Purity, not Lust
Holy God, may the pulse of my heart throb to the cadences of Your rule. Thank You for being my God.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I want to try and recover, as best I can, a view of sex that corresponds to God’s original design. I want to tune my ears to this most intriguing rumor, a rumor that the church has so often hushed, or ignored” (Phillip Yancey). We hush or ignore God’s design to our peril!
Sexual license is common in seaports at any time in history. The Thessalonians would have grown up with sexual indulgence as the norm of society. Now that they have become Christians, a sea change is needed. Holiness, not lust, should be their controlling desire. The open affection of believers should not become an opportunity for wife swapping, but rather each man should establish a holy relationship with his wife and not seek to steal another’s. Paul seems to think that some people will reject what he says (8), even as in many churches today there is an acceptance of sexual relations outside marriage because that is the norm of society. This is a rejection of both the word of God and the voice of the indwelling Spirit who calls us to holy living.
Loving relationships between Christians in different places were an important aspect of the first-century church. Paul wanted his converts in Thessalonica to see this as one of the priorities of Christian living, and they seem to have worked hard at it (9,10). Some modern ideas of mission ignore this principle, and this often results in new Christians being kept in the cultural attitudes of their own ethnic or social group rather than experiencing the new unity of brotherly love that extends across such barriers.
Physical work was often regarded as beneath elite members of society. They thought it better to live from the patronage of others than to get their own hands dirty. Many saw their status as defined by their work. Paul, by his example and his words, presents a different pattern for believers so that they can be free to live as consistent Christians under any circumstances (11,12). Are we in work that releases us to be witnesses to the Gospel?
Do you think you are primarily defined by your work or by your relationship with Jesus Christ? How is that evident?
Father, my culture has sown to the wind, and is now reaping the whirlwind. Help me to navigate through the minefield of sexual temptation and lead a pure life.