When I began fencing in high school, my coach would shout the correct defensive position (“parry”) against the move he was making. When he extended his weapon and lunged, to repel the attack I had to listen and respond immediately.
That active listening brings to mind the prompt obedience Scripture calls for in the area of sexual temptation. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul writes to believers tempted to solicit pagan temple prostitutes, telling them to “flee from sexual immorality.” Sometimes we are to “stand firm” in challenging circumstances (Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:11), but here the Bible practically shouts our best defense: “Run away!”
Immediate action guards against compromise. Small compromises can lead to devastating defeats. An unrestrained thought, a glance in the wrong place on the Internet, a flirting friendship when you’re already married—each are steps that take us where we shouldn’t go and put distance between us and God.
When we flee temptation, God also provides a place to run. Through Jesus’s death on the cross for our sins, He offers us hope, forgiveness, and a new beginning—no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done. When we run to Jesus in our weakness, He sets us free to live in His strength.
Lord Jesus, out of love You gave Yourself on the cross for us. I give myself to You in obedience to Your will.
God alone can meet our deepest needs and give us soul-deep satisfaction.
Do you ever think that religious views of sexuality are outdated or unloving? If so, it’s important to remember that when Paul writes about the sensitive subject of personal sexual behavior, he is no longer thinking like the legalist he had been. In his relationship to Christ he’s found a change of heart that longs for the kind of love he describes in his thirteenth chapter.
So when Paul urges his readers in 1 Corinthians 6 to move beyond self-centered sexual behavior, personal conflict, or taking one another to court—he’s not just trying to get them to play by the rules of faith. He’s urging them to experience for themselves a new way of living in the Spirit and love of Christ.