The Temptation of Beauty – Gospel in Life

The Temptation of Beauty

Tim Keller |  October 24, 2004

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  • Sexuality
Proverbs 5:15-19; 11:16, 22; 30:18-20
RS 178-07


In 1 Kings 3, Solomon asks for wisdom. He asks for “a heart that can discern right from wrong.” The question is, “If he’s the king of Israel, he has the law of God. Why would he need wisdom? Doesn’t the Word of God tell you what’s right and wrong?” The reason is that it’s not enough to just know the rules, but you need discernment from God for knowing what decision to make when the moral rules don’t fit your situation perfectly.

Last week we saw one of the important ways to develop a heart of wisdom is to understand and manage the power of anger. This week we will see that in order to be wise, we need to understand and manage the power of sexuality. To do this, we have to know three things: 1) why and how we tend to undervalue sex; 2) why and how we tend, at the same time, to overvalue sex; and 3) how we can solve that.

Proverbs 5:15–19; 11:16, 22; 30:18–20

When we think of wisdom, it’s not just about knowing what’s good or bad. It’s about making smart choices in all the tricky parts of life. We’ve talked about managing anger before, and now we’re going to dive into understanding and handling the power of our sexual feelings. This means recognizing when we don’t value sex enough and when we value it too much, and finding a balance between these extremes.

1. When we don’t value sex enough

The book of Proverbs is like a guidebook, especially for young guys, teaching them to deeply love their wives and not to mess around with casual or outside-of-marriage sex. It challenges common ideas about marriage and love, highlighting the importance of being in love with and best friends with your spouse. It also warns us about the danger of treating sex like a product to be bought and sold, reminding us to consider our partners’ needs and to see sex as part of the whole person, not just a physical act.

2. When we value sex too much

Our society often places too much emphasis on how people look, especially women, and this can lead to seeing people as objects rather than individuals. This false sense of closeness can be harmful to relationships, as we can see with the impact of pornography. Our society pressures women to tie their worth to their looks, and this can negatively affect how they see themselves. To overcome this, we need to look inward, change our attitudes, and learn to love ourselves for who we are, not just what we look like.

3. The solution

Our sexual feelings are a reflection of how amazing God’s creation and redemption are, showing us that God wants us to be more than just followers, but lovers who are passionate about His glory. Even when we mess up, God’s love, shown through Jesus Christ, is there to bring us back. Jesus, who was not physically attractive, gave up his life to save us from our mistakes and to show us what true beauty is. Understanding this deep love and sacrifice can free us from wrong ideas about beauty and release us from feelings of shame and fear.



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