She appears lonely, confused and in need of spiritual counsel. You're her pastor, but she's got other plans.
The destructive power of seduction can lead a spiritual leader down a wrong path and cause him to lose every good thing for which he was created.
It is interesting to me that the wisest man in the world, King Solomon, gave priority to the discussion of seduction in the book of Proverbs. The first four chapters of Proverbs exalt wisdom and encourage everyone to seek wisdom above all. Then in chapter five, the folly of adultery is addressed, complete with graphic detail of how an adulterous woman can cost a man everything.
So, I am in good company in giving priority to a discussion of seduction. This is especially relevant to our Western culture, which teaches little boys that "girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice."
Though most women are good, there are some who do not have good intentions toward men. The reality is that women are people, and all people have the potential for good and evil. The Scriptures record both the good and evil of people throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Let me add here that I have no axe to grind with women--not even seductresses. I devote a good portion of my work to helping women who have suffered the effects of men's sexual-addiction issues. I have also written two books to help women who need to heal from their own female sexual addictions. It is my great desire to see all people, regardless of gender, heal from sexual sins.
In addition, because I want to be biblically balanced, I feel the need to warn men--particularly those in spiritual leadership--regarding the seductress who can be found not only in the world, but also in the church. This type of woman needs to be clearly identified and avoided so that you can live happily ever after with God and your precious wife.
PROVERBS 7--THE POWER OF SEDUCTION
In the following pages I will introduce you to the mind and heart of the seductress. As a young man, I met this type of woman many times. As a therapist, I have happily witnessed the seductress heal and recover. But I have also heard hundreds of stories of men who were ravaged by her.
A FATHER'S WISDOM
"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you ... they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words" (Prov. 7:1,5, NIV).
As King Solomon addresses his son, he speaks to all men who read his words. He tells us to seek wisdom, to love wisdom enough to be practical about it. He encourages us to write down the words of wisdom that will guard him from evil.
He tells us that if we keep the commands of wisdom, we will be safe from the adulterous, wayward woman and her seductive words. In recovery literature there is a concept called "principles above personalities."
This concept is very helpful to teach how you can get so caught up in, or attached to, a personality (especially a woman's) that you throw away wisdom and common sense. You may even choose to violate the principle of God's Word that teaches, "Thou shall not commit adultery."
We need to love God, love His Word and base our lives on principles instead of following a relativistic culture that says, "If it feels good, do it" or "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." (I personally think they would be more honest to say, "Lust the one you're with!")
When you live a life based in principles of wisdom, the seductress loses any power she could have over you. But if your heart is open to lust or curiosity, she will always direct you down a path of heartbreak and hardship.
A FOOLISH YOUTH
"At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in" (Prov. 7:6-9).
The writer makes himself the proverbial bystander looking at another man's life. The young man he sees is simple and lacking in judgment. Remember, in ancient times when this was written there were no streetlights to illuminate the path after dark. At night people stayed inside to keep both warm and safe. This young man was not expecting to be home by dark.
The statement "He was ... walking along in the direction of her house" places responsibility on the young man for his actions. He chose to walk that road. At best that he was naive. He might not have been expecting to seek out sex that night.
I have heard countless stories of men who, like this young man, suffered the consequences of taking that first curious step down the wrong path.
For example, Jerry would surf the Internet after his wife was in bed. He soon met someone online in a chat room and grew very fond of her, even to the point of wanting to leave his wife and family to be with her. The woman refused to meet Jerry until he officially left his wife.
When Jerry told his wife he wanted a divorce, his wife asked if she could go with him to meet this other woman. For some reason, Jerry agreed. They arrived together at the house where this woman lived. When they knocked on the door, a homosexual man greeted them.
Needless to say, this deception shocked Jerry. He sought professional help and gratefully returned to his wife.
I can tell many sad stories about Christian leaders who were traveling on ministry trips and visited a hotel bar without any intention of having sex. There they met a woman who was looking for a naive and simple man. One thing led to another, and adultery was consummated.
