In the past, I have been asked and even wrote about my reasons or motivations to be sober or sexually pure. The original goal was to have 35 motivations and I wrote mine here, “My Motivations”. Upon looking at them (something I originally had no intention of doing today-though I should be reviewing them daily), I had only five reasons that were “God-focused?” They were:
#1 “I want intimacy with God.”
#7 “God wants it for my benefit.”
#8 “God demands it. I want to obey.”
#27 I want to please God (“Well done good and faithful servant.”).
#31 I desire to do God’s will
I had only two that began with “God” instead of “I!” And both of those were me-focused! One had my benefit in italics stressing me! And the other had an “I” statement after it! I put #1 down first because that’s what we are supposed to do, right? #27 was still about me getting something, not about pleasing God. So all in all, I had only one reason that was God-focused! And I even doubt that. Even in my recovery motivation, I was selfish! My wife has been telling me this for weeks, maybe even months. But I never listened to her. I dismissed her every time sometimes, frankly, rather rudely and deprecatingly basically devaluing her, degrading her, and diminishing her.
Today even, I did not mean to write this post. Instead, I wanted to begin writing about my definition or thoughts about sexual purity and sobriety from a biblical perspective, something I should have done a long time ago. So in reading 1 Thessalonians 4:3 again and again, I expanded to include 4:4 and 4:5. Then I realized that I was still out of context and needed to included 4:1-2 and 4:6-8 again all the while seeking out “What is sexual purity?”
So probably for the first time in my recovery am I seeking out what God has to say to me about sexual purity and sobriety. In the past, it has all (maybe except for the 4 or 5 devotionals that I’ve written) been reflections about various thoughts or books that I’ve read. Rarely did I ever start with the Scriptures.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 states,
1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.
To me, these verses are very straightforward…maybe too straightforward.The will of God for us is to be holy, set apart unto God as His unequivocally, namely and especially in regards to sexual immorality. But why? Why be sexually pure?
- It is extremely important to God. While sexual purity does not equal the whole of sanctification, it is the first instruction, maybe even a primary objective in sanctification because it speaks to faithfulness, loyalty, and singularity (1 Thess 4:3).
- It is also the will of God (1 Thess 4:3).
- It is our calling (1 Thess 4:7).
- It is how we walk and please God (1 Thess 4:1).
- It is a demonstration of the Holy Spirit in one’s life(1 Thess 4:4). First, we must “know how to possess our own vessels,” or bodies, “in sanctification and honor.” This primarily is an action of self-control, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). To do so in sanctification requires the Spirit of God, for apart from God we can do nothing (cf. John 15:5). How else can we be holy (Lev 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16) or perfect (Matt 5:48)?
- It is honorable (1 Thess 4:4). It is honorable before God and before man. To live purely in a sexualized world as Daniel lived godly in a pagan world is to stand out among people. To show honor and respect to women instead of objectifying and sexualizing them is to be different and stand apart. It is honoring them in God’s image.
- It treats our brothers rightly (1 Thess 4:6). Or in other words, not to abstain from sexual immorality is to sin against and defraud/take advantage of our brother. So to not control my lustful passions and commit adultery of the heart/mind I not only sin against my wife, the person(s) being depicted, but also my brother(s) and the parents of the person(s) being depicted.
- Not to abstain from sexual immorality is rejecting God (1 Thess 4:8).
- Not to abstain from sexual immorality has grave consequences including the vengeance of God (1 Thess 4:6).
These reasons remove me from the subject placing God as the subject because these motivations are founded on what God has said. While some of my other motivations may have been biblical, they didn’t start with the Bible. The Bible has many more (infinite?) motivations than I could ever conjure.