Check Yourself: Avoiding “Porneia”?

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality . . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

Here’s a weird idea – choosing on purpose not to participate in any kind of sexual expression except with an opposite-gender spouse you are married to. I’m not being sarcastic. It is a weird idea in many cultures, including the one Christianity was born in.

check_350In this Greek and Roman world, homosexual and heterosexual sex with slaves and prostitutes, especially, was not only normal, it was religious, part of the worship of all kinds of gods. It’s just the way the world operated. Why would you not do something your body obviously wanted to do? Why torture yourself?

It’s a question Christians ask, too. Today’s verse begins the answer: It is God’s will that we be different from our world; that’s one part of what being sanctified means. In this case, the way God wants us to be different is to set our course away from “porneia,” the word translated here as “sexual immorality” that included every kind of sexual sin.

But we knew that already. This week’s question is, how is the avoiding going? And how can we do better? More tomorrow.

Think: When it comes to sexual immorality, is your goal to get far away from it or to get closer and closer to it without necessarily giving in? How effective would you expect that second strategy to be in the long run?

Pray: Ask God to help you to submit to his will by avoiding sexual immorality.

Do: Notice in your life this week the moments where you have opportunity to move closer to or further from sexual immorality.