Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Long View of Relationships

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss invites you to look at what God could do in your husband’s life long-term.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Oh, maybe you can’t see it yet. Maybe there’s no evidence of your husband ever becoming a real man of God, and there is no guarantee that he ever will. But ask God to give you faith for what that man could be if you’d be willing to make a long-term commitment and investment in that man.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Thursday, September 24, 2015.

If you’ve missed any of this week’s programs on the difference between a wise and foolish woman, I hope you’ll catch up at ReviveOurHearts.com. It’s been a valuable study, one that Nancy continues today. Here she is in the series "Becoming a Woman of Discretion."

Nancy: We’ve been looking at a portrait of a foolish woman, as she’s illustrated in Proverbs chapter 7. We’ve come to verse 13, and we’ve seen that this foolish woman, with crafty, seductive intent, has gone out to meet a young, foolish man in the middle of the night and in an inappropriate place and setting.

She is a married woman, and she’s focusing attention and effort upon a man who is not her husband. We’ve seen that she is physically aggressive in her behavior toward this man. She greets him boldly. She’s an initiator in the relationship, versus taking the role that God intended for us to have as women as responders.

There’s a little phrase that we passed over in the last session from verse 13. We’re told she caught him, she kissed him, and “with an impudent face” she spoke to him. She initiates the conversation. That word impudent, in some of your translations, reads “brazen.” The word means "a woman whose face is hardened." She’s not tender toward God.

Do you want to be protected from becoming an immoral woman, from becoming a foolish woman? First ask God to give you a tender and soft heart toward Him. Once you have that heart toward Him, you’ll find that your countenance reflects that softness. A woman who is set in her own will and her own way is going to have a countenance, a face, that shows a hardness.

I don’t know what it is about us as women, but we show more in our faces, I think, than men do. I can look at so many women today and see evidence of hardness of heart. Sometimes that’s because there have been wounds; there have been hurts. But sometimes it’s just because they’ve lived a life of going their own way, and there’s a hardness that results.

You may be one of those women. If you’re not sure, you may want to ask someone, “Do I show a hardness of heart or spirit or countenance?” If you are a woman of hardened heart and a hardened face and countenance, ask God to give you a tender heart—to create in you a new and clean heart so that your face and your spirit and your eyes can reflect to the world the gentleness, the goodness, the kindness, and the meekness of Christ.

Now, as this woman initiates a conversation with this young, foolish man, she says, “I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows” (v. 14). We see here that this is a religious woman. She’s not a street woman. She’s a church woman.

One writer says about this passage, “Her religious activity was a pretense, an effort to cloud any sense of wrongdoing she may have had.” I think so often, as Christian women, we compensate for the guilt that is really in our hearts by getting active in religious or church activities.

Think of that passage in Proverbs chapter 5—two chapters earlier—where the writer says, “I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly” (5:14). In Proverbs 5, that man is saying that these kinds of immoral activities don’t just happen in brothels. These kinds of things take place among church people, in religious settings.

The writer says in chapter 5, “I almost threw away my marriage and became immorally involved with a woman in the midst of the congregation and the assembly.” You say, “Church ought to be a safe place,” but the fact is, it’s humans who go to church. So many of us often act foolishly and in our flesh, rather than in the spirit. Do you know that even at church, with church people and in church relationships, as a woman, you can be a foolish woman and can find yourself mired in evil in the midst of the congregation and in the assembly?

She says to this young man in chapter 7, verse 15, “Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.” Now, as yet, the man has not said a word.

  • She’s doing all the talking.
  • She’s doing all the initiating.
  • She’s in a place where she shouldn’t be.
  • She’s at a time where she should not be.
  • Her heart has left her home, and she goes forth to meet this young man.

As I read her words, I see a woman who is building up this foolish man’s ego with flattery. She makes him feel important. She makes him feel needed: “You’re the one who is meaningful to me.”

