Chapter 10 "Various Trials"

Consider it all joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith
produces endurance.
—James 1:2–3


What is God’s purpose for our tests, temptations, trials, and tribulations? Many Christians have no idea why God allows our sufferings. Without our understanding of this, is it any wonder that Christians today are so easily defeated? We will see that there are many benefits that come from our trials and tests, specifically the building of our faith and the endurance needed to finish the course set before us.

The most important thing that we need to realize during our trials, tribulations, tests, and temptations is that God is in control! It is His hand that allows these trials to touch us or not to touch us. When He does allow it, He sends His grace and mercy, which enable us to endure.

Temptations. The temptations that we experience, Scripture tells us, are common to man, yet God does provide a way of escape. “No temptation has overtaken you but that which is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Temptations are brought on by our own lusts. God cannot tempt us to do evil; it is our lusts that tempt us. “Let no one say when he is being tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust” (James 1:13). When we think of lust, we usually think of something sexual. However, the lust that the Bible refers to is greed for all things that feed our flesh; this includes getting our own way.

We are in His hand. “For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God” (Eccl. 9:1).

Permission for adversity. One of the most comforting things to know is that Satan cannot touch us without God’s permission. “Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him’” (Job 1:12). Satan not only needed permission, but he was also given specific instructions on how he could touch Job. Satan also asked for permission to sift Peter. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat . . .” (Luke 22:31).

Repentance and salvation. “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:9). God allows us to be sorrowful to bring us to repentance. When we try to make our wives (or others) sorry for what they have done, it will not bring true and genuine repentance.

We need grace. “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12: 9–10). How do we get the grace we need? We gain grace through humility.

“God hates the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

“For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:14).

“Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).

“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Prov. 29:23).

Boasting about our weaknesses, confessing our faults, and being humble will enable the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. This is how we will learn to be content, no matter what our circumstances.

Learning contentment. We see that we must learn contentment through the difficult circumstances that God allows. “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. In every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Phil. 4:11).

Learning obedience. Even Jesus learned obedience from His suffering. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).

He will perfect us. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).Once God has begun a good work in you, your wife, or your loved ones, He will complete it.

We are to be a comfort to others. We are not merely to accept God’s comfort—we are commanded to give that comfort to others, no matter what their affliction! “The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3–4). Many men have difficulty comforting those who suffer. Some can’t even comfort their wives or children (sometimes because they are the cause of the pain).

If we neglect our responsibility to comfort our loved ones, they will turn to others (which can be dangerous), and we will miss a blessing. The blessing is the chance to be closer to the person whom we comfort. Men, we need to comfort other men, especially those who are experiencing marital troubles. If we don’t, they may turn to another woman (not their wife) for help. Be willing to humble yourself and share your weaknesses and failures so that your friend will feel able to share his with you. Take down the wall of pride; God will exalt you. Let yourself “boast” about your weaknesses as Paul did.

Our Father’s discipline. Many times our suffering could be God’s discipline for disobeying His Law. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are being reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons. He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness” (Heb. 12:5–11).

Discipline is a blessing. When we follow the example of the prophets of the Bible, we will be helping others to endure their adversity. “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (James 5:10). Men need to see other men enduring temptations and suffering, not compromising, but standing for what is right. Many of us are preoccupied with enduring things that have no eternal value, enduring things that are merely trivial.

Discipline may be sorrowful. Discipline is never joyful when you are in the midst of it. Yet, those who have been trained by His discipline know the rewards of righteousness—it brings peace. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful (painful); yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb.12:11). Those who are athletes take sports training seriously—what about faith training? How much more should we be “trained” (by suffering) to receive the peaceful fruit of righteousness!

To receive a blessing. When evil is done to us or insults are cast our way, we must endure, without returning evil, to receive our blessing. We need to remember that insults and evils are brought into our lives to give us an “opportunity“ to receive a blessing. First Peter 3:9 says, “Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead, for you were called for the very purpose that you may inherit a blessing.” “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed” (1 Pet. 3:14). How about you—are you able to resist the temptation to blast someone back, including your wife, when an insult is directed at you?

