Day 5: Run from Flattery


Where I used to work, I sometimes end up changing the copier paper. One time when I did, there were a few people in the room, so I looked behind me before I began. When I saw I was all clear, I bent over. As I was putting in the ream of paper, I heard a woman’s voice behind me asking, “Are those new jeans?”

I’m sure she said this in a monotone voice, but I heard it in a flattering, sultry voice. Are those new jeans?! And do you know the first thought that entered my head when I heard those words? I still got it.

I know. I’m ridiculous. You’re less vain and more humble than me.

As I came to my senses, I stood up to say, “Ah, yes actually, they are new jeans.”

To which she said, “Well then, you should take off the sticker.” I left the long strip down the back of the leg with my size on it.

Here’s where I’m going with this: Flattery is powerful, and we crave it so much that we can find it in all the wrong places, even imagining we’re being flattered when we’re not. It’s for this reason a wise father once warned his son, “The lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil” (Proverbs 5:3).

Notice how temptation comes not just from the forbidden woman’s body but also through her flattering words. It’s nice when people speak well of you. It’s nice to be wanted and appreciated, to be noticed and needed.

Although not often pointed out, pornography leverages this desire to be flattered. So, if you want to fight against sexual sin, you need to run from and become indifferent to flattery, especially from women. I’m not talking about being afraid of simple compliments. But you do need to run from manipulative sweet talk. If a woman says to you, “You work so hard, and you’re such a good provider. How do you find time to stay in such good shape?” you’d better run! Those words are powerful. They taste smooth and sweet, but they’ll kill you.  

Diagnostic Questions:

  1. Are there women in your life who speak to you in inappropriate, flattering ways? What are you doing to avoid these women?

  2. Right now, are there insecurities in your life that make you more susceptible to flattery? If so, what are they and how can you work on them?

Take 5 minutes to think and pray about these questions. Tomorrow I’ll share an essential tool you need to fight against lust.

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Thank you for watching these videos. If you’ve found them helpful, be sure to share them with your friends and church leadership. To go deeper on each of these strategies (and a dozen other strategies), check out my book Struggle Against Porn: 29 Diagnostics for Your Head and Heart.