Proverbs 11:22 (NLT)
22 A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig�s snout.

Beauty is often equated with as something valuable that might be associated with wisdom and stature. Yet beauty can be fleeting when a person�s integrity fails. A pig ring attempts to keep a pig from its natural behavior to root through the ground. Using ornate gold for such a dirty utility would not make sense because it would become defiled and dirty. Neither does it make sense for a person to corrupt their beauty by being indiscreet.

As of October 2006, there were three times as many professional tanning parlors in the U.S. as there were Starbucks. Each year, an estimated 2.3 million teenagers enter those parlors, which has helped indoor tanning become a $5 billion-a-year industry. On their own, these numbers may not seem surprising or even noteworthy. But they become dangerous when placed in the light of a recent medical discovery. Since 1975, the occurrence of melanoma�the most lethal form of skin cancer�has doubled in the United States among women ages 15-29. The World Health Organization is also taking notice. It estimates that 60,000 people die each year around the world because of excessive UV exposure, and urges youths under the age of 18 to avoid indoor tanning.

But many experts fear that teenagers will not change their behavior, even in the light of such dangerous consequences. In a Time magazine article from last August, two 16-year-old girls were interviewed. One girl said, �All the girls who are really tanned all through the year�they�re the popular girls. Guys are always complimenting girls on their tans.� Another girl who visits a tanning parlor several times a week acknowledged that she is willing to risk her health for short-term rewards. Her rationale, �It may make my skin wrinkle a little bit earlier, but I�m going to look good while I can.�

Short-term pleasure leads to long-term disaster. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of sexual immorality. For a few minutes of pleasure, countless men and women will throw their lives away. Just think for a moment about the potential consequences of sexual sin: loss of fellowship with God, divorce, disease, pregnancy, guilt, estrangement from family and friends, psychological and financial loss, damage to one�s reputation, and countless others. Indeed, there is no sin in this life with such brutal consequences. This reality ought to keep us from sexual sin. Yet, if we are honest, most of us assume that we will be the exception to these consequences. Honestly, we believe that these things will never happen to us. So we go on our own merry way, sinning. Therefore, the apostle Paul uses another approach in helping us overcome sexual immorality. He uses a positive affirmation: �Your body is God�s body.�

Remember discretion and apply wisdom to your life!

[sources: Bible.Org, God�s Bod, by Keith Krell; Preaching Today citation: Sam O�Neal, St. Charles, Illinois; source: �Why Teens Are Obsessed with Tanning,� Time Magazine (8-7-06), 54-55.]