The same story is told by Christian men who have gone to a strip club or massage parlor and encountered a seductress there. In all of these cases the men were "walking in the direction of her house." Most of these incidences occur "after hours" and in the wrong section of town or in a place where a man of principle wouldn't go.
THE SEDUCTRESS INTRODUCED
"Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent" (Prov. 7:10).
The major player in this drama is now introduced. She is the seductress. The author tells us a little about her outward appearance and her inward intent. She is dressed like a prostitute.
Applied to our culture, this woman would be one who dressed seductively--tight pants, cleavage showing, lots of attention paid to perfecting her hair and makeup. Unfortunately, since men in America worship women's bodies, they could find her anywhere--the gym, grocery store, work or even church.
This is her "outside." The seductress sends out obvious sexual energy by the way she dresses and looks. Female sex addicts admit that they consciously choose specific outfits in order to hook their prey.
One female therapist who counsels a group of female sex addicts asked the ladies to come to one meeting wearing a seductive outfit they would use to conquer a man. Some of the women wore sophisticated suits, one wore an exercise outfit, and another wore tight jeans and a revealing top. All were dressed very differently, but they chose clothes that they knew would be a weapon for seduction.
The "inside" part of the seductress introduced in Proverbs 7:10 reveals a heart filled with "crafty intent." Some women really do embrace evil and an inappropriate sexual intent. They desire to use men sexually and then throw them away.
To be forewarned about the crafty intentions of the seductress--whether she is married or single, Christian or non-Christian--is good preparation for winning the battle against her. Many young men have confided in me that they had to break up with Christian women because they were pressuring them into sex.
Know this: To a seductress, men are not considered in any way special; they are just her sex partner.
"She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks" (Prov. 7:11-12).
The behavior and attitude of a seductress are clearly described here. This woman does whatever she pleases; she is not submissive but "loud and defiant." This may not be obvious to you when you first meet her.
Though she may appear demure, maybe even quiet and spiritual at first, her inward rebellion will reveal itself as you develop a relationship with her. She likes to be about town, so to speak. She will not show interest in responsible activities of a virtuous woman to make a home or raise children.
The seductress is a reality in every locale and needs to be guarded against. Men in ministry, this is crucial! The strongest of Christians could be fooled into believing in her!
CATCHING HER PREY
"She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said ..." (Prov. 7:13)
The seductress readily reveals her crafty intent; she is not afraid to initiate the next step. Put a modern face on this situation: You're flirting with a co-worker and find yourself alone with her. She grabs and kisses you. This is the edge of the hook that goes into a man's spirit, soul and body. All of a sudden your brain turns off and your body ignites.
Sexually the seductress is confident. She intuitively understands what prostitutes know: All men want to be wanted. She knows that as a man your deepest longing is to feel desired by a woman sexually. That's why she talks with a "brazen" or shameless face. She knows what she's doing. She has studied victims like you before.
It's even harder for you if your marriage is less than wonderful. When your wife sincerely says she desires you, that hole in your heart is filled so completely that no other woman's voice can be anything but distasteful. You become especially vulnerable to the seductress if you are not feeling wanted in your marriage.
FULFILLING RELIGIOUS VOWS
"'I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows'" (Prov. 7:14).
She is spiritual! She makes reference to fulfilling a religious vow. According to Leviticus 7:12-16, such fellowship offerings were to be eaten by family members. Now what man would turn down a free meal with a sexy lady who is attracted to him?
The meal may seem innocent or religious, but it's not. She is luring and seducing him to her place. This would be comparable to a woman saying, "Come over the day after Thanksgiving; my husband and kids are gone."
Better yet: "We had a prayer meeting last night, and I've got some leftover food. Wouldn't you like a tasty snack?" If you think this sounds ridiculous, let me assure you I personally know of men falling for lines weaker than this.
'YOU ARE SPECIAL.'
"'So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you!"' (Prov. 7:15).