It begins with Christians. Why must suffering first begin with Christians? It begins with Christians because sinful, disobedient Christians will never draw others to the Lord. Again, it is the “will of God” that we are put through sufferings. We need to allow ourselves to suffer (usually at the hands of another) by entrusting ourselves to God. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Pet. 4:17).

The power of our faith. It is faith that opens the door to miracles. You need to believe that He is able and not doubt it in your heart. “And Jesus answered saying to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea, and does not doubt it in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray, they shall be granted unto you’” (Mark 11:22–24).

God in His Word has told us we will suffer. “For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. For this reason, when I could endure it no longer; I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain” (1 Thess. 3:4–5). Don’t give up! Don’t let Satan steal the blessings that God has in store for you when you have endured and prevailed!

With God. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). “Looking upon them, Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God’” (Matt. 19:26). Nothing (not a thing) is impossible with God. Work with God. And since He is not a respecter of persons, “What He’s done for others, He’s going to do for you!”

What you speak. “. . . Let us hold fast our confession” (Heb. 4:14). “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). “If it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not . . .” (Dan. 3:17). We need to speak what God says in His Word, without wavering, with hope on our lips. But wait until you are asked to give an account. You will be asked, if you are filled with the joy of the Lord during the midst of your adversity! When you are asked to give an account, be sure that you answer the other person with reverence, respect, and gentleness. Never argue Scripture! “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

Gird your mind and stay fixed. “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13). (The word sober means clear thinking.) Be clear in your mind on how you stand to avoid the consequences of double-mindedness. Also, be assured that you cannot fight a spiritual battle if you are not physically sober. If you are a slave to alcohol, you are going to have trouble battling the evil thoughts and temptations that will eventually destroy you and your home.

Be joyful. We are to be joyful in our trials because we know they are producing endurance that will enable us to finish the course set before us. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives it to all men without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:2–6). We know our faith is being tested. Doubts and temptations come into everyone’s minds; don’t entertain them! Instead, think on Truth only. If you doubt, you will have trouble standing and it will be tougher to overcome the temptations. Certainly, we will have a variety of trials, some major and others mere irritations. Some of us seem to handle major trials better than the little irritations that plague us every day. What grade would your wife give you on the test of your faith? We need to endure our sufferings as Job did.

Rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men, the Lord is near! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there is any excellence or anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you” (Phil. 4:6–9). Clearly, most battles are won or lost in the mind. Follow the Lord’s advice for peace in the midst of trials. Rejoice in what God is doing. Think on these things, speak of these things, and listen to only these things. You may be physically strong and in great shape, but how strong are you spiritually?

Faith is not seen. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Others will want to know how things are going when they know you are experiencing trials in your life. They are looking for signs of improvement. We must remember that Scripture is very clear: faith is unseen! Answer their question with, “God is working!” “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us a far more eternal weight in glory far beyond comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16–18). Most people start believing when they begin to see something happening—this is not faith! “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).

Momentary. When we are experiencing what Paul calls “light affliction,” it may still be crushing us. Let us remind ourselves of an important truth: these afflictions are only momentary. “For our momentary light afflictions . . . which are seen are temporal!” (2 Cor. 4:18).These same afflictions are not only temporary, but they are producing something wonderful for us in glory. Remember, the suffering is temporary and the benefits will last an eternity! We go “through” the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23). We go “through” the deserts (Isa. 48:21). God does not intend for us to live there, but only to pass through! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched . . .” (Isa. 43:2).

Tied up, but not alone! Are you tied up and bound by sin? Another benefit to our passing through affliction is noted in the book of Daniel; the youths went in “tied up” but left “loosed,” without any other outward appearances. “Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps, and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. For this reason, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, ‘Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’ Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!’ Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them” (Dan. 3:21–27). What will your testimony be? Will you allow yourself to walk into the fiery furnace without kicking, screaming, or complaining?

Looking at our circumstances. When Peter looked at his circumstances, he sank—and you will too. “And He said ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matt. 14:29–31).

For our testing. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2).

More precious than gold. The proof of your faith is more precious than gold. “In this you greatly rejoice, even though for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6–7). So many have failed their tests and have continued to walk in the desert as the people of Israel did. Don’t be one of them.

