Section Two: The Personal Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic One: Being Physically Pure.
Our reading for today: 1st Corinthians 6: 13-20 (MsgB)
You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor Him with your body! God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not. There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
Back in the day (1985), Richard Foster, author of one of the best books on the spiritual disciplines, Celebration of Discipline, wrote a follow-up book that didn’t sell like his classic, but in all honesty, it should have. It was called Money, Sex and Power: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life. In it, Foster spelled out, in great detail, the three major temptations facing every person who’s ever tried to live a well-disciplined life here on planet earth.
Years later, I had a friend and co-worker in Promise Keepers, the men’s ministry, who took Foster’s three-pronged theme and made it just a bit more gutsy for men by stating the three biggest temptations waiting for any guy who truly wants to follow Jesus…
Gold, Glory and Girls!
You see, each generation has specific ways in which we are tempted; but quite honestly, the temptations themselves are as old as the Bible itself. That’s why we find Paul, here in his letter to the Corinthian church, warning his friends that they can not allow the way the world looks at things like sex to overcome them as they walk out their faith in Christ. Our bodies are not our own, Paul proclaims, everything belongs to God!
In truth, my sexuality and the way I live it out has dramatic effect on both my life and the lives of others around me. The way you and I handle wealth and influence has similar consequences as well. As Paul states, the idea that God is only interested in my spirituality and not in the manner in which I use my body is ludicrous.
So, my friends, it’s time for a rude awakening. Time to lift the covers (sorry for the pun) off of our hush-hush approach to our sexual improprieties. And how about if we all start in our church settings by taking a long hard look at God’s command for faithfulness, honesty, and integrity in all areas of our sexuality, not just cherry-pick a few popular themes that we conservatives feel passionate about right now?
Oh, and that way we Americanized Christians build up our wealth and power, stepping on the poor and marginalized of the world in order to secure our financial futures? Let’s be gut-honest here. God cares. He really does! Maybe it’s time we first-world Christians start talking about the blatant abuse of others that occurs when all we focus on is the padding of our wallets or the long-term wealth management of our lives? You see, to God, these social issues really matter. In truth, God cares about all of these things and it’s time you and I allow the Holy Spirit to address some these tough issues that are of great concern to both Him and to our world today.
Anybody ready to tackle some really tough stuff?
Money? Sex? Power?
As I see it, we just can’t have an honest conversation about being physically pure without delving into these really difficult issues!
O.K. I’m done preaching now. Time to pray and act.
My prayer: Father God, it’s not good enough to have a life that’s disciplined only in the realm of the spiritual. You care greatly how I act in the physical realm as well. Holy Spirit, indwell me and empower me to live a life of physical purity in the arenas of money, sex, and power. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I aware of any inconsistencies or serious inadequacies in the realms of money, sex, or power? Do I have a way of checking myself on a regular basis so that I don’t ignore the easily overlooked challenges within these three important components of life?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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