Becoming Virtuous

Today we’ll explore a topic for some that is not easy to discuss. Perhaps that adds to its importance, so please be prepared to deal with what may be uncomfortable thoughts and situations.

Welcome  back to this part of our journey that I’m calling our extended odyssey along the shared path here at “Becoming Today”.

Over the next month together, we are undertaking a search and rescue mission for wisdom. Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths.

Yesterday in our discussion on Two Paths, we noted that to seek wisdom we must first trust in the process. In this case that is putting your trust in God. Do it with all your heart, not your mind. Don’t over analyze or attempt to out reason the statement. Your mind will play tricks on you, but when you tune into your heart you can clearly hear the truth. 

While many often teach this chapter as wisdom at any cost, I felt  the need to focus more on another aspect. Not to downplay the value of wisdom, but rather to accentuate the choices you have to make in opting to choose one of the two paths

The two are not mutually exclusive. At times we may find ourselves crossing the lines simultaneously, the importance is recognizing when we are straying from purpose achievement and “Becoming” and then opting to correct our course.

To those in the psychological world, this is considered examining your shadow, which is thought of as for everything we can not or will not see in ourselves.

However my earliest memories of these discussions come from the traditional Cherokee teaching of the Two Wolves Inside. The short version is a grandfather telling a young boy about the two wolves that live inside each of us. They are engaged in a constant battle . One is good. The other evil. The child asks, which wolf wins,and the sage elder replies, “whichever one you choose to feed”.

A question we must ask ourselves daily. Which are we choosing to feed? Just as goodness, mercy and faith are renewed each day, so is our ability to make wise decisions. 

To aid in doing so we continue with  our look at the Book of Proverbs. Now as I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it.

For some a reminder, for others just joining us, I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.

Done so by  Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the” message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change. 

Now moving forward we’ll look at Proverbs 5 here on “Becoming Today”.

This chapter is a father’s lecture to his son. He warns about the dangers of the “strange woman” that some speculate may have even been another man’s wife. The chapter as we’ll read together is divided into two sections.

The first, taught from the father’s perspective of warning his one not to be lured by promiscuous women and the second a topic many of us have struggled with, calling for sexual relations to be only be resreved for the inttimacy of marriage.

We’ll examine the texts as they are presented and then discuss, from slightly different viewpoints as we’ll examine it also from the woman’s perspective and responsibilities to the wisdom being expressed.

So Proverbs Five begins with the bold print, salacious or titillating headline which proclaims:

Avoid Promiscuity!

Listen to me, my son,

    for I know what I’m talking about.

    Listen carefully to my advice

so that wisdom and discernment will enter your heart,

    and then the words you speak will express what you’ve learned.

Remember this:

    The lips of a seductress[a] seem sweet like honey,

    and her smooth words are like music in your ears.

But I promise you this:

    In the end all you’ll be left with is a bitter conscience.[b]

    For the sting of your sin will pierce your soul like a sword.

She will ruin your life, drag you down to death,

    and lead you straight to hell.[c]

She has prevented many from considering the paths of life.

    Yes, she will take you with her where you don’t want to go,

    sliding down a slippery road

    and not even realizing where the two of you will end up!

Listen to me, young men,

    and don’t forget this one thing I’m telling you—

    run away from her as fast as you can!

Don’t even go near the door of her house

    unless you want to fall into her seduction.

In disgrace you will relinquish your honor to another,

    and all your remaining years will be squandered—

    given over to the cruel one.[d]

10 

Why would you let strangers take away your strength[e]

    while the labors of your house go to someone else?

11 

For when you grow old you will groan in anguish and shame[f]

    as sexually transmitted diseases consume your body.[g]

12 

And then finally you’ll admit that you were wrong and say,

    “If only I had listened to wisdom’s voice

    and not stubbornly demanded my own way,

    because my heart hated to be told what to do!

13 

Why didn’t I take seriously the warning of my wise counselors?

    Why was I so stupid to think that I could get away with it?

14 

Now I’m totally disgraced and my life is ruined!