The seductress makes you feel so special. She uses the word "you" three times in one sentence. I feel a little uncomfortable any time someone tries to make me think I'm special. When you are on a business trip and a woman takes a "special interest" in you and what you do, my advice is to run for the hills!
None of us are that "special." You have a life. You may be married and have kids. You don't need a strange woman telling you how special you are. She will make you "feel" that you're special, smart, handsome and appreciated.
Remember, if a woman who is not your wife (or fiancee) is trying to convince you that you're special, you are being warmed up to be fried, no matter who she is.
"'I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let's drink deep of love till morning; let's enjoy ourselves with love!'" (Prov. 7:16-18)
Now you are so "special" that this woman is also going to provide you with a sexual encounter like you have never had before. She definitely is playing on your fantasy of "the special interlude." Just look at the sell: special sheets and special incense or aromas.
She is going to sell you the illusion that forbidden fruit is better. Different maybe, but is it better? No way! The price you pay for that encounter--the rest of your life will become a living hell. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The seductress believes that sex is love. But she is not offering you love--just a one-night stand. Love involves lifelong commitment and monogamy. It means working out differences and serving each other for a lifetime, till death do you part. Love is not a quick jump in the sack.
If any woman tries to sell you on sex outside of marriage, no matter who she is or how much of a "Christian" she seems to be, run from her. She is a seductress. Nothing good can happen here.
I know it's hard to believe that there are women in the church who are seductresses, but it is true. So stay alert! To be sexually successful for your entire life you must stay on guard against the seductress.
'YOU ARE SAFE.'
"'My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon'" (Prov. 7:19-20).
Here she throws you the line that there are no consequences to fear because her husband is gone. There is no immediate threat. "Come on, Buddy, nobody will know. It will be great." Doesn't that sound like the devil himself?
Of course, she never mentions God's judgment that will come on your life or the consequences that are sure to follow. She focuses only on immediate pleasure. She reassures you that nothing bad is going to happen.
"With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose" (Prov. 7:21-22).
The most powerful weapon of a seductress is her words. That's why it's not good to even talk to her. Many men have found the longer they talk to her, the weaker they become and the easier she can conquer them. Her words are smooth, kind, enticing and full of promises for immediate pleasure. They are earmarks of a seductress.
The fact that the man described in this passage fell for her lies says it all. He didn't follow God's principles or wisdom. He followed her. Our naive man has now made himself a victim of the seductress; it will cost him his life. Many men have wept in my office from the pain they suffered after awakening from the fog of their lustful encounter with a willing seductress.
The writer of the Proverbs gives us another lengthy passage that warns of this kind of pain and destruction. He also gives insight into the attitude and rebellion that motivate the man who becomes her victim:
"Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man's house" (Prov. 5:8-10).
The men I've counseled who have committed adultery all confirm the truth of this scripture. Inevitably, they testify to the loss of their wealth and their toil to enrich another man as they describe the devastating outcome of their decisions.
This can easily happen in a divorce. Your assets go into child support and alimony--and your ex-wife's new husband's boats and cars--all paid for with your hard-earned money.
The enemy's plan is to use the seductress to strip you of your destiny, your wife and your role as the father of your children. Christian men have somehow been lulled into a stupor sexually. The false sense of men's sexual entitlement that motivates them to engage in pornography, masturbation and other wrong behavior leaves them easy prey for the seductress.
Her most powerful weapon is her words.
Take heed to these scriptures, and guard your heart and your life from the seductress; she is death. Her intent is to kill what you love, leave you and then move on to another victim. Remember that many are the victims she has brought down, which means you're not as special as she would make you think. She is bent on massive spiritual, social and financial destruction.
You can totally escape her trap by loving God, pursuing wisdom and living a life based upon principles rather than seeking immediate pleasure. Again let me warn you that when you see any female displaying the signs we discussed, run from her.
In a culture that promotes female sexuality in every form of media, temptation can be lurking everywhere. But our God is everywhere as well, and if we walk with Him, He will deliver us. Be wise, be careful and be blessed!
Douglas Weiss, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor and the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs.