Dear Young People,

Learning From Good and Bad Examples
We learn from the wise—how we ought to live. That is why in the last issue we were introduced to the wise and virtuous woman of Proverbs 31.
We learn from the foolish—how we ought not to live. In this lesson, we look at the foolish young man of Proverbs 7.

Text: Prov 7: 1-27
Stop! Open your Bible and read the text.

This passage throws light on sin in general and sexual immorality in particular. We see a young man ‘without sense’ who is deceived and trapped by a wicked woman. The deception happens slowly and although there is time to escape, the young man is careless. His end came suddenly and violently:

Prov 7:23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life.
Prov 7:27 Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.

He was careless from the beginning and suddenly it was too late. He lost his life. Before he actually went with the woman, he made a series of mistakes.

Match the Following
A list of these mistakes has been provided for you. Can you match them with the right scripture references?

The Mistakes

  1. Passing along the street near her corner
  2. Taking the path to her house
  3. Allowing her to hold him
  4. Allowing her to kiss him
  5. Listening to her talk
  6. Allowing himself to be persuaded by her
  7. Following her to her house

The scriptures (Prov 7)

  1. Verse 13
  2. Verses 14-21
  3. Verse 8
  4. Verse 22
  5. Verse 21
  6. Verse 8
  7. Verse 13

Sin comes upon us suddenly when we least expect it. That is why the Bible speaks about the deceitfulness of sin. The word ‘deceitful’ may be a difficult word for some of you. It means that sin is cunning and crafty.

A Word for Young Men
Especially in the issue of sex, you must be very very careful not to play with danger. Do not go anywhere near someone who will make you sin. Avoid them. Flee from them. Do you remember how Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife? Do not read books that will give you wrong thoughts. Do not see programs on TV or in magazines that are not wholesome.

Young men, learn to avoid other young men who spend time looking at young women passing by and making comments about them in a way that dishonors them. Learn to say “No” to those who may want you to see a filthy picture or take part in any activity that is unclean.

It will not be possible to avoid all potentially dangerous situations. These days, young people who are in college or are working have many chances to be alone with members of the opposite sex. You may be on a project together and this could involve traveling together. Sometimes, you may work together to handle a difficult situation at work. These things can bring about a bonding that is not wrong in itself but which in some cases can bring a young man and woman dangerously close to sin. Your safety lies in avoiding physical contact and undue closeness from the beginning and throughout. Remember that sin is deceitful. Remember the young man of Proverbs 7.

A Word for Young Women
Young women, when you move with young men, be polite but reserved. Women are by nature more interested in the people around them. God has designed them that way so that they may nurture their husbands and families. Outside the home, women must keep this gift in check. Keep your conversation at a cheerful but reserved level. Avoid asking questions about family matters and other personal matters. If you are asked such questions, be wise in your answers. Young women, understand that young men are wired differently from you. Even kindness can send a wrong signal. If a male student or colleague is unwell, don’t rush to administer aid. That is not your job. Of course, if the situation is serious and someone is in much distress, you will need to act, but with wisdom. Remember that sin is deceitful. Remember the young man of Proverbs 7.

How Not To Be Deceived by Sin
All this is not easy to do. But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. When the Bible speaks about the deceitfulness of sin and how it can harden your heart, it also gives you a way of escape. There are two special scriptures for you to remember that teach you how you can be motivated to escape the snare of sin and walk in holiness.

Scripture 1: Heb 12:1-2
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This passage offers two facts that should motivate us to walk in holiness. Firstly, we have so many role models (a cloud of witnesses) who have walked this same path before us, and they have successfully completed the race. The same Lord who helped them will help us also. Secondly, we have the greatest Motivator and Example before us—Jesus—who walked the path of holiness Himself, being tempted in everything just like we are tempted. We must look to Him and follow His example.

Scripture 2: Heb 3:13
but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Clearly, this verse teaches us that believers in the church must meet frequently and motivate one another. At EBA, we have the fellowship of other like-minded believers. What a blessing!

Paul’s Advice To Young Timothy
Let us conclude this lesson with the advice that Paul gave young Timothy in 1 Tim 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

(Nahomi Dhinakar; Published in Youth Column of Dhyanamlar Jun 2004) Click here for other Youth Column articles