When addressing sexual immorality, one of our preferred verses in the Bible is Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 6:18 and he writes
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
First, let us understand why Paul was particular about sexual immorality; it affects the body more than any other sin. If Paul was to be in our world today, he would say “stay away from sexual sin, you might get STD, you are hurting your own emotions…” It wasn’t just about what displeases God but also about what is harmful to the body.
Having said that, does it mean we should run from anyone we find attractive? Does that mean we should park out of our homes if we have a neighbour who we find attractive or even sexually attractive? Do we resign from our place of work if there is a colleague who we find attractive? Should we fire an employee simply because we find them sexually appealing?
What makes us find people attractive is inside of us. If we find ourselves lusting after something, what we need to deal with is inside of us and not in the object of our lust.
For example, when you are lusting after money, the problem is not money, the problem is you. When you start nursing sexual feelings towards someone, the problem isn’t that person, the problem is you.
Do you need to flee from yourself? All you need is self-control. Whatever is in your mind can only be handled in the mind. If we were to flee anytime we feel tempted, that would mean we don’t need self-control and that means we would likely fall into that temptation when we cannot flee. We need to understand where to flee and where to exercise self-control. These are three points to note
- You control yourself
- You flee from what you have no control over.
- You have no control over other people who lure you into doing the wrong thing.
The Bible says that evil company ruins good manner and therefore we are to avoid evil company but concerning our minds, the Bible says “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” When it is external, you have to avoid it by all means and when it is internal, you have to face it and fight it.
When you are sexually attracted to someone, you are the one to deal with your mind and bring it under control but if someone is making advances towards you, chances are that they will arouse you even when you don’t want to get involved and you may see yourself doing what you never wanted to do. This is why you control your mind but flee from bad influences.
What do you do when you have unclean thoughts?
Flee from yourself? – No!
Control yourself? – Yes!
In the Biblical story of Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, the Bible records that when he was being tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he had to flee! He was not the one nursing sexual feelings; he also would have given his body a chance to respond to sexual arousal if he had stayed. While Joseph had to flee, the one who needed to have applied self-restraint here is Potiphar’s wife.
When we see ourselves being pressured directly or indirectly into wrongdoing, fleeing from that scene is the best thing to do but when we are the ones nursing these feelings, self-restraint is all we need.
In a nutshell
I control what my mind thinks.
I flee from what is beyond my mind.