23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.
Sometimes, though we trust in the Lord, we do not know what He wants from us. Sometimes we feel so unworthy of His help that we think our problems are something we should deal with on our own, especially if we have done things to bring our troubling circumstances upon ourselves.
When we feel this way, do we put our trust in Jesus fully as we should, or are we tempted to put our trust in things of this world? When we take our eyes off Jesus, the “strange woman” is there, beckoning to us.
Her ways can seem beautiful for a time. She promises relief from the struggles we endure—struggles that the Lord has ordained for our good, even if it does not seem so at the time. She promises security, comfort, and hope of an easier future if we will only turn away from the difficulties our Lord commands.
Jesus does not lie or sugar coat things. He tells us when we are about to take a hard path. The ways of the “strange woman” will always lie to us, telling us just what we want to hear so that we might escape from the good, yet difficult, path Jesus would have us walk.
This scenario can play out in a variety of ways. Sometimes we are faced with a difficult life choice, and we know that the hard road is best. Yet, we see another way that seems easier, and we begin to rationalize taking that simpler road. We might even us the scripture to do so. Before long, that easy road leads to a mess of trouble that we did not see coming, and it would have been better if we had trusted in the path that our Lord placed in front of us.
We cannot gain the world and gain Jesus also.
Though we suffer, Jesus already suffered for us and He prepares our way ahead of time.
We might feel as though we do not deserve His help, but we cannot allow that feeling to tempt us into trusting in ourselves or trusting in this world. Jesus is there. If we focus on Him, we will not be led astray by temptations of an easier—and ultimately destructive—way.
The destruction we face as Christians is life. We all must take up our cross and follow Jesus in some measure during this life. If we suffer because of sin or carelessness, then we know that the blood of Jesus is there. We do not take that for granted, but we do not despair and think that He has turned His back on us.
Our suffering will refine us, strengthen our faith, and show what we are made of. If we suffer for righteousness sake or for the name of Jesus, then we know that our reward is great in the Kingdom of Heaven. Maybe we suffer both at the same time.
Though the Christian way has much blessing, even in this life, walking with Jesus will eventually mean suffering—and this is blessing also, even if we do not see the result until His Kingdom comes.
We do not want to forsake Jesus. When keeping His commandments feels impossible, we must be on guard against the “strange woman.” Will we lose our soul for a scrap of bread? The pleasures, security, and goodness of this world are mere scraps when compared to the Kingdom or Lord has prepared for us. This life will end, but life in Jesus is everlasting.
What about myself? Though I trust in Jesus, sometimes I feel unworthy to the point of looking for a solution on my own. I know that I should not “throw myself off the pinnacle of the temple” so I try to do what I can for myself.
However, there are many things I cannot do for myself. I cannot find peace, patience, and strength enough to endure the hard road that Jesus placed in front of me. I cannot keep His commandments without His work in me, and I cannot forgive myself of sin when I mess up.
This world can be so tempting, and I feel that temptation too. I feel the temptation of the “easy” way.
I know one day I will reach the end of my road, and there will be blessing. My faith will be tried, and I will see what I’m made of—what He made me of. I know what I’m made of without Him. Not much of anything but stubble that’s fit to be burned away. I am thankful that Jesus makes us again in His image.
I am thankful that we do not walk this journey alone. Jesus is with us, and our brethren are with us too. He comforts us and we comfort one another. He tells us the truth, even when it is hard, and we do the same for each other. We do not fall for the comforting lies of the “strange woman.”