Solomon once warned his son about the hell that is found in sexual sin by telling him the story of a young man: “[I] beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house (Proverbs 7:7-8).” A few observations is that the young man’s first problem was that of stupidity. He was among the simpletons, and he himself was void of understanding. His second problem was that in his folly he dawdled into her street, by her house.
In the digital age, the issue of foolish young men has certainly not dissipated, and now her street is a few taps away on his smartphone. A young man, void of understanding, will almost inevitably find himself dawdling down her digital street and––like an ox to slaughter––scrolling through her Instagram pics.
Solomon concludes his warning by stating: “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths (Pro. 7:25).” This sort of woman isn’t going away anytime soon, and will be around so long as there are simpletons such as the young man in Solomon’s story. In our digital age, sexual sin doesn’t require a young man to go anywhere. It is the perfect set-up for a slothful and foolish man. Little effort, mindless scrolling, and suddenly he finds himself swallowed up by the chamber of death.
Our devices and social media are not the issue, of course. The cultural norm of everyday women posing as if they were starlets in the latest porno is also no excuse for a Christian man to not be a man of wisdom, diligence, and self-control. He must exert himself, by the power of the Spirit, to not wander down her digital street. Thus Solomon’s exhortation to get wisdom. The Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom.
Resisting “digital sin” is only possible because of a new birth. The Spirit of Wisdom is also the Spirit that regenerates us. Our baptism tells us that we who believe have been washed of old ways of thinking and viewing the world, and we’ve been given new eyes and a new heart. This means that a wise man knows which neighborhood to avoid, and which alleyways are nothing but trouble. Furthermore, a wise man must remember that he must view technology as his tool, rather that passively treating technology as his rightful source of entertainment. One mindset leads a man to use the tool to make and produce; the other mindset leads a man to be nothing more that loathsome leach, entrenched in a lifestyle of mere consumption.
In fighting against sin we must remember that there is a needle to thread. On one side is the glorious Gospel that assures us that all our failure and sin is atoned for by Christ, and our good deeds will never suffice for our salvation. On the other hand, in grateful response to our salvation wrought by Christ, we strive against the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life as if our very lives depended on it. To paraphrase CS Lewis, we must on one hand care very deeply about sin, and on the other not care at all.
We should hate our sin, but we must never base our eternal salvation on how fervent our hatred is of sin. Our hatred of sin will never be quite as seething as it should be, and our striving after godliness will never be as consistent as it should be. Thus, we must be good Calvinists, rest on the grace of God with firm knowledge that we have been given a new heart with new affections and abundant grace to grow in Christ-likeness. Sometimes our sanctification may grind to a halt, it would seem, but the point is to never throw in the towel. When it seems we are making no progress, it is often at that very point where we are being brought low in order to be spurred onward with greater vigor. But, never just dawdle down the cyber-street of seduction into sin. Steer clear, by the grace of God.