Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 11, 2019
All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything. For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:12b, 20 (NRSV)
The Corinthian Christians embraced Paul’s message of freedom in Christ with great zeal and excitement. Rather than living under the weight of the law, with its demands and moral restraints, they now had a way to follow God and still indulge freely in the sexually indulgent society in which they lived. In short, they said, “If Jesus came to set us free, surely that freedom means we are now liberated to do the things we want to do, to give in to any desire that we may feel.”
As J.P. Moreland says, “Feelings are wonderful servants but terrible masters.” God does not want you to shut down your emotions and desires, but he does want them to be used to propel your life into an ever-increasing alignment with his Kingdom. St. Paul isn’t condemning the fact that they deeply desire something, he’s warning them against being mastered by a desire that is out of step with God’s best for them.
Sexual desire is one of the deepest and strongest longings known to humankind. It is so powerful that, before we even realize it, we can find ourselves enslaved to its demands. Sexual slavery promises freedom while always deepening its hold. It is never content to leave you as you are but will relentlessly push you deeper into dark places, places you never thought you would go. What starts as “innocent” flirtation with a colleague grows into a deep emotional attachment that becomes a full-blown affair. An unguarded embrace of our culture’s incessant objectification of women enslaves us to the cheap, self-serving gratification found in pornography and the strip club.
God wants you to master your desires before they master you. He deeply desires that you know, embody, and walk in the freedom won for you through the self-giving love of Jesus. In St. Paul’s language, we “glorify God in our bodies” when we live as free women and free men. Not free to indulge every desire, but free to subject those desires to an even greater longing to know the abundant life of God.
The Lord invites you to walk in his ways, not because he wants to keep you from your desires, but because he knows our desires can be broken and misleading. The courage we need to align our desires with God’s values is rooted in the belief that his will is for our good and ultimate flourishing. As Paul reminds us elsewhere, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)
Father, in your love, free us from the slavery of sexual sin and redirect our desires toward you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Where do your desires dominate you and keep you enslaved?
God wants you to master your desires before they master you. #wisdomhunters #truefreedom
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