Now, all these kinds of expressions—this is taking place out in the street on a black and dark night, the Scripture says, but these kinds of conversations can take place in the aisle of a church. These kinds of conversations can take place across a desk at work, or even in a counseling situation with a pastor or therapist or counselor. We can be speaking, as women, to these men—even men of God that we respect—using verbal admiration and verbal expressions of appreciation to draw men to us in ways that are not appropriate, wholesome, or holy.

Does that mean I can never say to a man, “I really appreciate this quality in your life”? We want to be women who express gratitude, and we want to express appreciation to men of God who minister the Word to us, who teach us the ways of God. But be careful in your verbal expressions to men, even men of God—especially men of God—that you don’t focus on physical characteristics, that it’s not flattery, and that it’s not with a seductive heart, or a heart to get attention or affirmation that you may not feel you’re getting at home.

Ask yourself, “Am I speaking as kindly, graciously, gratefully, and tenderly to my own husband—and more so—than I am to this man? Or am I expressing forms of admiration to this man that it’s been a long time since I’ve expressed to my husband?”—for those of you who are married women.

She’s building his ego up, and she’s increasing the chances of this becoming a full-blown affair. Now, it may or may not become one in your life, but you’re increasing the likelihood of it becoming an immoral relationship by using your tongue to build up, with words of admiration, characteristics that are temporal or physical characteristics—words that a man’s own wife should be speaking to him.

You may feel those things, those genuine aspects of appreciation in your heart, but be restrained and under the leadership of the Spirit as to how and when and to what extent you express those things.

I have the privilege of working with many godly men in the ministry. So many of them I admire for their heart; I admire their walk with God; I admire a lot of things about their character. But a lot of that I keep in my heart and don’t say to those men because that man needs to be hearing those things from his wife. You don’t want to put yourself or that man in a situation where you would be drawn to each other, in ways that at first seem spiritual but ultimately may be ways that are lustful.

This woman says now to this simple young man, this foolish man, “I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon” (vv. 16–17). She seeks to lure this man into her trap by describing the sensuality of her and her husband’s bedroom. She’s just indiscreet.

Now, so many women today don’t even know what that word means. We need to learn the meaning of that word. Discreet has to do with speaking and behaving in a way that is appropriate, that has proper boundaries.

She is indiscreet. She’s speaking about intimate matters and settings outside of the appropriate context for that discussion. It’s absolutely appropriate that she should have romantic aspects of her bedroom and her language, but these things should be focused on her husband, not on another man. She’s talking publicly about intimate matters.

I find that so many women today just say whatever they’re thinking. They use words and language and descriptions that are not appropriate for public conversation.

I can remember when I was a little girl—and some of you will laugh at this, perhaps, today—but it was not even considered discreet to say the word “pregnant.” A woman was “expecting a child.” Do you know that I still kind of trip on saying the word “pregnant” in a public setting today?

Now, you say, “Is there anything wrong or sinful about the word ‘pregnant’?” No, but there was a standard and a restraint in relation to the way we talked in mixed settings and in public settings. We used more intimate words in more intimate settings. Today that’s all gone out the window, and we say words that I can’t say here in this setting.

They are not filthy words. They’re not immoral words. They’re just words that are intimate words, descriptions of intimate things. It’s not discreet; it’s not appropriate for us to have those kinds of conversations outside of the most intimate relationships of our lives.

You see, this woman has a romantic bedroom. That’s great, but it’s intended to be shared with one man: her husband. She is a married woman. She is a religious woman, but she’s dressed seductively. She’s talking smoothly; she’s building up his ego with her words of admiration. She’s speaking of intimate details of her bedroom with this young man.

In verse 18—now, here’s where she goes for the kill—she says to him, “Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman”—my husband—“is not at home, he is gone on a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed” (vv. 18–20).

