Wednesday, March 22, 2023
We are surrounded by it. We are constantly confronted with visual images that immediately connect with pride’s pursuit of personal pleasure. From television commercials to regular programming, it’s almost impossible to spend more than five minutes watching anything without either innuendo about it or clear and corrupt communication flaunting it. It covers the magazines at the grocery check-out counter. It pops up in totally unrelated ads on the sides of our Facebook pages. It is not an assumption to say that it sells. We allow it to. We choose to pay attention to it. We are silent about its presence in our lives but even more silent in public about our superficial stand against it.
Fornication is the term that best describes it, even though it is an outdated word according to modern culture. Its definition has been revised to include words like freedom, personal choice, and sexual expression leading to greater fulfillment. But call it what you will, it is outright rebellion against God. It is wickedness and sin.
It comes in many forms, but it all starts in the heart of a person who allows the lust of the flesh to become a choice to gratify self. Sexual expression and sexual experiences of any kind outside of the bond of marriage between one woman and one man is an abomination to the Lord God. Every form of lust and sexual expression other than God’s ordained type of marriage defiles us.
Strong words I know, but they are not mine. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (Matthew 15:19-20) Paul said, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5) And Peter said, “The Lord knows how to … keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones.” (2 Peter 2:9-10)
The Apostle Paul has more words about this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” And the writer of Hebrews says this – “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)
It is about time that the people who call themselves followers of Christ begin to deal with the issue of secret sexual sin, and become so convinced of Christ’s saving power from all sin that they are able to proclaim as Joseph did in the face of sexual temptation, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)
It starts by cleaning up and renewing our minds. How can we say or even desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit when we have made an intentional choice to hang on to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We lust in our minds based on what we have seen and done in the past. We lust with our eyes based on what we want to see again. And it is all motivated by the pride of life that compels us to seek personal gratification because we do not really believe that Jesus Christ is sufficient to fill us and fulfill our lives.
It may not be possible to avoid every display of sexuality in the world around us, but we can certainly say no to every temptation to let it into our hearts and minds. We can turn away, turn off, and turn around every time it presents itself. That is the promise of victory over every sin as we walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh. (Read Romans 8:1-11)
So let’s all begin today to have the heart of Joseph, and no matter what society says, recognize that we are all ultimately responsible to God. Every sin is first and foremost against Him.