Service Video Message Video Message Audio The service video is unavailable at this time. The sermon video is unavailable at this time. The sermon audio is unavailable at this time. Scripture Verses Hebrews 13:4, Proverbs 5:1-23, Downloads & Resources Showing Discretion Dr. Jon Morrissette - 2/8/2004 Imagine if youth always learned from and never repeated the mistakes and foolishness of the previous generation. Imagine if each successive generation turned out better than last. Now that has definitely happened in my case, but what about in your case? The Proverbs were a tool for passing time-tested wisdom down through the generations. They were intended to better the next generation and to protect it from repeating the mistakes and foolishness that the previous generation had made. Fathers could use the Proverbs to instruct their sons. Mothers used them to instruct their daughters. For once, youth could be put in an advantageous position to successfully deal with life’s challenges, instead of being destined to fail. Sage advice for today's world. A few weeks back, Chris and Michelle’s stuff arrived in Springfield via a moving company. One of the movers was a young 18 or 19 year old. He didn’t care much for his job, but who could blame him? I wouldn’t want to move Chris’s stuff either! Actually, there were other reasons he didn’t like his job. He was being taken advantage of. He had spent the last four weeks traveling throughout the United States, sleeping in his moving truck, showering at truck stops, living on cash tips, finding nourishment at fast food shops and never getting any real rest or break. He got paid one hundred dollars a day, but was on the move 24 hours a day. The truck he and his non-English speaking partner drove didn’t have a sleeper bed. If he wasn’t driving the truck, he was sleeping in the front seat of the truck. If he wasn’t sleeping or driving in the front seat of the truck, he was loading or unloading the truck. That night they finished unloading the truck by4 PM, but they were expected to be in Ohio first thing in the morning to move another unsuspecting family! His fear was that he was growing old and like his family, would end up with nothing in life. I asked him if he ever considered the possibility of being a millionaire. He looked at me like I was crazy. I told him that at his young age if he put just two days of wages, two hundred dollars, into a mutual fund every month he would become a millionaire. Through the miracle of compounding interest he would comfortably retire at age fifty-nine and a half with more than enough money to provide for his needs. He wouldn’t have to spend his life living in some truck, being taken advantage of. Imagine if such advice relevant to every area of life was passed down through the generations. A lot of people today, old as well as young, are destined to fail. They will fail because the simple fact is that they have not received the wisdom of the previous generation. Most people are just plugging along the only way they know how. The way that seems right. But why struggle through our entire lives only to realize that things could be vastly better if only we had ____ ? You fill in the blank. Why repeat the previous generation’s mistakes and foolishness? Why not learn and grow? This is why the Proverbs are indispensable. God’s wisdom consistently puts us ahead of the unmerciful learning curve of life. It's tangible. It's practical. It's relevant. It's life-saving. It works. It gives us success. Following God's wisdom insures our success in life. This week and next we are going to look at some teaching in Proverbs on family relationships. One passage that caught my attention was Proverbs 5 which concerns an older man taking time to give a younger man godly wisdom on being pure. This passage parallels Hebrews 13:4 (NIV) which says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." In this passage the older man is passionately concerned that his son’s marriage is being threatened by the seductive lure of another man’s wife. He wants to protect him from the dangers of infidelity, sparing him hardship in this life and sparing him God’s judgment in the next life. Proverbs talks about discretion as part of successful living. Proverbs 5:1-2 (NIV) begins, "My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge." In this passage the father’s goal is for the son to maintain discretion. Discretion concerns a person’s ability to be careful and discerning, to maintain self-control, to avoid evil, to exercise good judgment in all of life’s relationships, and especially with members of opposite sex. Last week's half-time Super Bowl stunt is evidence of how our culture lacks discretion. And we are all part of a culture that lacks discretion. We are affected. We are vulnerable. We must be vigilant and discerning. Marriage isn’t honored. The marriage bed isn’t kept pure. Instead, our culture debases itself. Our culture strips away all decency and restraint. It pushes the boundaries. It attempts to seduce us into every imaginable form of immorality, destroying the very fabric of marriage and eroding the foundation of healthy families.Maintain discretion by Dealing with Reality It is interesting that in thousands of years since the writing of Proverbs, human nature has not changed. A lack of discretion is as much, if not more, of a threat to strong, healthy marriages today as it was back then. Thus, as in Proverbs 5 , "My son, pay attention and listen well." This morning I want share God’s wisdom on maintaining discretion. We are all familiar with the picture painted in Proverbs 5:3-6 (NIV). "For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not." As we saw last week, this passage speaks of a false promise of intimacy and love. There is the illusion of excitement and pleasure. A woman lacking discretion. A woman of no moral restraint. A woman who pushes the boundaries. A woman with smooth words, who says whatever you want to hear and believe. But then there is reality. Things aren’t as they appear. There is another side. There is a hardened, bitter soul. There is a woman of deep hurt and pain who lashes out with sharp words. There is a woman recklessly living a godless lifestyle of death. She is destroying herself, destroying her marriage, destroying her children, and destroying anyone who gets in her way. In the end, you become a