We see in this passage that she is still the initiator in this relationship. We see also that this foolish woman does not understand the nature of genuine love. You see, genuine love has everything to do with giving; it has nothing to do with getting. Someone has said that, “Lust can’t wait to get, but love can always wait to give.”

Here is a woman who is lusting after this man. She doesn’t love him. She talks about “taking our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves,” but it’s not love that she’s talking about. It’s lust.

  • She’s wanting to receive.
  • She’s wanting something to satisfy her needs.
  • She’s not thinking about her husband.
  • She’s not thinking about any children they may have.
  • She’s not thinking about this young man’s future.
  • She’s only considering her own immediate gratification, and that’s highlighted by the words “until the morning.”

Lust only lasts until morning. Love lasts through fire, through water, through floods, through danger, through better and worse and sickness and health. Love never fails. She’s settling for a cheap substitute of what God intended for her to have with her husband.

Now, that doesn’t mean that her marriage is an easy one or that her husband is an easy man. We don’t know. He may be a very difficult man to live with, but she can still pour into the life of that husband the love that God can put into her heart—supernatural love for that man. Instead, she’s looking for something cheap and quick and easy and filling.

She’s offering to this man who is not her husband something that is not hers to give. She’s offering him herself—her body, her heart, her affection, her admiration—and all of that belongs to someone else. It belongs to her husband.

First Corinthians 7 says that the wife’s body does not belong to herself, and the husband’s body is not his own (v. 4). The husband’s body belongs to his wife, and for the woman who is married, her body belongs to her husband.

This foolish woman and this young man have not become sexually intimate yet. They have not done any immoral act, but they are well on the way. They’re being set up for moral failure by this lifestyle that is willing to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.

For a little bit of immediate pleasure, she’s willing to throw away a marriage that could—if she worked at it, and if she and her husband together would focus on that marriage—be something that could become a relationship of great beauty and value. She’s failing to think of the long-term impact of her words, her actions, and her choices.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself, in many areas of my life, doing the very same thing—in more subtle ways, and maybe in ways that won’t lead to immorality, but in ways that will be costly. We make choices to do what feels good now, not stopping to contemplate the long-term consequences.

Do you think, if Eve would have stopped for a moment there in the Garden of Eden to think of what just taking a bite of that piece of fruit would do to her life—to her relationship with God, to her husband, to her children (one of whom murdered another one of her children), to their children, and to us, generations later—if she’d stopped to think of the long-term implications of that choice, do you think she might have decided differently?

You see, the foolish woman doesn’t think about what’s after the morning. The foolish woman just thinks about what will make me happy now.

Let me say, if you’re living in a difficult or painful marriage, you’ve got to be willing to look past the morning in that marriage, too, and to see what God, over the long haul, can do by His grace. Oh, maybe you can’t see it yet. Maybe there’s no evidence of your husband ever becoming a real man of God, and there is no guarantee that he ever will. But ask God to give you faith for what that man could be if you’d be willing to make a long-term commitment and investment in that man.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s a whole lot easier to go out and find a stranger who will satisfy you until the morning. But that’s not love, and it won’t satisfy. You’ll find yourself—as so many women have told me that they have found themselves—wounded, with a broken life, broken relationships, and your life in shambles. It starts with these little choices of saying, “I’ve got to have satisfaction now, and I’m not willing to wait.”

She says to this foolish young man, “My husband is not at home. He’s gone on a long journey, and he’ll come back on a certain day. I know that he’s gone, and I know that he will not see or know what we are doing.” She thinks no one will know, but she’s forgotten about the One who knows and sees everything. That’s her God. You see, the Scripture says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3).

God sees. God knows. That’s why, as women, we need to learn to live in the fear of the Lord. Not the dread of the Lord—although we ought to dread His judgment if we do not surrender to Him. But more than that, this conscious, constant sense that God is here, that He is with me in this conversation. Would I be dressing this way, talking this way, using my eyes this way, communicating this attitude this way if I were conscious that God is the third Person present in this situation?