Keep the faith. Do not turn in another direction when things get tough. Satan is known for bringing new (and wrong) solutions to our trials; this is a test of our faith. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness . . .” (2 Tim. 4:7). As the leader of your family, keeping a steady direction is a must!

Ask God for another man who will stand with you. Find another who will help you to stand and not to bend from your commitment. “Two are better than one for they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three is not easily broken” (Eccl. 4:9–12). Since a cord of three is not easily broken, try to find two others who will stand, encourage you, and keep you firm in the direction of your faith. Here are some examples of “cords of three” found in the Scriptures:

Moses, Aaron, and Hur: “But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set” (Exod. 17:12).

Also Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the book of Daniel, chapter 3.

Paul, Luke, and Timothy. When Paul was in prison, he had two men to help encourage him. When Demas left, Paul sent for Timothy. We are told that Demas left because the cares of the world choked the Word from him. The following verse tells us how: “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the Word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22). Scripture says specifically that we can become “unfruitful” because of worry and also because of riches. So let us be careful not to worry about our circumstances or get caught up in money matters or our possessions. We need to trust that “our God will supply all our needs” (Phil. 4:19), even when it doesn’t “look like” there will be enough money. Many Christians have fallen from their faith because the Word was choked out as a result of financial problems.

Ask God for guidance through trials. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–7). Let us call on Him for strength, draw close to Him in our time of need. Let us allow Him to discipline us, try us, and test us. Let us rejoice always in all things, not just the good things, but also in the troubles that come our way. Let us keep our hope close to our lips and stay steadfast in our minds. Let us always remember that it is His will that we face these hard times and that they are for our good!

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
—Romans 8:28

Let us rejoice that He considers us worthy to suffer for His name!
—Acts 5:41

Here are Scripture verses to run to during your various trials:

God is in control, not man and not Satan.

  1. Justice is from the Lord (Prov. 29:26).
  2. An answer is from the Lord (Prov. 16:1).
  3. The Lord turns the heart (Prov. 21:1).
  4. Their deeds are in God’s hand (Eccl. 9:1).
  5. Thou (God) hast done it (Ps. 44:9–15).
  6. He (God) raised the storm (Ps. 107:1–32).
  7. He (God) removed lover and friend (Ps. 88:8, 18).

What do our trials do for us?

  1. So the power of Christ will dwell in us (2 Cor. 12:9–10).
  2. So we will learn to be content (Phil. 4:9).
  3. So we will receive a reward (2 Tim. 4:7–8).
  4. So we lack nothing (James 1:2–4).
  5. To enable us to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3–4).
  6. To perfect what He started in us (Phil. 1:6–13).
  7. To have our loved one back (Phlm. 1:15–16).
  8. To receive mercy (Heb. 4:15).
  9. To learn obedience (Heb. 5:7–8).
  10. To produce endurance (James 1:2–4).
  11. To receive the crown of life (James 1:12).
  12. To prove our faith (1 Pet. 1:6–7).
  13. To follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21).
  14. To share in His sufferings (1 Pet. 3:13).
  15. To be perfect, confirmed, strengthened, and established (1 Pet. 5:10).

Part 2

Now flee from youthful lusts,
and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace,
with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
—2 Timothy 2:22

One of the strongest temptations that men face today is sexual immorality. There are many forms of sexual immorality, including, but are not limited to, adultery, pornography, and masturbation. We are going to focus primarily on Scriptures about “adultery,” since this is the sin that I fell into. If it were not for God’s divine mercy, and my precious wife demonstrating a love for me beyond what I thought was humanly possible, I would have completely destroyed my family.

These Scriptures from Proverbs speak to a son from his father. Please accept these verses from me as your Christian brother.

My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
That you may observe discretion,
And your lips may reserve knowledge.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
And smoother than oil is her speech;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death,

Her steps lay hold of Sheol.
She does not ponder the path of life;
Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.
Now then, my sons, listen to me,
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house,
Lest you give your vigor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
Lest strangers be filled with your strength,
And your hard-earned goods go to the house of an alien;
And you groan at your latter end,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
And you say, ‘How I have hated instruction!

