Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 13th

Body Control

…that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God. …  The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

1 Thessalonians 4:4-7

Learning how to handle our bodies properly is not easy. God gave our bodies to us. Included in the gift of our bodies is a remarkable capacity to churn out hormones that pour into the bloodstream and have a profound effect upon the way our bodies function. At puberty, new hormones appear and we experience sexual changes, together with very powerful drives that urge us, and almost seem to compel us, to certain sexual activities. Society tells us those urges are natural and ought to be satisfied whenever opportunity affords. They argue that the sexual appetite should be satisfied just like the urge to hunger, thirst, or sleep.

They are right that sex is a natural function, but what they are not saying, and what the Scriptures reveal, is that all natural functions need degrees of control. When a flooding river is controlled by banks, its intensity is increased. That is why marriage constitutes a kind of channeled control for sex. There is ample provision made for the stream, but the limits increase the intensity and enjoyment. That is what God has in mind as part of the process of producing a whole person.

So Paul says that we are to learn how to control our bodies in holiness — wholeness — and honor. Control contributes to this. You are in charge of your own body. You are not bound to it or a slave to it. In order to learn control, you must avoid the slavery of lust. Paul taught these believers not to give in to that city's sexual pressures. They should learn how to handle their bodies rightly and thus reflect the beauty and glory of a life that is whole.

They should also learn to respect the rights of others. What does it mean to not wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister? Let me put it plainly: It means no adultery; no prostitution; no pornography. All such behavior wrongs others. It steals the property of others and destroys their rights. The tenth commandment says, Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's wife nor his ox nor his ass nor anything that is his (Exodus 20:17). That is what some of the Thessalonians were doing. Their conduct destroyed the wholeness of their own lives, and it also hurt and impacted others.

Pastors hear many stories of families being ruined by adultery. There is enormous heartache that goes along with this behavior. God so loves us and so longs to see beautiful, whole people that he will take drastic action when we violate his will. Silently, invisibly, his judgment falls. Believer and unbeliever alike cannot escape the painful results of sinful choices. If we choose to sin, there will be evil results. We cannot avoid it. We can be forgiven, but that does not change the results. Forgiveness restores the broken relationship and gives us strength to walk on in freedom in the future, but it does not change or eliminate the hurt of the past.

Father, thank you for your grace and mercy in this area of my life. Strengthen me to control my own body in a way that honors you.

Life Application

To what degree have you learned to control your own body? How can you take steps to gain control?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Handling your Sex Drive

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