Proverbs 13:19 reads as follows:

Desire fulfilled is sweet to the taste, but fools hate to turn from evil   (HCSB)

“It would be nice if . . . but . . .”

That’s the fool’s mantra: “If only that . . .” He wants the prize, but is unwilling to pay the price. The price is, as the Proverb states, to “turn from evil.”


Do you desire peace of heart and soul?

Then turn from evil.

Do you desire fulfillment in doing something that counts eternally?

Then turn from evil.

Do you desire the Lord to look favorably upon your requests?

Then turn from evil.

Do you desire treasures in heaven?

Then turn from evil.

Do you desire to hear the words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant?”

Then turn from evil.

Do you desire _______________________________________

You fill in the blank.

Then turn from evil.

The proposition is simple, isn’t it? If your fondest desires mean anything to you, they may be achieved by turning (that means repenting about and actually making an about face away from) your evil ways. Perhaps your desires are not like those above. Ought they not be? If one of your problems is wrong desires—then, turning from evil should clear up both matters. Your desires will change and the fulfillment of them will do so too.

But, perhaps, you are a fool. The fool lives for his desires but they are the wrong ones, and if they are fulfilled they will be a curse upon him. One of the most stringent punishments God afflicts is to give man his desires. Remember the desire of the Israelites for a king like the nations; remember their desire for meat in the wilderness. In both cases, they got what they desired–to their detriment.

Then, there was the desire of the rich young ruler who wanted eternal life, but would not turn from his worship of money to find it. He earnestly desired it, but earnestness wouldn’t cut it. He would not turn from his evil love of money.

What is your desire? Is evil keeping you from realizing it? Will you miss out on the kind of eternity you long for? Then stop playing the fool; turn from evil!

Check out our online courses, including, Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling and  The Use of Scripture in Counseling, taught by Jay Adams!

Books related to counseling others:

  1. Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams
  2. The Christian Counselor’s Manual by Jay Adams
  3. How to Help People Change by Jay Adams
  4. Check out our Bookstore for all the best counseling books!

The Christian Counselor’s New Testament and Proverbs, translated by Jay Adams

Visit our online bookstore for all your biblical counseling resource needs.
For more biblical counseling training, check out our list of INS Online Courses.

Follow INS on Social Media:
– Facebook: noutheticstudies
– Twitter: @noutheticstud
– Instagram: @noutheticstudies


  1. Gordon October 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

    What a wonderful reminder to follow self-examination always with concrete action. I’ve noticed, along these same lines, that the heart has a seemingly bottomless resevoir of faux “desires,” which masquerade for the truly evil intentions underlying.
    “Turn from evil” is an admonition placing the responsibility squarely upon us for real action in time.

  2. Bob Wallace October 13, 2011 at 7:03 am

    We must win the war from within.

  3. Rev. Norma Fogel October 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I am always amazed at the amount of people who believe repentance can be acheived without an action. “Turn from evil, learn to do good”.(1Pet.3:11) When we turn from evil, what occupies the space that our evil thoughts, feelings , actions once held? If we don’t fill those spaces with good, and loving actions thoughts, feelings , beliefs, that old evil stuff will soon creep back again, 8 times worse (Luke 11:24-26)- Be Encouraged!

Leave A Comment


Resources for you.

Study with Dr. Jay Adams. Learn at your convenience. We are an ACBC Certified Training Center.

Visit the INS bookstore for books by Dr. Jay Adams and all your biblical counseling resource needs.

The INS podcast with Dr. Jay Adams features a new (classic) message every Monday and Thursday.

Join Our Newsletter.

We are regularly sending out ministry news so that you can keep updated with the Institute for Nouthetic Studies.