Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4
What picture do you get in your mind when you think about the people of Thessalonica in the Bible? I might be wrong- and maybe it’s just me- but in my mind, the Thessalonians were these unattractive ancient people, walking around in robes and turbans and taking care of camels and donkeys all day. Whatever it was, I’m unable to imagine what about the Thessalonian ladies was possibly causing any rancor between the guys? I mean, to me, the Bible-time ladies all seem to even look the same unattractive flat way.
Maybe. Maybe not.
What’s interesting though is how some things have always been issues in the world- from as far back as Paul’s letter, he’s having to write the Thessalonians and dealing with subjects like lust and sexual immorality, hassles and betrayals over spouses, and stuff like that.
Have you dealt with a problem for so long and then got to the point where you became so used to it and began to feel like this has been with you all your life? Like it’s your ‘new normal’.
We live in that sort of world. The narrative outside our window is still one of immorality in so many varied expressions, plus a few contemporary updates. It’s a world of uncleanness, without any values whatsoever. It’s a world where the extent of evil and of depravity is totally alarming.
I think when we appreciate the sameness of our context with that of the Thessalonians, then we would latch on to the wisdom Paul shares with them. Wisdom on sexual purity and integrity is not about whether you’re single or married, dating or not, male or female, new Christian or old… It’s the direction to life we must all be restating and re-establishing ourselves in.
Age old problem, but same old wisdom.
1. What Do You Believe?
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality 1 Thessalonians 4:3 NKJV
I think the first thing the devil tries to do in us is not that he tries to make us do wrong, it is that he tries to make us believe wrong. In a creepy and subtle way, he wants to make us believe that the standards have changed. Things that used to be wrong are now all about personal tendencies and inclinations.
Do you still believe deep in your heart that God calls you to be sanctified (set apart ) in a world full of immorality? Do you still believe that God’s standards of right and wrong haven’t come back with a 2020-update? Do you still honour marriage as a God-thing in your heart? Do you still believe in God’s call to purity? The Bible warns us to guard against deception.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV
2. What Do You See?
That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you 1 Thessalonians 4:11
What aspirations are before your eyes? If you had all the opportunity in the world, what would you do with it? For many Christians, sexual integrity is not a question of dignity- it is simply a lack of opportunity. The truth is that with time, opportunity will come to reveal the true aspirations of the heart.
You cannot possibly be meditating on how unbelievers are ‘enjoying’ and feeding on the big lie that your Christianity and character integrity are a deprivation of the ‘real life’, and think that with time, you will not throw away every value you hold.
What kind of life do you aspire towards? What are your fantasies? If all your dreams are supplied from what you soak in from some quack celebrity flashes on the screens, then your life will ultimately catch up with all that. You’ll just be the local low-budget version of the crap.
Do you take time to set your aspirations in tune with God’s word? Do you honour people walking in sexual integrity, people building healthy marriages and living right; or do you simply sit on twitter all day listening to the garbage of stories and stories of depravity and immorality? What is shaping your aspirations? If you make your life a dustbin, you can’t be surprised to see junk come out of you.
3. What Do You Know?
That each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor [being available for God’s purpose and separated from things profane], 1 Thessalonians 4:4 AMP
that each of you know how to manage his sexual impulses in a holy and honorable manner (CJB)
Learn how to take charge over your own body, maintaining purity and honor. (VOICE)
Imagine buying sharwama as a surprise for your little 4 year-old nephew. You come in one hour later and meet a mess. He opened up the sharwama, made a mess of everything, poked stuff in his eyes, poured stuff all over the rug, and all that. Now, he is lying down in pain and can’t even open his eyes. The truth is there was nothing wrong with the sharwama, but there was everything wrong with his failure to know how to handle it.
God has blessed you with a beautiful gift of sexuality, not to mess up your life or make you burn all day long with uncontrollable passion, but as a priceless gift to build a beautiful marriage and find God expressions in that.
Learn how to take charge of your own body!
Your body has triggers. You’re human. That’s not news. Stop behaving like a novice. Stop pouring your sharwama everywhere! Who told you every social media platform is for you? You make your body a touch screen for everybody that cares to touch and you don’t know it will light up? You listen to anything and are forming surprised at where it lands you? Do you really think your body can go anywhere and be with anybody at anytime, but you will control it? Are you that silly? If you don’t work with the regulator knobs on your gas cooker, you will burn down the building! That fire is stronger than you. Do you despise accountability?
God doesn’t only give you the strength for purity, He alongside with that gives you the wisdom to manage your sexual impulses in an honourable manner. That’s the full picture of grace. And the last I checked, grace isn’t given in half package.
From ancient Thessalonica to your house today, the world has dealt with problems of sexual compromise and immorality long enough. You don’t have to add your name to the victim list. Your marriage doesn’t have to be weakened by immorality or sexual compromise. Your singleness doesn’t have to be wrecked. Not every victim down the years was that weak. Not every victor was that strong. I think it’s just a question of embracing the wisdom of God.
Something to pray
That you will behave properly… 1 Thessalonians 4:12 AMP
Pray for the Lord to give you the light and the strength to behave properly as regards your sexuality