    I’m paying the price—

    for the people of the congregation are now my judges.”[h]

The second part of the chapter is summed up with a thought some in today’s culture may roll their eyes a;, and is one that many of us, including myself,  have struggled with and strayed from our paths because of. This section is described as:

Sex Reserved for Marriage

15 

My son, share your love with your wife alone.

    Drink from her well of pleasure and from no other.

16 

Why would you have sex with a stranger

    or with anyone other than her?

17 

Reserve this pleasure for you and her alone and do not share it with another.[i]

18 

Your sex life will be blessed[j]

    as you take joy and pleasure in the wife of your youth.

19 

Let her breasts be your satisfaction,[k]

    and let her embrace[l] intoxicate you at all times.

    Be continually delighted and ravished with her love!

20 

My son, why would you be exhilarated by an adulteress—

    by embracing a woman[m] who is not yours?

21 

For God sees everything you do and his eyes are wide open

    as he observes every single habit you have.

22 

Beware that your sins don’t overtake you

    and that the scars of your own conscience don’t

    become the ropes that tie you up.

23 

Those who choose wickedness die for lack of self-control,

    for their foolish ways lead them astray,

    carrying them away as hostages—

    kidnapped captives robbed of destiny.

Take a moment to reflect. Formulate your questions. Vent your concerns at me if need be, and then we’ll continue our momentum forward by breaking down these two topics.

This chapter is definitely written from a man’s perspective, however the warning to avoid promiscuity is equally important for us as women. Afterall we are part of the equation and have a responsibility to be protective of ourselves. To guard and care for ourselves on all four levels, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual.

One of the things I think we need to add here is that some who have had promiscuous seasons in their life are not necessarily condemned for it. I’m talking about the victims of abuse, sexual assualt, rape, human trafficking and others forced or coerced beyond their understanding at the time, to live in such a way as a means of survival. 

We cannot blame victims, nor should we point fingers or condemn and judge. 

God does not. He forgives us as soon as we have sinned or strayed. That is not to say ‘Oh I’ll do this and then I’ll be forgiven’ – not the way it works. Once we know something is wrong and we choose to act in that way, then the repercussions are on us. 

Just as they are if we opt to scorn, gossip and turn our backs on others.

As we just read in verses three through six,

Remember this:

    The lips of a seductress seem sweet like honey,

    and her smooth words are like music in your ears.

But I promise you this:

    In the end all you’ll be left with is a bitter conscience.

    For the sting of your sin will pierce your soul like a sword.

She will ruin your life, drag you down to death,

    and lead you straight to hell.

She has prevented many from considering the paths of life.

    Yes, she will take you with her where you don’t want to go,

    sliding down a slippery road

    and not even realizing where the two of you will end up!

A slippery road is not a very “Becoming” path and the author notes if you embark in that direction, not just one person, but both of you need to realize what the consequences will be. To be dragged down, live a life of he, embittered, depressed does not seem to be “sweet like honey”, and a few moments of pleasure do not make up for all the strife that can result.

As verse nine picks up with, 

In disgrace you will relinquish your honor to another,

    and all your remaining years will be squandered—

    given over to the cruel one.

Then continuing in verse ten is the question, “Why would you let strangers take away your strength”…? Not the word “let”. In other words, why are you allowing this to happen? 

In the case of consensual relations,  no one else is at fault,  we must accept the responsibility for our decisions, whether we believe it to be a pure act of love or not. And this is true if we are complicit or the initiator. 

Then in verse 13, the discussion asks us not to one day find ourselves asking, Why didn’t I take seriously the warning of my wise counselors? Why was I so stupid to think that I could get away with it?”

The second section of this chapter as I mentioned is one I have struggled with and have been guilty of. Yes I am freely admitting there was a season in my life when I literally laughed at the idea that Sex ( is to be) Reserved for Marriage. 

Sure I  had heard that, but I didn’t see it as the “normal” behavior in the culture and society I endured in my formative years and into young adulthood. I falsely believed it was an antiquated notion and as I struggled with overcoming and healing from the physical, emotional and sexual abuse I suffered in what should ahve been my childhood, I wrongly used sex as  weapon in what I thought at the time was reclaiming my power.

