My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. For a prostitute is a deep pit; and an adulteress is a narrow well. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. (Proverbs 23:26-27,31-32)
Is it possible to stop desiring things that look so delightful? Take the examples of illicit sex and good wine. They both look so good and so desirable. How can we possibly avoid these things? Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t desire them at all? But how does a Christian do this? Sure, we know these things end in disaster. Our passage says that too much red wine or sex outside of life-long marriage between one man and one woman – both of these adventures will end in misery just like falling into a narrow well or being bitten by an adder. We know all this but they still seem so desirable. We could try and avoid them with extreme effort of will but what an unhappy life that will be! Rules don’t work either. Rules didn’t help Adam and Eve. Even though they knew it was wrong, they looked at the fruit and it seemed so delightful to the eyes and so desirable to the heart they gave in. Our passage gives us the only solution: Because our hearts only follow what we delight in, we need to find something more delightful than our sin. We need to fight desire with desire. We can only win the struggle against sin when we find a delight that can lessen and even eradicate other delights. The puritan Thomas Chalmers put it this way: “There is not one personal transformation in which the heart is left without an object of ultimate beauty and joy. The heart’s desire for one particular object can be conquered but its desire to have some object is unconquerable. The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.” Our text offers us a new object of delight. God Himself. God, like a tender caring Father says to us, “Give me your heart.” Look upon me and delight. Look at me and feast your eyes. Desire me more than anything. Delight in my ways. When our hearts love Him and His word, then, and only then, will we be safe. Believing in God will not be enough. Thinking God is true is not enough. We will only be saved from sin when we love God and His ways. PRAY that Jesus Christ, through the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit will give you a change of heart. Ask Him to help you delight in Him more than any of the seemingly delightful things that the world dangles in front of your eyes. When you see how delightful Jesus Christ really is these other desires will fade.