And my heart spurned reproof!
And I have not listened to the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to my instructors!
I was almost in utter ruin
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.’
Drink water from your own cistern [your own wife],
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her [your wife’s] breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress,
And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He watches all his paths.
His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.
—Proverbs 5:1–23

What can we learn from Scripture about the adulterer and the adulteress?

It is her words that will pull you into adultery. “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it” (Prov. 5:3–6). With this in mind, be very careful who you talk to. I would suggest not talking to other women, period! If you work with women, be extremely careful! This is where the majority of men fall into the pit of adultery, at their places of work! How do I know? That’s where I fell! Also, Erin has counseled hundreds of women whose husbands have left them for other women, and she says nine out of ten times it was someone they met at work.

And men, don’t get involved in “chat rooms” on the Internet! This is Satan’s latest tool for destroying marriages and families. Don’t be so stupid as to think it couldn’t happen to you! We personally know of several men who began their adultery on the Internet. Men, sexual adultery begins with emotional adultery. Did you hear what I just said? Sexual adultery begins with emotional adultery. I have heard married Christian men and women say they use Internet chat rooms to witness. This is very naive and foolish thinking. Though they have the best of intentions, sin is crouching at the door. Don’t be fooled—it’s a trap!

Men, let me make this perfectly clear. Do not be drawn into a conversation with any woman other than your wife! If you ignore this warning, as I did, you most likely will live to regret it.

The adulterous woman will use her speech (how she talks to you and what she says to you) to pull you into adultery and into spiritual death. “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to slaughter. So he does not know it will cost him his life” (Prov. 7:21–23). Many women whose husbands have fallen into the pit of adultery have reported that they warned their husbands, yet they never heeded their warnings. So many times we ignore our wives’ warnings, to our own destruction. “And while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his (Pilate’s) wife sent to him, saying, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him’” (Matt. 27:19). Oh, if only I had heeded the cautions of my wife.

Once again, it is the words of the adulterous woman that will pull you into adultery. “That they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words” (Prov. 7:5). The adulteress flatters: “A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his steps” (Prov. 29:5). When someone flatters, the heart or motivation is to “get something.”

Her smooth tongue. Again, it is her smooth speech that eventually will pull you into adultery and cause you to suffer financially also. “To keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, do not let her catch you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, and his reproach will not be blotted out” (Prov. 6:24–33). “Do not let her catch you with her eyelids” (Prov. 6:25).

Now, do you understand why I have warned you not to talk to a woman other than your wife? If you ignore the Bible’s warnings, you can expect a fall.

Keeping company with a harlot. God says that a man who keeps company with a harlot will suffer financially. “He who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth” (Prov. 29:3). Several women have come to Erin over the years and told her that because their husbands were so successful in business, they didn’t think this biblical principle could apply to them. But Erin knew that God’s Word applies to all. Every one of these women later came to her and told of their husband’s financial collapse. I, too, suffered financial collapse (and my family suffered right along with me). What a fool! Men, I pray with all my heart that you are taking this all in.

A slave of the one whom you obey. You must understand that the adulteress is basically, as they say, out to get you. But let me also say that many times this adulterous woman has no idea that she is being used by the devil to destroy a man and his family. “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). Often the adulterous woman is hurting. Perhaps she’s hurting because her husband or boyfriend has left her, or she may be living in a troubled marriage. The trap is laid when she begins sharing her hurts with you, and you begin to sympathize with her and offer suggestions. Don’t play with fire! If a woman begins to open up to you by sharing her hurts or feelings—flee! Don’t worry about being rude. All you have to say is “I’m not the person you should be talking to about this—please excuse me.” Then get away. Again, don’t be concerned about hurting her feelings. Avoiding this trap for the sake of your wife and children is a million times more important!

A harlot is usually out of her home. “A woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart, she is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home” (Prov. 7:5). This could be the woman you work with, whom you sit next to on the airplane, or even the woman who is “out” on the Internet!

We must seek wisdom. “Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings: ‘How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil” (Prov. 1:20–33).

Men, please stay away from any woman who is not your wife! Friendly conversation can quickly move to intimate conversation, and you will be as an ox led to slaughter.

Personal commitment: To “consider it all joy” when I encounter various trials. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to allow the testing of my faith to help produce my endurance. And I will let endurance have its perfect result, that I may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

“Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on, in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12).

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