Todays FDR are 1 Samuel 21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-10
In todays chapter Paul is not breaking news, he is urging this community of believers to increasingly live out their Christian life in a way that ‘makes God smile” (see 40 days of Purpose), or as the Message so beautifully puts it ‘not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance’. Our efforts towards sexual purity are pleasing to God, part of His plan for us.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified,that you should avoid sexual immorality (v3)
Further, as we ‘learn to control’ our own bodies ‘in a way that is holy and honorable’ (v4) we demonstrate that we KNOW GOD. Conversely, those who don’t exercise control are like ‘the heathen’ (v5) demonstrating that they are far from God. So knowing God leads to a desire for sexual purity. So if this area is a struggle, whether in mind or body, the only answer is to turn to God and seek to know Him more! Make it your no 1 goal – write it clearly on the top of your 2014 calendar!
What’s more, Paul reminds us
‘That in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.’ (v6)
John Piper says when we sin sexually we are not seeking the highest good of others, neither the woman or the man we sin with, nor the person we fantasize about nor the person in the pornography, nor the spouse or parent of any of these. It is not christian love that moves us in any of this. It is simply selfish desire. As Christians we are supposed to genuinely love others, not use them. Sexual purity is the loving way to treat others.
Finally, in case we’re needing another incentive, here it is:
‘The Lord will punish men for all such sins…’ (v6)
Turn from God and pursue sexual immorality at your own peril, sooner or later you will meet the wrath of God (no matter how much you try to hide it or deny it now).
Be encouraged that God knows us better than anyone! He has covered our sin and smiles when we choose to glorify him in our bodies. He is patient when we stumble, and generous when we cry out for help to overcome. So as Paul urges in this letter, keep on living to please God more and more.
Turning briefly to 1 Samuel 21 we see a great example in David of one who stumbled and sinned and yet overall made God smile, being ‘a man after God’s heart’. Yet today there is so much deceit before Ahimelech the priest, it seems David has forgotten to trust God with his current predicament. Thankfully it isn’t long before David comes to his senses and turns back to God (check out Psalm 56, where David pours out his heart to God after being seized by the Philistines in Gath in the next chapter). What an example for us to follow in our own struggles.
May we be uplifted by the reminder that God is pleased to restore us when we have wandered off track, because He is faithful and full of compassion…
Have mercy on me, O God,
According to your unfailing love;
According to your great compassion
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.