What does it mean to Abstain from Sexual Immorality?
Well, to abstain from something means to refrain from something voluntarily. So, when God wants us to abstain from engaging in sexual acts outside of marriage; why do we; as people and Christians still lust after something or someone we can’t have. Today, we have become so accustomed to the desires of our flesh that we have completely forgotten what God’s Word has said about abstaining from sexual immorality. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, it talks about how we should abstain from sexual immorality and that our bodies are meant to be sanctified through God.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
“3. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4. that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5. not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God….”
Paul said you should abstain from sexual immorality and later in verse 5, not to give into the passion of lust. Sanctification comes from the Greek for “set apart”; so if God wants us to possess an earthly vessel that is set apart from the world then why do we still cling and hold onto our lustful desires? Sexual Immorality isn’t just adultery; it also encompasses: premarital sex, extramarital sex, prostitution, and homosexuality; but 1 Corinthians 6:9 also focuses on sexual immorality where it says, “9. … Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…”
Due to the advanced technology, TV, newspapers, magazines, and phones of today, it has become harder for us as people and as Christians to abstain from engaging in sexual acts. A way for us as Christians; especially men of God to shield ourselves from the sexual vices of this by distancing ourselves from those devices that give rise to our sexual desires by reading and studying the Word of God and what He has to say about sexual immorality.
1 Corinthians 6:18
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”
The human body is meant to be a temple of God, but when we engage in the sexual desires of our flesh; we are contaminating what was meant to be the temple of God. I recently watched a YouTube video entitled, “Avoiding the Current of Sexual Sin” where Jonathan Pokluda, a pastor at Watermark Community Church talks about how we as people and as Christians can avoid sexual sin.
In the video, Pastor Jonathan talks about several key points that we should learn to use in order to distance ourselves from sexual immorality:
- Be sanctified through sexual purity.
- “Don’t be normal. Stand out. Present yourself as holy.”
- “Allow Him to present yourself as holy.”
- Avoid sexual immorality with self-control.
- “Take control of your own body.”
- “Learn to control your body.”
- Sexual Sin is never safe.
- “How someone handles their sexual cravings will show you the God they worship.”
WordPress blog The Makers Marksmen wrote a blog post entitled, “Training for Discipline in Purity” that focuses on learning to discipline ourselves so that we become sexually pure and not fall to sexual immorality. In the blog post, they said, “In the presence of temptation, we also lose a sense of reality, we forget what is right and wrong and instead think about how it will feel when we give in” and this is true in today’s society. We get so wrapped up in the idea of self-pleasure and self-indulgence that we don’t even realize that we are moving farther and farther away from what the Bible calls not to do regarding fulfilling the desires of our flesh.
The Makers Marksmen said, “Don’t let relationships get out of hand by not giving in to flirtation lest it become something more. Don’t be tempted by pornography by blocking access to that content from your devices…”
The Makers Marksmen also wrote another blog post called, “Discipline of Purity” which talks about disciplining ourselves against the sexually-induced world that we live in. Makers Marksmen said in the blog post, “The advancements in the internet have given us the ability to look anything up and since culture has crept deeply into the minds of men, lust and perversion have drawn the men of the church into the abyss of pornography.”
In my opinion, it’s gut-wrenching to know that young adults and even grown men and women have the desire to fulfill their fleshly desires through technology, TV, magazines, and more because they failed to learn to take control of their own bodies and resist the urge to engage in that kind of practice. But, I am no different; like I said in my last blog post, it’s a constant internal battle and struggle but I feel that the issue also a test in order to get me to focus on God and read His Word.
The Makers Marksman also said, “With every fiber of our being we should strive to abstain from the fleshly pleasures that our society has to offer.”
In the earlier paragraph, I mentioned self-control because God’s Holy Spirit produces what the Bible calls the Fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, it lists all the Fruit of the Spirit, but the last “Fruit” is the one I will be talking about.
“22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, and self-control…”.
