1 Corinthians 9 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
According to the above verse, Paul the Apostle recognized the power of the flesh and its propensity to sin. All of us have seen fruitful, even powerful men and women in their faith and ministry who have succumbed to lust of flesh and have “disqualified” their influence, testimony and ministry. Paul realized this and “disciplined (his) body and kept it under control.”
Paul made an additional, potent statement about the “body” in 1 Corinthians 6 13 The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power… 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.
Let’s look at several lessons in this brief passage:
- The body is “not meant for sexuality immorality.”
- God gives us the power to keep our body under control – “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.”
- In the Epistles, we are told to “flee” from “idolatry”, “the love of money”, “the passions of youth” and in verse 18 “sexuality immorality”. Two of the four usages of “flee” explicitly were to flee sins of the body. With many lustful idols sexual in nature, 3 of the 4 usages of “flee” are regarding “sexual immorality.” The usage of “flee” is the strongest term to run, get away from sexual immorality and temptations of the flesh.
- “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God.”
- “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.”
- “So, glorify God in your body.”
Jesus “in every respect (was) tempted as we are, yet without sin” Hebrews 4:15. How did He do this recognizing that He was fully man while on earth? In the face of temptation in a very vulnerable time being without food for 40 days, totally famished, Jesus replied to the temptations of the devil, “It is written . . . It is written . . . It is written . . . ” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). His tool of victory was God’s Word. He showed us the path to victory. As it states in Psalms 119:11, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Let me use one more “flee” verse. James 4 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Amen!