RUN FROM IMMORALITY
I Corinthians 6:18a
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
I Corinthians 6:18a (Holman) Flee from sexual immorality!
The Old Testament says Joseph was well-built and handsome. His master’s wife lusted after him and said, “Sleep with me.” Joseph repeatedly refused her advances. Frustrated at being spurned, she grabbed his garment and demanded he go to bed with her. To preserve his purity, Joseph ran (GN 39:6-12).
I pray God will help us all know the right time to flee. When it comes to moral purity, may the Lord make us track stars, world-class sprinters who flee from sexual immorality as fast as our legs will carry us. Be alert to seven red flags God waves at us.
Red flag one: beware questionable activities for which we gladly endure hardship. When, in order to do them, we are willing to sacrifice Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, family time, or innocent pleasures we used to enjoy, we should hear sirens, whistles, and bells warning us.
Red flag two: beware activities which anger us when reproved for them. Anything we are overly defensive about obviously has a grip on us and may be approaching idol status.
Red flag three: beware indulgent behaviors we think a lot about when alone, and when we are not actually doing them. Obsession of attention usually indicates obsession of affection. The word “addiction” comes to mind.
Red flag four: beware pornography. Parents, protect your children. According to USA Today, three-fourths of elementary students use computers at home for school work.
Parents need to monitor what their children see on the internet. Consider putting internet computers in the living room.
Internet pornography must be intentionally guarded against. According to a popular teen magazine, internet pornography is a factor in 33% of divorces. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers puts the figure at 25%. In other words, between one-fourth and one-third of divorces are fueled by internet pornography.
Amy Sohn clearly states the dilemma faced by many wives. Once upon a time, a woman’s greatest fear was a beautiful woman. These days, her greatest fear is thousands of them (see New York, May 30, 2005, page 73).
Pornography is pernicious. Like cancer cells, it eats away at a person’s innermost essence. Its downward plunge is marked by at least six sordid predictable signposts.
One, there is immediate response and instant satisfaction. Viewers get hooked on what they see and keep coming back to it. This rapidly results in addiction, whether admitted to or not. Denial cannot refute the fact.
Two, there is an ever heightening need for more graphic scenes, more shocking material, in order to get the same response as before.
Three, a lie is accepted. Pornography sends a blatant false message: the sole purpose of intimacy is instant gratification, however much pain it causes another.
The people watched on pornography become, in the minds of those viewing it, objects and sub-human. Pornography causes men to show a huge increase in callousness toward women and all human life. Men often begin to regard rape as a trivial offense.
Ladies, I urge you to make pornography a women’s rights issue, to battle it with all your might. It puts you and your daughters in jeopardy, for it inflames unholy desires in ungodly men and demeans your gender to being objects, not human beings with dignity.
Four, there is desensitization to the material’s shock effect. What was first gross, disgusting, and disturbing becomes acceptable, commonplace, and desirable.
Five, pornography pulverizes normal sensitivities. The onlookers grow plastic. Even their countenance often takes on an artificial tint.
Six, there is a tendency for a person hooked on ungodly images to regress into actually acting out the horrible scenes. They easily move from fantasy to reality.
These actions devastate normal relationships, including inside marriage, and cause an inability for the person to think of intimacy normally. Pornography perverts intimacy by removing it from the warmth of a personal relationship and placing it in the context of a laptop.
Within marriage we have freedom of expression in intimacy, but it must be comfortable to both spouses. Talk with each other about details of intimacy. Seek consensus.
Red flag five: beware activities we wish no one opposed, deeds we would like to do without any loss of popularity. The deeds we hope the pastor never sees us doing are usually sins we wish were not sins.
My dad’s knock at a door was once answered by a man holding a beer. Upon seeing Dad, the man immediately hid his beer behind his back, and meekly said, “Hi, Pastor.” If we do not want the pastor to see what we are doing, we certainly should not want God to see it.
I once had a lady church member upset with me over preaching about modesty. She had tried on several bathing suits at a store, but was unable to buy any because she said she kept worrying about what her pastor would think if he saw her in one. It is amazing what pastors get blamed for.
I once visited a lady who was so horrified at the thought of my seeing her son’s stinky tennis shoes on a kitchen counter that, when she thought I was not looking, she threw them in the refrigerator. Don’t worry about what the pastor thinks. Worry about God.
Red flag six: beware living together without marriage. It is sin. Cohabitation entails the wilful choice to indulge in immorality. It is one thing to fall into impurity from time to time due to weakness; it is quite another to give in to lust completely, to give up the fight entirely.
“Trial marriage” is a misnomer, a contradiction in terms. “Trial” marriages leave out the one element which makes a marriage a marriage. No one experiences the depth of marriage until a commitment is made to stay together till death.
Marriage can never be an experiment, its conditions can not be simulated. If we can walk out of a relationship at any time, and leave problems rather than work to solve them, we do not begin to have a clue as to what marriage means.
Another fallacy in trial marriages is, they do not work. A Scandinavian study revealed 80% of couples who lived together before wedlock had their marriages end in divorce. Cohabitation without marriage in and of itself bespeaks lack of appreciation for the importance of wedding vows.
Red flag seven: beware absentee dads. Fathers, intentionally place value on your daughters.
Mom and others can encourage and help girls, but daughters need to feel they are treasured by their fathers. Dads, hold them, hug them. Make them aware of your attitude regarding their infinite worth.
Girls shouldn’t have to seek male contact from other men because Dad left a vacuum. Dad, if you don’t hug your daughter, she will try to find a man who will.
Dads need to be proactive in helping daughters, as well as sons, learn proper sexuality. Mothers usually have the role of teaching daughters how to dress modestly.
Fathers, you often can do a better job of this. You are able to tell your daughter from firsthand experience what a man is capable of thinking.
Dad is the one called by God to lead his family. This duty includes responsibility to help our daughters be the godly, wholesome Christ-followers they are meant to be.