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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Embracing Biblical Singleness- Pt. 2

Part II

1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
1Th 4:4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
1Th 4:5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
1Th 4:6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
1Th 4:7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
1Th 4:8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

I. Abstain from sexual immorality

This sounds puritanical and for many people it is simply unobtainable. I know that one of my greatest struggles as a male, living in our society is to stay sexually pure. There are so many avenues of temptation and sin that it is not surprising that most of the men in the church are addicted to pornography or at least engaged in masturbation. If you think this is too much for a public blog, I will challenge your thinking. We need to stop acting like sexual failure is the Christian equivalent of first degree murder.

I am not proud of my own sexual history; I have been addicted on and off to pornography since the
6thgrace (before Christ) and have used sexual release as means to take care of tension. I have for the most part let my lust run wild and it does not really matter who gets burned in the process. Actually, the only one who really gets burned is me and ones that I love dearly. I cannot tell you how much I regret my indulgences in sexual immorality and how it has affected and influenced my decisions in many of my dating and prospectively dating relationships.

To abstain means to voluntarily dismiss; when you abstain from sexual immorality you are dismissing it. But is that how we approach sexual temptation? No, we like to keep pushing and pushing; by the time we are being scorched by lust, it is too late. As the Casting Crowns song goes, “a price will be paid when you give yourself away.” So don’t; don’t give yourself away. You need to decide today that you are going to push any thoughts of sexual immorality and it’s “pleasures” to the foot of the cross and leave them there. If you ever want to be biblically single, you must abstain for sexual immorality.

II. Control your body in holiness and honor

If you are like me; discipline is not your cup o’ tea. People may not think that when they see that I am a planner and a diligent worker who likes routine. However, I do not like discipline because I do not endureand soon my routine changes because of my dissatisfaction with it. I got through college bit by bit (you don’t eat elephant whole, I know…cliché) and if it were not for the semester progress I would have probably quit because it seemed so far away.

So, whenever the Bible talks about discipline and self-control, my heart sinks because it is one my biggest weaknesses. The word “control” evokes for me all sorts of bad images, but notice that Paul is telling us to control our bodies. We are the ones who must pull in the reins; we are the ones that must bring the flaming lust train to a halt. This involves two areas. We are to exert control over our bodies in holiness and honor.

When we think of holiness, a lot of us think of all things bad, or if we don’t think it is bad, then it is out of reach. “Well, it is great that Origen can castrate himself for the kingdom of God, but I am not sure I can make that leap…” Well, the good news is 1) God does not want you to castrate yourself and 2) that holiness is all wrapped up in love. God is love but God is also holy; he is goodness and justice put together. When we seek to be holy (which means set apart) we are seeking to be filled with the love of God, because what makes God holy is his love, which is unlike anything we could ever fathom. Paul tells us we are to control our bodies so that they practice holiness, which means so that they are filled and motivated by love. When one is motivated by love, then one does not seek to take from someone in lust.

Love is all about giving and sacrificing; not about taking and demanding.

Honor is a word that is still big here in the South; it means that one can be trusted to do what is right; it is your word. When Paul tells us to control our bodies in honor, he is telling us to make our bodies do the right thing. This is fundamentally impossible without the Holy Spirit, because if your body is like mine, you always want to do the most expedient thing, not the right thing. In the past when I have been intimate physically with a girl, I have wanted to push as far as I can without going over; that is not doing the honorable thing. But it is more than honoring our sisters and brothers; it is honoring the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us.

So, you may be thinking that biblical singleness is a great idea, but it is not necessarily something you have to do. Why do we have to be so strict about our definition of singleness? Well, keep reading the verses…

To Be Continued…Next Time: Embracing Biblical Singleness Pt. III



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