August 2, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (1 Corinthians 6)

Submitted by Linda U. from Gracepoint Davis Church

1 Corinthians 6:12

• How does engaging in lawful but not helpful behavior lead to being “dominated”?

Engaging in lawful behavior is obeying the letter of the law, which includes doing things that the law does not literally prohibit, things that are not beneficial, and could even be harmful, for the soul. In contrast, engaging in lawful and helpful behavior is obedience of the law while also understanding the spirit behind the law, which is God’s best intentions for our lives as He laid down the 10 commandments and other regulations and boundaries for His people.

Some examples of engaging in lawful but unhelpful behavior have to do with the use of the internet as well as consuming media (i.e. music and movies). Internet surfing, internet shopping, looking up deals on the internet, reading the news and looking up random information on websites such as Wikipedia can easily become time sinks. Essentially, this is behavior that leads to one becoming “dominated.” When I have engaged in some of these behaviors in the past, I never intend to spend long hours on the internet, but because of the addictive nature of seeking information that is easily accessible on the internet, I am no longer in control, but the internet usage “dominates” me by taking up that time I could have spent on loving others, reading a quality book, praying or other more meaningful and edifying activities.

Another example of lawful but unhelpful behavior that I have been engaged in before becoming Christian and have struggled with even after becoming Christian is consuming music and movies with violent or sexual themes. By doing this, I may have been “lawful” in the sense that the Bible doesn’t literally condemn my behavior. I thought that by watching these kinds of movies and listening to such music, I wasn’t hurting anyone or myself. In reality, I had completely underestimated the media’s harmful effects on my emotions, thoughts, and values. This behavior led to me being “dominated,” in that my mind became filled with so many impure images and feelings came from what I saw and heard in the movies and music that I consumed. These unwanted images would then creep into my mind even during the holiest of times, especially during prayer time.

Lawful but unhelpful behavior means doing what’s not sinful, per se, but through such behavior we sin by being displeasing to God, wasting His time and resources given to us or allowing sinful thought patterns and values to form within us.

• What are some lawful behaviors or habits I am engaged in that may not be beneficial for me?

Some of the lawful but unbeneficial behaviors that I find myself engaged in include being a perfectionist or having a self-reliant nature. While it’s true that the Bible doesn’t list out these activities in the 10 commandments, if I engage in these behaviors, they will lead me to sin, as they have in the past. By engaging in these behaviors, a gap forms between God and me, as well between others and me. Its consequences are insecurity, feeling distant from people, competitive towards others, and even discontent towards God. Negative thinking leads to negative/judgmental thoughts towards people, and feelings of despair towards myself or the situation. My prideful thinking and obsession for greatness and perfectionism is completely contrary to viewing myself with sober judgment, and I think more highly of myself than I ought, which is foolish and far from what God actually sees in me. My self-reliant nature causes me to feel like I don’t need God, when I actually do because I’m a sinner, a finite and fallen creature. Each time I’m tempted to engage in such unhelpful behavior, I need to remember that such behavior will lead to sin.

1 Corinthians 6:13-20

• Contrast the Bible’s view of the body versus the world’s view of the body. In what ways have I bought into the worldly view of my body?

World’s View of Body

Bible’s View of Body

Body and Spirit are separate, so it’s possible to compartmentalize the two. 

 

Sin in body stays in body.  Sinning in the body will not affect the soul.

 

 

The body craves for attention or pleasure, and it’s OK to satisfy them immediately, even if it means committing sexual immorality or being engaged in unhealthy eating habits.

 

 

Body and Spirit are united. Can’t compartmentalize the two. 

 

Sin against body is sin against spirit. Sinning against body will destroy the soul.

 

Body is member of Christ

When joined with Christ (in flesh), joined with the Lord in spirit

 

Body is temple of the Holy Spirit

 

Body was bought with a price (Jesus Christ).

 

We can glorify God with our body.  Romans 12:1 reads, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

 

Submitted by Edwin L. from Gracepoint Davis Church

1 Corinthians 6:12

• How does engaging in lawful but not helpful behavior lead to being “dominated”?

This idea basically states that one should be allowed to do whatever one wants to do as long as it doesn’t break the law. If I applied this, I would essentially be cultivating a life philosophy that is based on self-determination and self-interest. Once this kind of mindset has been developed, it is difficult to break free from this pattern of thinking, especially since such a self-serving mentality is very much in line with my sinful nature. As such, even though I start out by thinking that I have the freedom to do whatever I want, I end up getting enslaved and dominated by a mindset that is centered on the self.

• What are some lawful behaviors or habits I am engaged in that may not be beneficial for me?

