Sunday, June 22, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 -- On Going God's Way

"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."
1 Corinthians 6:18-20

We had a lesson at church today that brought up the idea that we need to take care of our bodies.  I think sometimes we discount the whole idea.  And even doctrinally in some ways it can seem confusing.  For instance, "Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul" (D&C 101:37).  It almost seems contradictory to that idea.  We need to control our appetites and passions, not idolize them... as it illustrates above.  So what is this idea that our bodies are cool and something we should take care of?  Well, I think it is in there in all of those places, but sometimes we look at it the wrong way.  The D&C verse for instance... perhaps it isn't saying that we can throw our bodies away in favor of our spirits, but that we need to work with them together.  Often in the scriptures the "soul" is used as a combination of all of what we are, not just spirit, not just body.  In D&C 88:15 it says "And the spirit and the body are the soul of man," and in 1 Thessalonians it says "your whole spirit and soul and body," which is a little confusing, but I think still the whole idea of it being all the parts of us, fused into a whole, is there.  The idea of putting spiritual things first doesn't contradict the idea of respecting ourselves and keeping ourselves clean so that God can hang out with us.
One of the main reasons that we came to this earth is to gain a body.  It was a gift from God, and it helps us to become that much more like God.  He gave it to us so we could learn to understand it and control it, which makes it seem separate, but also to make it a part of us.  To have our spirits and bodies work together in such unification that later, when we die and temporarily lose our bodies again, it will seem to us like bondage to be without one (see D&C 138:50).  And although in the end we will all be resurrected and not fear death or sickness anymore, right now we are learning to unite our spirits and bodies and make correct choices so we can return to God.  That can't be done if we are not taking care of both parts of ourselves.  We can't offend in body and remain true in spirit.  Both have to be united.  These verses talk about the seriousness of sinning against our own bodies... most sins are separate from us.  Things that we can let go of or walk away from.  Things we can apologize for or mistakes we can correct.  But fornication and other sexual sin is more serious.  We're wrapping ourselves up in the sin so much more than theft or envy or contention, making it part of ourselves, and driving God away.  It's like a scary form of pride and idol worship put together... exalting our own pleasure above our respect for God, and even while pretending our bodies are what matter, we are corrupting them, and putting our own judgement before God's.  Sexual actions and feelings aren't inherently bad at all... they are given to us by God for good reason, but when we abuse them outside his boundaries, then we offend God and harm ourselves a lot.  God doesn't want us to feel soul-torn having to give up that kind of intimacy.  He doesn't want people to be faced with unplanned pregnancies or children to grow up feeling unwanted.  He doesn't want people to feel trapped into marriage, and he doesn't want us to go through the kind of emotional and physical loss it takes to move on to a new relationship after being that close.  He doesn't want us to value that extremity of emotion more than real people and become addicted to the need to have it all the time... And he definitely doesn't want us to go through or feel any of that without the benefit and comfort of his Spirit helping us through it and helping us get back on track.  But we're choosing so many unseen consequences the minute we make those first poor choices.  Often before fully understanding the risks.  It might be a poor example, but it reminds me of drunk driving.  I don't think that anyone ever sits down to drink thinking, oh, I'm going to go cause a car accident today... but sexual actions involve such serious risks and dangers that drunk driving pales in comparison.  We accept those risks as part of what we are choosing.  We don't want to think that we're out of control or that we are causing harm to ourselves or others, but every time we disregard God's boundaries, that is exactly where we are, and we risk much more than we realize, not knowing the full extent of our folly until we are in the middle of it, or trying to make the really, unbelievably tough trek back out of it.
"Flee fornication" reminds me of Joseph and Potiphar's wife.  She tried to seduce him, and he literally fled.  And I think that is a very good example for us.  We should run away from sexual sin as fast and as far as we can, never assuming that we can get closer and still walk away.  It's too far of a fall to risk, and the price and the pain of consequence and repentance is much higher than the pleasure derived.  No one, last of all me, is saying that running away or avoiding sexual sin is easy, especially in a society which would like us to believe that it is just a natural part of growing up, or dating, or that everyone cheats, or that God's boundaries don't matter at all.  But as with every other commandment, God gives us rules to protect us, not to harm or control us.  We will always be happier in the end if we do it God's way.  Let's trust him, and not risk our souls over this.  Let's remember that our bodies are a gift, and we are God's, and his way leads to redemption and peace.  Our way stinks.

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