For our first week of ther new year we continue with more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 5 in the Message Bible.

In this chapter, the wise teacher talks to a young man about the dangers of yielding to sexual temptation (see vs.1-23). How relevant this to every generation. God's ways are best for us but sin always appears in alluring ways, promising more than it ever delivers and always leaving us with painful consequences. 

Vs.3-5. For the lips of an immoral woman (or man) are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.

Vs.21-23. For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

Self-control is one of the key character qualities to develop and is a fruit of God's Spirit within us. It includes the development of the ability to delay gratification. To choose short term pain for long term gain, rather than jump to the 'pleasures of sin' which last only for a moment. Look beyond the moment. See the danger ahead.

All sin has consequences but sexual sin affects us like no other. Overeat and you can repent and curb your food intake the next day. Steal something and you can always return it. Sleep with another person's spouse and the impact will linger on well past the moment. That's why we are challenged so strongly to control our impulses.

Beware of fatal attractions! Sexual sin is never a fall but more often a slide. It begins with seemingly harmless words of affection that lead to emotional attachment. Extra time together is sought, inappropriate words and actions follow, and before you know it you pass the point of no return. That's why it's best to develop an early warning system. Don't see how far to the edge you can get. Stay as far away as possible. Establish some habits of purity of thought and action. You'll be glad you did.