Self-Control. God wants us to have self-control and to learn to combat the desires of our flesh. WordPress blogger SpaniardVIII wrote an article called, “Why Did Jesus Say To Cut Off Your Hand, Foot, and Gouge Out Your Eye?” which talks about how we should learn to cut off the thing that is causing us to sin. He said in the blog post, “Without Jesus in your life, you are being used by Satan to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26) and also to satisfy your sinful desires…”
That statement couldn’t be truer because, in today’s day and age, we need to learn and identify what causes us to commit sexual immorality so that we can “discard” it and gain the part of us that committed the act back but through Jesus Christ. Another WordPress blogger Daily Dependence wrote a blog post entitled, “★ Thought for the Day – Avoiding the Consequences of Lust (Part 3b) ★” which focuses on the consequences of giving into our lust. Daily Dependence quoted Mark Driscoll saying, “Whether it’s what movies to watch, what songs to listen to, or any other number of choices, determining the godliness of a decision depends on one simple question…Does this glorify Christ, or does it gratify my sinful desires?”
This quote, in my opinion, is another way of showing self-control because when we read, listen, or anything else; we are subconsciously taking in what we see, so if we ask the question in the above quote then that might be a way for us to abstain from engaging in sexual immorality.
Daily Dependence has several statements that we as people and Christians should use when we feel ourselves starting to either slip into old habits or want to keep ourselves from falling into the sexual trap called sexual immorality.
- “Looking is not any better than touching and we need to realize that it will corrupt our heart.”
- “The eventual consummation of sin is just the final nail in the coffin.”
- “Conceding to temptation is a slow fade of the man or woman who fails to recognize the guideposts.”
- “There needs to be a zero-tolerance approach to lust.”
- “Flee from sexual immorality!” And if we fail to, we need to repent and ask God to forgive us.
- “Don’t allow lust to enslave you, instead let your life and body be holy and pleasing to God!”
In the end, though; abstaining from sexual immorality is not only a personal choice but a conscious and voluntary decision to follow what God says regarding the nature of sex. Sexual Immorality is a symptom of the dark, sinful nature of humans and it is only through Jesus Christ and His Word that we can flee from sexual immorality and embrace the life that God intends for us.
So, What Will You Do? Will you try and free yourself from the vice-like grip of sexual immorality? Will you turn to God’s Word when you feel that you are starting to slip into sexual immorality? When we feel, ourselves start to fall back into old habits; all we have to do is look upwards or get on our hands and knees and ask God: “Please help me to resist the pull towards sin.” Have there been times in your life where you have felt the pull to engage in sexual immorality, but have looked to God first? I would like to hear your thoughts. Please comment below and join the discussion.
“Avoiding the Current of Sexual Sin”. YouTube, uploaded by porchdallas, 2 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsgTiV7dt2M . Accessed 2 August 2017.
Daily Dependence. “★ Thought for the Day – Avoiding the Consequences of Lust (Part 3b) ★”, dailydependence.wordpress.com, 18 Apr. 2017. https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/%E2%98%85-thought-for-the-day-avoiding-the-consequences-of-lust-part-3b-%E2%98%85/ . Accessed 2 August 2017.
SpaniardVIII. “Why Did Jesus Say To Cut Off Your Hand, Foot, and Gouge Out Your Eye?”, spiritualminefield.wordpress.com. 24 July 2017. https://spiritualminefield.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/why-did-jesus-say-to-cut-off-your-hand-foot-and-gouge-out-your-eye/ . Accessed 1 August 2017.
The Makers Marksmen. “Training for Discipline in Purity.” themakersmarksmen.wordpress.com, https://themakersmarksmen.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/training-for-discipline-in-purity/ . Accessed 2 August 2017.
- “Discipline of Purity” themakersmarksmen.wordpress.com, https://themakersmarksmen.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/discipline-of-purity/ . Accessed 2 August 2017.
Allen, Matthew. “ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY” http://preachingbymatthew.com/abstain-from-sexual-immorality/ . Accessed 2 August 2017.
Author Unknown. “Galatians 5:22-23 HD Wallpaper” http://www.godswordimages.com/wallpaper/love/galatians-5-22-23/ . Accessed 2 August 2017.
Author Unknown. “Job 31:1 HD Wallpaper” http://www.godswordimages.com/wallpaper/self-control/job-31-1/ . Accessed 2 August 2017.
Valera, Liza Mae. “Run from Sexual Sin | 1 Corinthians 6:18-20” http://www.hopehealsoutreach.com/devotionals/run-from-sexual-sin . Accessed 2 August 2017.