King Solomon’s advice about sex is as true today as thousands of years ago.
A man contracts a sexually transmitted disease while traveling overseas. A pianist and the choir director commit adultery. A businessman, bored with his 20-year marriage, initiates an illicit relationship with a woman at the office. Unfortunately, these scenes come not from prime time television, but from the growing list of real Christians who have made bad choices. We hear a lot about telling our youth to “just say no.” Yet those in the thirtysomething years and beyond continue to face attacks on their moral purity. In fact, as our bodies age and our vigor wanes, the pull to prove “I’ve still got it” can tug even harder.
The Bible says there is a sense in which sexual sins are in a different class from most other sins. Paul explained this distinction to the church at Corinth—a city with a reputation for sexual excess. Paul cut through the niceties and underscored the bottom line: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of theHoly Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?You are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:18–19).
When advising young adults, Solomon chose one key theme: sexual purity. We read in Proverbs that Solomon identified sexual purity as essential for successful living:
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave…. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house (Prov. 5:3–5, 8).
Such wise words. Too bad Solomon didn’t follow his own warnings. Instead, this man with all the wisdom decided to play fast and loose with his own advice. Experience proved him wrong.
At the end of his life this world-weary wise man wrote another book—a journal of his quest to find satisfaction. Sex certainly played a part in his quest: “I thought in my heart ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure….I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man” (Eccles. 2:1, 8). But did seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines bring Solomon happiness? No! Solomon ended this chapter in his life’s journal by sadly concluding, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what Ihad toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (v. 11).
Solomon was wise enough to know early in life how he needed to live to please God. And he was wise enough to know—at the end of his life—that his decision to disobey God had produced nothing but emptiness, heartache, and bitterness. In spite of all his wisdom, Solomon had violated God’s standards of sexual purity and paid the price for his sin.
When unexpected sexual temptations catch you off guard, don’t take time to analyze, theorize, rationalize, or compromise. Get out! Immediately! The way to maintain sexual purity is to flee. Paul’s advice to those believers living in the moral cesspool called Corinth was, “Flee from sexual immorality”(1 Cor. 6:18). Just over a decade later, he gave the same advice to his young disciple Timothy. “Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Tim. 2:22).
A pastor who is currently in the restoration process after confessing to deep involvement with pornography shared candidly, “With all other temptation we are told to stand and face the enemy. But when it comes to immorality and idolatry—which are often the same thing—the advice is different: Flee. Period. Learn from my mistakes. When it comes to avoiding moral temptation, ‘Just say “go!”’”