Lessons On Purity: Keep Your Distance

Proverbs 7:6-8, “…and I saw…a young man lacking sense (heart), passing through the street near her corner;….”

This one starts out funny (true story by the way), but makes a great point…

Years ago a friend of mine and I were passing out fliers in the inner city of Minneapolis. We were almost at the end of our assigned neighborhood when I realized I still had quite a bit of fliers leftover. We came to one final house that was surrounded by a chain link fence. Posted clearly on the front gate was a large black sign with red letters that read, “Beware of Dog.”

I looked through the gate at the enclosed yard and house. I saw no dog. In fact, I saw no evidence at all that there was any type of animal in the yard. I playfully barked a few times and even called out, “Here, doggy.” Absolutely no response. I looked at my friend and told him, “That sign must be old. There isn’t any dog here. I’m going to put a flier on their front door.” My friend just shook his head and stayed on the sidewalk, watching me as I opened the gate and marched up to the front door.

As I crossed the yard my confidence grew. Surely if there was a dog, he would have barked by now. I proudly walked up the stairs of the house, looking back at my friend as if to tell him, “See. I told you. No dog.” I reached out my hand and began to place the flier on the door. It was at that moment that I first heard the growl. I froze instantly. I looked to my left and saw something similiar to a dog lying under the front porch. Two red eyes, covered in a gigantic mass of fur. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, unable to take a breath. And then the mass of fur began to move. Quickly. Towards me.

I took off at a sprint with the snarling beast hot on my heals. As I approached the gate I breathed in relief. Freedom was in sight. Just a few more seconds. And then it happened. My friend instinctively shut the gate. I hit the fence at the same exact moment that the dog’s teeth hit my butt. Fliers went flying. I hollered. The dog pulled me down off the fence with my butt cheeks firmly lodged between his canine teeth. With one finally burst of energy and strength I grasped the fence, pulled myself over and freed myself from certain death (okay, not death…but it really, really hurt). I looked up to see my friend bent over double, crying because he was laughing so hard.

The point? I learned on that day to keep my distance. Warning signs are there for a reason. Ignore the signs and you will pay a price. Purity works much the same way. Throughout His Word God consistently gives us warnings regarding the importance of purity. Far too many men are ignoring the warnings, convinced that there is no real danger, opening the gates of their hearts, and marching headfirst into destruction, pain, and loss. Sounds harsh, I know. But in 20 years of ministry I have spent far more hours than I care to admit talking with close friends (people who loved God, people who were in full-time ministry) whose hearts were broken, their eyes filled with tears because they had ignored the warning signs. And unlike my friend in the above story there was no laughter in my heart. Only deep sadness over their loss.

The young man who lacks sense gets too close to things that are dangerous. In Proverbs 7 he passes “near” the corner of the adulteress (i.e. temptation). Read this following quote from the XXXChurch website very carefully.

  • Often it starts by viewing pseudo-pornography-things like modeling sites, chat sites, personal homepages, and other sites that often contain seductive images, but may not be classified as pornography. Very quickly this kind of online behavior can spiral down to a place where these images don’t cut it anymore. At this point the viewer begins to ‘need’ more intense images to be stimulated. Often you will hear someone who has gotten addicted say, ‘I have no idea how I got here; it started so innocently.’ Pornography is both very alluring and very addictive. Sexual addiction along with pornography addiction are issues that face many people these days. The websites that are distributing the material are designed to draw in the viewer, dangle free content and easy sign-ups-in an attempt to capture a new use.”

The young man should have kept his distance. Because he goes “near” temptation he eventually gives in to temptation. How about you my friend? Are you getting to close to things that are leading you in the wrong direction? My advice to you is to keep your distance. Personally, I switched from Myspace to Facebook. Why? Got tired of the risque ads. Never owned cable (TV) in almost 20 years of marriage. Why? Loved to channel surf as a teenager. Always ended up watching questionable programs. I know it sounds drastic, even dramatic. But it works for me. And what’s more…my purity before God, my family, and my friends has been well worth the sacrifices. I would much rather lose temporal things willfully through sacrifice than forfeit eternal things through sin. Entertainment really doesn’t matter. My family, my friends, my future…those are the things of real value.

Want purity in your life? The kind that God has planned and purposed for your life? Give yourself some distance. Eliminate the things in your life that create temptation. Don’t go there. Don’t even go “near.” As always, my message box is open and confidential. If you ever need someone to listen or offer advice, I am here for you. Take care.