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Help for Fighting Lust: The Pious Prostitute

mousetrapProverbs spends a good deal of space revealing sensuality’s deception. The temptress (both real and fantastic,  live and pornographic) is “wily of heart” (Prov 7:10). She is a trickster. Indeed, she is a hunter (Prov 7:22-23)! She promises pleasure and safety, but ultimately delivers sorrow and death. Studying the nature of her deceptions as they are depicted in Proverbs will arm us against her—and against ourselves. I plan to invest several posts on this topic.

One of the more intriguing statements of Proverbs’ temptress is found in Proverbs 7:14. In the middle of her sensual and aggressive seduction, she suddenly turns the conversation to religion, of all things:

I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows.”

What’s that about. I’ve wondered about it for a long time, and I think it provides a number of lessons, both about the temptress and about us, the tempted. I suggest four (and I’d be glad to consider more):

“Just Win, Baby”

First, the immoral woman has no scruples whatsoever. She’ll talk religion, quote Scripture, whatever necessary. No surprise there, for her commander in chief is the father of lies who appears as an angel of light and ever has a verse of Scripture on his forked tongue (John 6:44; 2 Cor 11:13-15; Mat 4:6). The point? The temptress is ruthless; she has no conscious. She (and those selling her wares, on-line or elsewhere) will do or say anything necessary to score.

“Respectably Reprehensible”

The second observation is the most important, I think. Consider something: though the immoral woman will say anything, why would an appeal to religious observances be in her best interest? Obviously, she wouldn’t refer to paying vows and making sacrifices if it didn’t work—but why does it? Doesn’t it seem like it would have the opposite effect, touching her target’s conscience? Understanding what’s happening in this portion of the temptation means understanding ourselves in all of our despicable depravity. Here’s what I think, both from meditating on this text and from my own fallen nature: Christians are suckers for that which is simultaneously respectable and reprehensible. The seductress’ religious farce makes her—and therefore, us!—seem less vile. Somehow we convince ourselves that lusting after the proverbial “girl next door” is morally superior to lusting after some Vegas-type vixen. We’d never do that. We’re interested in, you know, wholesome harlots. (I speak as a fool.) Put it this way: the reason there are many “pious prostitutes” to be found in the world and in cyberspace is that there are many pious lusters eager to engage them. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9)

“Keep Your Guard Up”

A third point for consideration is this: There’s a reason why so many pastors who fail morally do so with church members, and it’s essentially the same reason described above. We’re not so wicked (we piously figure) that we’d go after a hooker. Satan knows this, and he’s okay with it. He’ll put that lure back in the tackle box for another fish. This one—the big one—is more likely to go after a secretary or a deacon’s wife (or daughter). Think about it. Isn’t it true that most pastors you know who have forfeited their ministries for a few moments of pleasure did so with someone from their church? Satan knows that we’re more apt to fall for a fellow believer than someone notoriously easy. We should know it, too, and we should therefore protect ourselves (Prov 22:3). We should have our guard as high for the long-term church member in the modest knee-length dress as for the visitor in the miniskirt—if not higher.

“Thou Art the Man”

Finally, everyone will acknowledge that there is something uniquely perverse about the idea of the temptress worshiping in the morning then fornicating in the evening. Again, though, think about it. Isn’t that what every believer does when he lusts or commits a sexual sin (or any other sin). Aren’t we but a few hours or days away from worship anytime we yield to temptation? Aren’t we essentially as guilty and hypocritical as the pious prostitute from Proverbs 7:14? We are—and we need great doses of gospel grace, both to forgive us for sins of the past and to deliver us from sins of the future.

More on that later.


Note: This is my second “Help for Fighting Lust” post. The first (available here) argued that we need to be transparent as we battle lust, acknowledging our need of help. My candor in this series is not intended to shock or even tempt readers. Rather, as J. C. Ryle (one of my spiritual heroes) said regarding lust in his classic book Thoughts for Young Men, “The world becomes more wicked because of our failure to teach and preach on [the seventh] commandment.” What we may call discretion in addressing the topic of lust with care (or avoiding it altogether) he called “false and unscriptural delicacy” that leaves us particularly susceptible to temptation. He urged apostolic boldness and candor. It is my prayer that these meditations and warnings will help those who read even as the Lord helps me.

As always, your comments are very welcome.


7 Responses

  1. Thank you Chris. Not only for your transparency and candor, but for taking JC Ryle’s advice and speaking on this issue with boldness.

  2. […] Here is a continuation of Chris Anderson’s series on Help for Fighting Lust. Very good stuff, I encourage you to check out his blog. […]

  3. You’re welcome, Jon.

    (chirp, chirp) :)

  4. Great insight as usual, Chris. Will you be preaching a series on lust? I’d love to hear it.

  5. […] Chris Anderson has written two very helpful articles on lust. I found them to be refreshingly practical and spiritually uplifting […]

  6. […] two entries in the “Help for Fighting Lust” series can be found here (Transparency) and here (The Pious […]

  7. Traiteur Rabat Regal; Traiteur de ronome au Maroc

    This is my expert

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