means to her selfish end. Her steps lead straight to the grave. If you ever find yourself charmed by the notion of adultery or sexual immorality, take the strongest dose of reality you can find. In Proverbs the older man is saying, "Look closer my son. Things aren’t as they appear. Take off the rose-colored glasses. Look beyond the lies." Who is this person? What makes her tick? What am I to them? Why me? Why now? Where is she headed? Where will she take me? What’s her track record? If she is doing this to her spouse now, will she do it to me later? What will this indiscretion do to my marriage? What will this do to my children? What will this do to the other person’s marriage or to her children? What will others think about me when they hear of this? What will I think of myself? Will I even be able to look in the mirror? What will be the spiritual repercussions? The financial ramifications? What will come of my reputation? My friendships? My employment? My esteem? My confidence? Have I considered what has come of others who committed adultery? Is this really what God wants? Is this even what I want? Do I know what I am getting into? A dose of reality is typically sufficient to put us back on the straight and narrow path. In college, a professor offered a chilling description of how adultery destroys a person’s heart, mind, body and soul. When he finished he said, "No woman is worth that. And ladies, no man is worth it either." But sometimes it isn’t enough to get a dose of reality. Sometimes an individual is so captivating that she overwhelms the senses and emotions. Her perfume or cologne. Her eyes. Her hair. Her figure. Her smile. You can’t help yourself. You are drawn to her in every way. There is a magnetic appeal. Maintain discretion by avoiding temptationIn Proverbs 5:7-14 (NIV) the father says, "Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and your body are spent. You will say, ‘How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly." If a reality check doesn’t get the job done, let your feet get the job done. If being around an individual arouses impure desires, then don’t go around her. Don’t walk by her cubicle. Don’t take lunch at the same time. Don’t go to that party. Don’t offer her a ride home. Don’t sit at the same table. Don’t enter the same room. Don’t glance in her direction. Don’t walk in proximity of her scent. You know the adage. If you don’t want your kids to have candy, don’t take them down the candy aisle at the supermarket. Avoid the temptation altogether. Along with the reality check, avoiding temptation is the key to maintaining discretion. Maintain discretion by receiving godly counsel. Yet another obvious component to maintaining discretion is receiving godly counsel. It is amazing how those closest to us smell danger long before it overtakes us. If someone asks questions about the appropriateness of a relationship you have or is uncomfortable with your behavior around someone, pay attention. "You are overly friendly with that person. She seems a bit over-interested in you. People are wondering about you two. Should you be doing that?" In Proverbs 5:7-14 the father warns his sons. If you don’t listen while you still have the opportunity to change your ways, you will regret it. Some day you are going to look back on this moment and say, "Ooouupp! I was such a fool! I was so ignorant! I hated discipline! I spurned correction! I didn’t obey! I didn’t listen! I am ruined!" Maintain discretion by focusing your desires. In Proverbs 5:15-20 (NIV) the father continues, "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers? May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?" A reality check reconnects cause and effect, choice and consequence, the present and future. Avoiding temptation and receiving godly counsel allows you to steer clear of danger. Focusing your desires in appropriate ways insures that you stay out of danger for life. Your mind is a powerful tool. This is why television, internet, pornography, soap operas, lust, fantasy, self-gratification, and so many other things are so dangerous. You can reinforce whatever good or evil desire you choose. You can find satisfaction in your wife if you choose to do so. Or you can reinforce dissatisfaction and discontentment. Men, fixate on your wife. Let her captivate your wildest imagination. Honor your marriage. Keep your marriage bed pure. Consider the advice Paul gives Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:2 (NIV), "Treat older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." Every woman around you is either your mother or your sister. Every woman except your wife. Your wife is the only available, interesting chick on the face of the earth. Maintaining discretion by fearing God. In Proverbs 5:21-23 (NIV) the father concludes, "For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly." God not only sees our actions, but he sees our hearts as well. God examines our paths. He scrutinizes our paths. He knows even what others do not know. Let God set your paths straight. Let him show you the way of discipline and life. Discretion brings true joy and lasting satisfaction. The truth is that we aren’t just talking about sexual purity this morning. We are illustrating a principle of life that applies to every area of life, whether you are a man or a woman. Discretion brings true joy and lasting satisfaction. You will be most satisfied when you see the destructive power of sin for what it is. You will be most satisfied when you steer completely away from and avoid temptation. You will be most satisfied when you receive regular doses of godly counsel. Godly counsel comes from the godly people who speak truth into your life through activities like worship, Lifestage Bible Fellowships and Life Groups. You will be most satisfied when you focus your desires in God-honoring ways. You will be most satisfied when you fear God, aligning your path with his. Bringing your life under the control of his Holy Spirit. Submitting to his will. Yielding to his Son. Discretion is a wonderful thing. Why struggle through life only to realize that things could be better if only you had---______ . You fill in the blank. Why repeat the previous generation’s mistakes and foolishness? Why not learn and grow? God’s wisdom is tangible, practical, relevant, and life-saving. It works. It gives success.