When I was a little girl, I attended church by riding a bus. On that bus, we sang lots of choruses and songs based on Scripture; at Sunday School and church, we did the same thing. What I didn't realize at the ages of 8 and 9 was that my bus captain and teachers were using music to get the Word of God in me and help me 'memorize' God's Word by music. One of the songs we sang often was Proverbs 1:10 "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." The song went like this:
Consent thou not (clap clap)
Consent thou not (clap clap)
My son, if sinners entice thee
Consent thou not. (Repeat 1 time)
As an adult, I've thought about that verse often. Many times we go along with whatever is being done without consideration of what we are doing or what affect it will have on us or others. Our friends, family, bosses or new acquaintance will say to us, "We're going to go here and do this or that, you should come too." We may give the idea a cursory thought, say no, but then we hear this: "Aww, come on! You're not going to be a stick in the mud are ya? Don't be an old fuddy-duddy, now!" or "You aren't going to claim religion on us now for why you can't go, are you?" And because we don't like being left out or we don't like being made fun of, we submit and go along with the plans. We usually justify it by saying things like, "Well, I'll go to the bar, but I won't drink; I'll be the designated driver." or "Well, maybe it really isn't so bad as I think it is. Besides, maybe I can be an example to my friends if I join them in this activity..." My brothers and sisters, if sinners entice you, consent thou NOT! We are called to be different, to be separate from the world's entertainment, the world's behavior and the world's ideas of fun and recreation. We can be more effective examples by not joining in activities that very well can lead us to fall into temptation. Remember Lot? (Remember his wife? Jesus commanded us to remember Lot's wife.) The Bible says that Lot's soul was vexed daily by the sin and corruption he had surrounded himself with by choosing to live in Sodom! He chose where he lived!! And we know the end of his story (Genesis 19 and 2 Peter 2 for references) Thankfully God, in His infinite mercy and GRACE, saved Lot from being destroyed with the city he called home.
Lot chose his home. He said yes to living in Sodom. Many others in Scripture said yes when they should have said no. David should have went to war, instead of being on the rooftop where he saw Bathsheba. Solomon should have said no to marrying 700 women, who turned his heart from serving God alone. Job should have said no and probably sent his 'friends' home when they started condemning him for sin he hadn't committed. Job did eventually sin during his trial by trying to justify himself. Many men and women in Scripture ended up in trouble because they didn't say no when sin beckoned to them. And while it proves them to be human, just like us, it left a stain on an otherwise exemplary testimony. We have a testimony, whether good or not so much, and we are temples of God's Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
One good way to 'consent not' is to be in the Word of God, daily! Learn what God's Word says is sin, what the Bible says about sin, and learn to know the escapes. God promised to provide a means of escape so we can bear temptations. Sometimes, it's as simple as remembering another activity that's happening at the same time or needing to take care of some business that prohibits you from joining in the 'fun'. An example of this happened when I first got saved. I wanted to follow Jesus as closely as I could, but I was invited to a party, where there would be drinking and sexual activity. Almost all of my friends were going to be there, and to be honest I was tempted to go, because I hadn't seen my friends in a good while and I missed them. But I knew if I went, I'd get into trouble even if I didn't take part in the drinking or having sex with someone. I called my best friend to tell her I wouldn't be able to come to the party. "Ugh, why? We haven't seen you since you turned over that leaf or whatever you did. Can't you just party with us one more time?" I had no reason to give, part of me wanted to go, and part of me didn't. I was invited to go, and besides my friend was right. I hadn't seen any of my old friends since I became a Christian (turned over that leaf or whatever). Then I was reminded of something: "I can't go, I promised my grandma I'd help her this evening with some personal things she wants to get done. I'm sorry, but I need to stay with her and keep my word." "Ugh, fine! But don't expect to be invited to any more parties, people will quit inviting you if you keep turning them down, ya know!" After I hung up, I hit my knees and cried. Later on, my friend called me and reported back on the terrible time they all had at the party. "So and so came to the party already drunk, disgusted everyone, and instead of having a good time, we all ended up arguing and fighting with each other. Be glad you didn't come!" Other ways to 'consent not' is to pray and submit to God. James 4 tells us when we submit to God then resist the devil, he (the devil) will flee from us. Another way is to plan out your days/weeks/etc. If you already have plans, you can't take part in activities that aren't planned or have the potential to get you in trouble. Deliberately plan good things to do when you have free time in your schedule. Find out if there are family friendly activities planned at your church, or plan something special yourself. Maybe invite another family from church to have dinner with your family. It's a great way to also get to know others of like faith. Think of some other ways you can 'consent not' to the enticement of sinners.
Dear Father, thank You for the opportunity to share my thoughts with this community. I pray that You will bless us with Your presence, and help us to want to please You with our time and activities. Help us to learn Your Word, and teach us to lovingly decline from things that will vex Your Holy Spirit that indwells us as believers. Please make ways for us to escape when we are tempted to do wrong or take part in things that are wrong. Help us to choose well and learn to say no to sinners, and yes to You. Thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness to us. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for reminding us of Your Word and for teaching us Your way so we may live lives that are pleasing to You. In Jesus' name, Amen!