In the first four verses of the book of Proverbs, we find Solomon’s purpose for writing the book. “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 1:1–4).
Although anyone can learn from the lessons contained in this book, Solomon repeatedly addresses young people. It is clear that this wise king realized the importance of teaching responsible behavior, in the home, in preparation for the time when children would grow up and have to face the world on their own. That is why he wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Dealing with sexual impulses is one of the greatest challenges that nearly all young people will face. The consequences of failing to meet this challenge successfully are serious, with far-reaching and life-changing effect. We know that, if we repent of our sin, God will forgive us and wash us clean of that sin. But He does not always remove the consequences of our actions.
Solomon’s warnings give us an opportunity to learn the lessons he learned, but without having to go through the physical, emotional and mental pain that results from violating God’s law regarding sex outside of marriage. We have a choice, and God warns us of the results of choosing the immoral path: “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; 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 hell. Lest you ponder her path of life—her ways are unstable; you do not know them. Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house,” (Proverbs 5:1–8).
Also notice Proverbs 6:23–28: “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread [meaning that, to her, you are just another way to make a living]; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” And: “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away” (vv. 32–33).
Of all the decisions you will make as a young person this may be the most important one. The choices you make regarding dating, sex, and marriage affect not only you but everyone around you. It is important that you decide ahead of time what kind of people you will and will not date. Decide now, based on God’s law, what you will and will not do—and stick to your decision! The greatest form of protection against pregnancy, disease, heartbreak, and mental and emotional scarring is to know the boundaries God has set—and to adhere to them! Abstain from sex outside of marriage! Do not cave in to pressure, and do not compromise your values! Never allow yourself to get into a situation where you are tempted to sin. But, if you find yourself in a compromising situation, flee (1 Corinthians 6:18)!
That is what Joseph did. Notice: “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife. ‘Look, my master… has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’… But it happened… when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled” (Genesis 39:6–13).
It is a fact that, for a young healthy person, the sex drive is strong. It is also true that without it, the human race would cease to exist. It just needs to be used with the right person, at the right time, within the confines of a marriage. Sex outside of marriage is sin! It will lead to the destruction of the individual, the family, the community, and ultimately the nation as a whole. It takes discipline and character to do the right thing, but it’s well worth it.
If you are a sexually active teen, you have a one-in-four probability of picking up a sexually transmitted disease this year. If you find that shocking, consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that half of all sexually active young Americans will contract a sexually transmitted disease by age 25.
“In 1950 there were two well-known types of STDs. Today there are more than 25. In the U.S. alone, more than three million teens pick up an STD annually. Given that there are only about 28 million teenagers, that’s a bunch! The effects of these STDs are as ugly as their names; gonorrhea, syphilis, crabs, warts, chancroid, chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, human papilloma virus, herpes.… STDs can cause cervical cancer, genital warts, sterility, infertility, and diseases that can be passed on to unborn and new babies. They are a source of pain and depression, and can ultimately kill you! The younger you are, the more susceptible your body is to picking something up, because teens have a lower level of antibodies, which fight infection, than adults” (The Six Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, Sean Covey, p. 202).
Some STDs are incurable, including herpes, the human papilloma virus and AIDS! Consider also the emotional impact of sex, and the fact that sexual immorality is linked to guilt and depression.
Do the right thing! Uphold godly standards in this area of your life and be richly blessed for doing so. Heed the advice given by wise king Solomon and avoid the negative consequences rendered.