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading as the dark of night set in” (v. 8-9). The youth knows everything and yet knows nothing. He knows where sin resides, but he doesn’t have enough wisdom to stay away. The warning labels apparently don’t apply to him! A woman dressed like a prostitute comes out to meet him and entices him to come to her home to spend the night because her husband is away. The unwitting youth follows her “like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deep stepping into a noose” (v. 22). I am sure the youth thinks he has gotten away with it…after all he was crafty enough to go to that part of town at night when nobody could see him. However, the author reveals that suddenly the youth will find that an “arrow will pierce his liver” as his sin “will cost him his life” (v. 23).
That’s the reality of sin regardless of what it might be. When you ignore its warning label, you will pay a steep consequence. Far too often we believe that the consequence of sin is God’s punishment on us as if he was a strict teacher or an “I told you so” type of God. More accurate, however, is that the punishment we endure is self-imposed as our disobedience effectively removes us from God’s presence for that of lesser gods. Serving lesser gods, we receive lesser things. Instead of peace, joy, love, and fulfillment, we get anxiety, doubt, and discontent. We feel like we are dying on the inside, and like the youth in the Proverb we basically are. That’s why Wisdom is so important! It’s superior to the “School of Hard Knocks” for the wise to understand God’s warning labels on sin and avoid these places of spiritual isolation all together!
Please reflect on these questions as we conclude our time together.
- When was a time in your life that “you knew better” but went through with it anyway? What was the result of your disobedience?
- Is there a temptation that you are allowing yourself to walk too closely to at the moment? Name it and ask for God’s wisdom in how you can make a plan to avoid it all together. Then write out that plan and ask another Christian to help you stick to it.