One of our elders recently stated: “Wisdom is making decisions based on biblical knowledge.” I agree with that, but would expand it to state that wisdom is establishing biblically-based rules for life prior to when decisions must be made.
Just last month, a big brouhaha was all over the news talk shows about Vice-President Mike Pence’s position to never dine alone with a woman other than his wife, Karen. I personally found it to be admirable, and was amazed that it even made the news and with such a fervor.
Why was something admirable to me found to be reprehensible? According to a survey of MSNBC’s viewing audience conducted by Microsoft Pulse, on whether Mr. Pence’s position was a good thing or a bad thing, 81% of the participants thought it was a bad thing.
Clearly, I must be from another planet. I learned that the protest against his rule was that its effect would limit women of professional opportunities. On the converse, I saw it as a way to guard himself, honor his wedding vows.
Years ago, I remember hearing Pastor Chuck Swindoll, Insight For Living, state to protect his marriage, he would never counsel a woman without an opened door. This was meant to protect her and him.
The Book of Proverbs is known as a wisdom book of the Bible. It provides instructions and warnings for living out our lives.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT
“Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” Proverbs 4:26 ESV
These scriptures tell me that I must do the things that will protect me from unwise decisions, and from temptations by guarding my heart and pondering my path. Why is this necessary? Because failing to do so will leave me to my default position. What’s my default position?
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these….” Galatians 5:19-21a NLT
That’s my default position, but it’s not just mine, it’s your default position too, because we are all born in sin.
The sexual revolution in the Western world that began in the 60s has dramatically shifted our culture from traditional values, which on its face, held to being in line with the scriptures to adultery, fornication and other sexually immoral behaviors having become socially acceptable.
This was the reason I applauded the Vice-President’s position. He has a rule to not dine alone with a woman other than his wife. It was an intentional decision.
“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding; he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33 A wound and dishonor shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.” Proverbs 6:32,33 KJV
“He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Proverbs 5:23 ESV
None of us are above falling to the traps of sexual immorality, which is why it is important to listen to the instruction of Proverbs, to not make room for situations in which we may find ourselves giving in to a temptation. Will temptations come? Of course, but when we predetermine rules/boundaries for life, it actually gives us freedom. We just follow our preset rules, God’s rules which are meant to protect us, protect us from causing our family pain, our own pain, destroying our reputation, and possibly our soul.
Recently, I came upon a perfect illustration of how preset boundaries provide freedom.
To the quote of the late Bishop J.C. Ryle, it’s pointless to pray not to be led into temptation if we don’t set up and employ rules/boundaries that will help keep us from those giving in to those awkward moments.
We just had a sermon on this by one of our elders, Steve Meister, Fidelity In An Unfaithful World based on Chapters 5-7 of Proverbs. I recommend reading those chapters all the way through. It’s a father’s instruction to his son.
When we don’t follow God’s instruction, we end up following the desires of our flesh, which may very well lead us like an ox to slaughter.
“Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11 KJV
What do you do to guard your heart?