It’s the fear of the Lord that protects us from evil. One of the things I’ve asked God to develop in me is the fear of the Lord: the consciousness that He is there, that He is evaluating and weighing not only what I do, but also the motives of my heart.

It’s possible that this woman, this foolish woman, is seeking to get needs met that aren’t getting met at home. I’ll just say this—and if you’ve been married for longer than three days, you already know this: There is no husband who can meet all of your needs.

For those of you in this room who are not married, write that down and remember it, because our heart has this expectation that if it were just this right man, my needs could get met. But there’s no man, no matter how godly, who can meet the deepest needs of a woman’s heart. God didn’t intend your heart to be filled in its deepest part by a man, but by Himself.

So she’s seeking to get needs met that aren’t getting met elsewhere, but she’s looking in the wrong direction. She’s looking outward rather than upward.

Now, compare this woman to the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, where we’re told, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her . . . She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life” (vv. 11–12).

That doesn’t mean that that husband of that virtuous woman is the ideal or perfect husband. There isn’t one, by the way. There is no such perfect or ideal husband. But it says that no matter what his failures or flaws, he knows that he’s got a woman he can trust. She can be trusted whether he’s at home or on a business trip, or wherever he is, to do him good and not evil all the days of his life. She will be faithful.

Let me say to those of you women who are married, the real test of your faithfulness in that marriage is what happens when your husband is gone. Now, I don’t mean just literally gone from home, perhaps on a business trip or out traveling. That’s a test, when he’s physically or geographically gone.

But even more of a test, perhaps, are those times when he’s emotionally gone. He’s so busy with his work or the demands on his time or his schedule that you don’t feel that you’re getting the time, the attention, and the focus that you long for. You’re living with some of those unfulfilled longings, and it happens in the best of marriages and relationships.

The test is:

  • When he’s gone in those ways, for those seasons of time, will you be faithful?
  • Will you, even in the midst of those hard times, do him good and not evil?

If you will, then you’ll be a woman who is wise and is building up your home. If not, you will be a foolish woman, and you will be tearing down that home.

Leslie: Those words from Nancy Leigh DeMoss have never been needed more as marriages crumble and adultery is winked at in stories coming through the TV, novels, and magazines. I hope commitment and discretion will be a way of life for you. Would you study more deeply the things Nancy has been talking about? Get a copy of her booklet, "Becoming a Women of Discretion." Study it during your quiet time and discover areas where you can continue growing as a wise woman by God’s grace.

When you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you "Becoming a Woman of Discretion." Your gift will help us evaluate the effectiveness of the ministry in your area, and it will help us speak into the hearts of women in all sorts of situations.

Some are learning to be wise, and using the radio program each day is part of that process. Some are on the brink of some very foolish choices, and the program is convicting them of their need to change. All these connections happen between women’s lives and God’s truth because listeners continue to support the ministry.

If you’d like to call with your donation, make sure to ask for "Becoming a Woman of Discretion." The toll-free number is 1–800–569–5959. You can also donate online and indicate that you’d like us to send the booklet. The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

A woman has a weapon that’s as strong as a man’s physical strength. Hear what it is when Nancy returns to Proverbs 7 tomorrow. Now she’s back to wrap up today’s program.

Nancy: I just wonder if there may not be a woman, even in this room today, who finds herself being drawn toward a relationship with an emotional or physical attachment that is not a pure one; it’s not a right one. You’re seeking to get needs of your heart met. Can I remind you that Eve thought she was going to get some needs met when she took the first bite of that fruit? It was pleasant to the eyes. It looked attractive to her. She thought it would fill her up, but she took one bite of that fruit and found, so to speak, that she had a mouth filled with worms.

What you think will satisfy, if it’s not God’s best for you, will not satisfy. It will leave you destroyed and miserable and unhappy, more than you could ever dream possible, by being unfaithful to the situation where God has placed you.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the King James Version.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.