There is no law that dictates how I should spend my free time or my money. I can tell myself that as long as I am not sinning, I should be free to do whatever I feel like doing or buy whatever I can afford – without regard for how “helpful” my actions would be. If I cultivate this mentality of doing whatever I want without regard for others–as long as it is lawful–I end up becoming more enslaved by this “me-first” pattern of thinking. In this way, my lawful behavior or habits end up causing me to be less loving and less effective as a Christian witness, and I get better at justifying my compromises.

1 Corinthians 6:13-20

• Contrast the Bible’s view of the body versus the world’s view of the body. In what ways have I bought into the worldly view of my body?

The world views a man’s body as something that belongs to that man. And so this man has license to do whatever he pleases with his own body. One such example is the prevailing opinion that sexual activity between consenting adults is healthy and normal. Because of the assumption that their bodies do not belong to anyone else, most people would say that these acts are ok as long as it is consensual. However, the Bible views the body as something that God created and redeemed. So each man’s body belongs to God. Furthermore, the Bible views the body as a “temple of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, the body is sacred, and it meant to be used to glorify God rather than to please the self.

The world also views the body as something with needs, and these needs have to be obeyed. In particular, the world views sexual desires in a man as being equivalent to hunger for food. In this view, those who abstain from sexual activity are choosing something unhealthy and unnatural. In contrast, Paul views the sexual desires as something quite different from our need for food. He commands the Corinthians to avoid sexual immorality because he was probably quite sure that they wouldn’t die of hunger if they were to obey him.

In addition, the world thinks of the body as something that is unaffected by sexual activity. And so one can do whatever one pleases and not worry about becoming “one body” with another person. In contrast, the Bible views the sexual act as something that brings about a mysterious union between humans, and so sexual activity is not something to be carried out recreationally.

I have often bought into the worldly view of the body by thinking that a person is free to do whatever he or she pleases with one’s body. In the area of laziness, I think that I own my body, and so I can limit the amount of energy and time I spend on other people–as if I have a right to my own body. When I am tired, I would often think that I am already giving a lot to God, and I think that I am being generous towards God and others by spending my energy on some task that I did for others. I am able to entertain this kind of thinking because I wrongly assume that my body is my own, such that I picture myself as some generous guy who is doling out my services to others out of the goodness of my heart. With that kind of thinking, I would feel like I have a right to determine when I have been giving enough of myself. But if I am convinced that my body belongs to God, then there should be no resistance in pouring out my energy for the sake of others.

• What does my conduct reflect about my view towards my body?

My laziness and struggles to keep my eyes and mind pure indicate that I have not fully accepted the reality that my body belongs to God. Even though I intellectually acknowledge that my body belongs to God, I still cling on to the delusion that my body is mine to use in whatever way I please.

If I ask myself why I would still think that I own my body, I don’t really have a good excuse. And if I am honest, I can see that I have self-serving reasons for wanting to view my body the way the world does. If my body belongs to me, then I can do whatever I feel like without feeling guilty about it. I don’t have to answer to anyone–not even God. And so it turns out that my conduct (knowing that my body belongs to God but continuing to live as if I own my body) is really a reflection of my desire to cling on to control over my own life. If I still have a worldly view of my body, then it is not out of ignorance or a lack of understanding, but rather a wicked desire to remain in control over my own life.

• In what ways am I called to honor God with my body?

To Keep my eyes and mind pure by fleeing from sexual temptation.

1 Corinthians 6:18

• What can I learn about the best way to deal with sexual temptation?

In this passage, Paul commands the Corinthians to flee from sexual immorality. This is an exhortation that is echoed elsewhere (2 Tim 2:22, Romans 13:14). From this, I learn that the best way to deal with sexual temptation is to flee from it, i.e., to not let myself be in a situation where I would be tempted to compromise. And this fleeing is more than just running from one physical location to another. More than that, it is about the kind of attitude that one needs to have towards sexual temptations. There needs to be a sense of dread at the thought of falling back into sexual sins, such that there can be no room in the heart to even entertain the possibility of falling into it. But before I can have this proper attitude to flee from sexual temptations, I need to first realize the deceptiveness of sin and how susceptible I am to it, only then will I have the humility to heed Paul’s exhortation.

• What are some of current sexual temptations I need to flee?

The temptation on the Internet is ever present. I need to make sure that I am not alone in my office because I would be opening myself up to all kinds of sexual temptations by being in such a situation. This means that I need to come to work on time so that I don’t have to stay late after 5pm to make up the hours, and I also need to be all there during the work hours so that I won’t get behind.

Personal Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for this reminder that I do not own my body. You are the One who made me and redeemed me, and my body is yours. Please help me to acknowledge and internalize this truth, especially in my efforts to maintain purity and to fight laziness. You say that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I am supposed to glorify You with this body. Please help me to live up to this vision that You have for me. Please grant me the humility to flee sexual temptations and to not let Satan take a foothold in my heart.

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