4 Each of you must know how to control his own body in a holy and honorable manner, 5 not with passion and lust like the gentiles who do not know God. – 1 Thess. 4:4 ISV
Paul, in his letters, to the churches reminds them of the things he has taught them about how to live a Christian lifestyle. He continually encourages them to study, to pray for and encourage each other. These letters were written to churches whose members understood persecution. They lived with it every day. He was a great example to them because of all the beatings and persecutions that he endured on an almost daily basis. We don’t have to face those types of offenses every day like they did. But, the temptations of the flesh that Paul warns them against are just as real today as they were then. As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted to sin. But, we are also told that we will never be tempted above that which we can bear and there is always a way out, if we want to avoid the sin badly enough. Our flesh tempts in some many areas, we can sin when we gossip, when we hate others, when we withhold our abundance of worldly goods from those around us, when we see others hurting and don’t take the time to comfort them. When we think unkind thoughts about others, even though we don’t say the words, the harm is done to us and our relationship with God. The world is a cesspool of temptations for the flesh. All of these sins are outside the body, except for sexual sin, which defiles the temple of the living God, Our bodies were created by God to glorify God. When we participate in illicit sexual activity, whether in thought or action, our bodies and souls are bound with those bodies and desecrate the Temple.
15 Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute! 16 It is written in the Scriptures, “The two will become one body.” So you should know that anyone who joins with a prostitute becomes one body with the prostitute. 17 But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.. — 1 Cor. 6:15-17 NCV
So, we must be careful to avoid all temptations, but, especially sexual temptations. So, when you feel that nudge to walk away from a situation, don’t just walk away, Run!
18 So run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. 19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, 20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies. — 1 Cor. 6:18-20
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. — Col. 2:11-14 NIV
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law given in the Old Testament. God is no longer concerned with whether or not, we are circumcised physically, His concern is with what is going on in our hearts. Our water baptism is an outward symbol of us going through the death and resurrection with Jesus, therefore our flesh is buried with Jesus and we are symbolically raised from the dead with Jesus. We are raised as new creations in Christ Jesus. All of our sin debt has been paid in full. There are no outstanding charges against us now. We need to hang onto that promise because satan is going to come around trying to convince us that we are not set free. Don’t listen to him, he is a murderer, a thief and a liar. If he can convince us that we are still guilty, he will destroy our testimony and make us useless in the kingdom here on earth. We must ask Jesus to be Lord over our lives and submit totally to His will. If we do this, when satan comes around. he will flee from us. So, when we have done everything God has asked us to do in a situation, then just stand firm and resist. How do we resist the devil? We do the same thing Jesus did, we use the Word to resist him. This mean we must spend time in the word learning what God says about our rights and our position in Him.
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. — James 4:7, 8
Once we have rebuked satan with the word, we just need to stand firm. God will do the rest, the power of His word will send satan scampering away. But we must stay on the alert, he will sneak back around and try the same and/or other tactics to try to weaken our resolve.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.—Romans 12:14 NIV
Praying for and blessing those who persecute us is hard. The flesh wants to scream, strike back and get revenge. Paul tells us this is a constant battle and we know from our own experiences that that is true. Why? Because the flesh wants what it wants and it doesn’t give up easily.
18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.–Romans 7:18,19 NIV
We were born in sin into a sinful world. We are constantly tempted by the things we see, hear and read. That old father of liars, satan, knows where the chinks in our armor are and he pokes at us through those holes continuously. We are taught the “it’s all about me” philosophy on a daily basis. “You’re okay, I’m okay” is a lie from the pits of hell. No one is okay without Jesus and no one can do Godly things without the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As long as we live in this old decaying tent of flesh, we will be tempted and we will have to fight a daily battle against those temptations. But, God has not left us alone to do this, He has made provisions for us. There is always a way out.
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.–1 Cor. 10:12,13 NIV
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist,fulfill your ministry.—2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
We should always be ready to tell others about Jesus Christ. God puts people in our paths every day that need to hear the good news of salvation. Wherever we go and whatever we do, our lifestyle is sending a message. What is our lifestyle telling people? When people watch us, can they tell that we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ? Do our friends know that we are Christians by our actions or would they have to ask to be sure? Check everything you hear and compare its validity to the scriptures. There are false prophets that have slipped in among us and teach false doctrines, “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. If what you are listening to does not validate your salvation and encourage you to live a holy lifestyle, then you need to turn and run from it.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.–1 Timothy 6:11 (KJV)
Do the work of an evangelist. Remember, the mission field starts in our homes and goes out from there.