I was wrong. At the time I did not know the truth. I felt the consequences and have lived with the pain on all levels as a result. However, now I know. I repented, sought and accepted forgiveness and it is only now that I can freely claim that power I thought I was chasing.

You see it was not power over another I needed. It was the power of self discipline, self care, self respect and accepting the search for wisdom. Which is why i feel so strongly about this extended look into the quest for understanding we are currently sharing here on “Becoming Today”.

Now as the Scripture also clearly addresses, sex is not bad. It is not dirty. When undertaken as a deepening of intimacy. This is pointed out in verse 17, as we read again, “Reserve this pleasure for you and her ( the man and his wife) alone and do not share it with another”.

And continuing in verses 18 and 19, “Your sex life will be blessed  as you take joy and pleasure in” your  wife. “Let her breasts be your satisfaction, and let her embrace intoxicate you at all times. Be continually delighted and ravished with her love!”

And while I’m being open and honest here, I’ll give my testimony that it can truly be a blessing. When you are able to be completely, open and honestly intimate with your spouse, sexual relations can be a sacred experience, that transcends the body to envelope the heart and soul. 

Were he here today I believe my late husband would now fervently be giving an “Amen!”, as I mischievously smile and say he was indeed a lucky man. 

That said, we must still undertake the responsibility to not overdo things, everything in moderation right? In our ecstasy we need to ensure that we do not cross the lines between love and intimacy and physical, fleshly pleasure. Something touched upon in verses 22 and 23, 

“Beware that your sins don’t overtake you and that the scars of your own conscience don’t become the ropes that tie you up. Those who choose wickedness die for lack of self-control,for their foolish ways lead them astray, carrying them away as hostages— kidnapped captives robbed of destiny.”

I for one will not be robbed of my destiny. Nor will I any longer see it delayed or limited by my actions, missteps or blatant disregard for what I know is right. That is why I am  so committed to not only walk, living this path of always being “Becoming”, but also to share it’s benefits and rewards with you.

Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.

I hope you have enjoyed the first five days of this odyssey. There is much more to come.

As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate. 

If you do not feel comfortable sharing below, remember you can always reach out privately through the easy to use form on our Contact page.

I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared  journey we call “Becoming Today”. 

Footnotes

5:3 Some Jewish expositors view this “seductress” as a metaphor for heresy. She seduces, deceives, and drags to hell. For the believer, the seductress can be a picture of the false anointing of the religious spirit that attempts to seduce us, weaken our message, and rob the anointing of God from our ministries. Of course, there is also a clear and dire warning for all to stay sexually pure or face the consequences.

5:4 Or “conscience bitter as wormwood.” See Rev. 8:10–11.

5:5 Or “Sheol.” This is the Aramaic and Hebrew word for the place of the dead. The Greeks called it Hades. Sheol is not eternal: it will be destroyed. See Hos. 13:14 and Rev. 20:14.

5:9 This would be the devil, who torments the conscience as the result of this sin.

5:10 Or “wealth.” This could also refer to spiritual strength and wealth.

5:11 The Hebrew word translated here as “groan” is also used for the roar of a lion or the ocean’s roar.

5:11 Implied in the context of the topic of sexual promiscuity. The Hebrew word here means “diseases.”

5:14 See John 8:1–11.

5:17 Because of the sudden change in the Hebrew text to the masculine gender (“stranger” or “another”), there is an inference that men having sex with men is forbidden, as well as sex with a woman who is not your wife.

5:18 The Hebrew phrase used here includes the word fountain, which is an obvious metaphor for the sex act. The root word for fountain can also refer to the eyes. It may be a poetic subtlety that your eyes should only be on your wife, not on the nakedness of another. See v. 19.

5:19 The Hebrew includes a picturesque metaphor of the wife being like a “friendly deer and a favored filly.”

5:19 The Septuagint reads “let her share conversation with you.”

5:20 Or “breasts.”

The Passion Translation®. 
Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc

 

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