Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (ESV)
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. (NIV)
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (NLT)
Disclaimer: Sexual Sin is the main topic of this Devo. Please read before considering sharing with young children.
Run for your life.
While reflecting on this verse, I recall a time in a small group when we were discussing the battle of sexual sin and what it actually looks like to fight sin. Some were “winning,” others “losing,” but everyone was exhausted by the battle because we viewed it as that—a battle. One person in the group spoke up and gave a pivotal illustration. He likened sexual sin to a sumo wrestler, explaining how you could try and fight it all you want, but after some time, you will inevitably lose, but if you start to run from it, you will outrun it ten times out of ten—a silly illustration, but so powerful.
It hit me. Every one of us was exhausted from the battle because we were fighting when we should have been running. The Greek word for flee is fyoo'-go which means “to flee away, to escape safely out of danger.” Regarding sexual temptation, God’s word calls us to flee, not fight. So take off your boxing gloves, strap on your running shoes, and run away as fast as possible. Run for your life. Literally.
FLEE, FLEE, FLEE!
What does it look like to flee instead of fight? Well, Jesus gives us an answer in His sermon on the mount, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29) Again, I say, run for your life. Sexual sin will kill you, so avoid it at ALL costs. Ok, maybe that didn’t answer your question since we can assume that Jesus is using hyperbole here and actually doesn't expect us to gauge our eyes out. But He is clearly telling us to take the most necessary and extreme measures possible to avoid the destructive and, ultimately, deadly path of sexual sin. “It is better to lose a part of our body,” and it is certainly better for us to forsake entertainment than for our whole bodies to be thrown in hell. Maybe it’s harsh, or maybe it’s a gracious warning—a warning for us to stop making excuses that lead us to great consequences and pitfalls. Fleeing looks like not watching that show that causes your mind to wander, and no, just because everyone else does it doesn't make it right. It looks like confessing everything to someone you trust–everything. (Luke 8:17) It looks like deleting Instagram when you find yourself clicking through hashtags. If necessary, it looks like getting a flip phone from the early 2000s, and not because it’s retro—fleeing looks like doing absolutely everything you possibly can to run for your life because what’s chasing you is seeking to kill and devour you. Fleeing does not involve compromises and excuses; when you’re running for your life, you shouldn’t be thinking about how close you can get to the thing chasing you; you should be doing everything in your strength to separate yourself from it greatly.
Ultimately, fleeing is having enough self-control to set boundaries to avoid situations where you know you won’t.
A roaring lion
Ok, maybe now you know how to run. We’ve been given the “running shoes,” but now let’s know why we are running. Another illustration for sin is seen in 1 Peter 5:8, which says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
As we talked about last week, sin will satisfy you. It will. But only for a moment, and then it will take everything from you. Enter the roaring lion. It used to be a cute and fluffy baby cub. So cute that if you were given one, you’d probably bring it into your house, feed with it and even play with it. Maybe you’d even forget what it will become, but after some time, that cub will slowly grow into a lion, and before you can react, the cute little cub you once fed will start to feed on you.
We're not talking about a literal lion in this devo, we’re talking about something far more dangerous—sexual sin. It will entice you, it will look good, and if you start feeding it, it will keep luring you in. It won’t attack right away. It will wait until you are most vulnerable, and then, it will attack everything you love. It has the power to destroy your marriage, your community, your mind, your joy, and so much more.
Maybe this sounds harsh, or maybe this is a gracious warning. As I said, sin can do far worse than a lion, and wouldn’t you want someone to tell you a hungry lion was in your house? I would hope so! Whether it’s in thought or action, if you feed sexual sin, one day, it will begin to feed on you.
“Sexual immorality is a sin against your body; every other sin someone commits is outside the body.” This statement in and of itself could be a whole other devotional, but for brevity's sake, I simply want to remind us of the importance of the body as it pertains to God’s word.
Just one verse later, Paul writes, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. This is a very different view than the world has.
For those struggling with sexual sin: The world will tell you that indulging in it isn’t harming anyone. It’s natural and merely physical. By no means! Maybe at this moment, your sin isn’t harming others (as far as you know), but one day, it will, and right now, it’s certainly harming you. Maybe you have no motivation to truly, sacrificially, and intentionally love your spouse because you are consumed with shame, or maybe you have no motivation to work hard or enjoy the blessings of life. Maybe you've even forgotten how beautiful the sunset is because you've become so numb to the beauty of God’s creation from indulging in the instant gratification and dopamine hits from sin. Maybe you don’t even know how to sit down, be still, and rest. What I do know is that if you're struggling with sexual sin, it is harming you. It will re-wire your mind and take control of your life.
So choose to run, and when you do, run straight into the open embrace of God’s grace.
Wherever you find yourself today, whether walking in sin, endlessly trying to battle sin on your own, or faithfully fleeing temptation and running after purity, I want you to know one thing. And that one thing isn’t a thing at all, it’s a person whose name is Jesus. He died for the worst part of you and rose again so you could have abundant life in Him. Forgiveness and freedom are found in him alone!
Flee from sin, walk with Jesus, and talk to a friend.
Written by Blake Stanley