Connection Between Sexual Sin and Thanksgiving
Studying what the Bible has to say about thanksgiving over the past couple of years has yielded some fascinating truths. I knew that being thankful was a good thing and that God was honored by it, but I am learning that thankfulness is, at the same time, a comfort and a powerful weapon.
There are strategic placements of contrast throughout the Scriptures. Romans 12:21 says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Using this same replacement principle in another letter, the apostle Paul contrasts sexual sin and thanksgiving.
Watchman Nee once summarized Ephesians as “Sit, Walk, Stand.” In Ephesians 4 and 5, Paul is helping believers understanding the contrast between the sinful patterns of the old life and the new walk of faith and love as a regenerate Jesus-follower. Then, he says something eye-opening.
“Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:3-5
Instead of engaging in sexual sins, obscenity, sexual talk, and sexual humor – wholly improper and out of place for believers – there is to be thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the replacement, or can we say cure, for sexual sin.
Sexual sin is rooted in a heart that is discontent with God’s ways and what God has provided and seizes control to get its “deserved” comforts and pleasures. Rebel willfulness ignores the commands of Christ, and even what is healthy in the long run, and runs off into pornography, adulterous relationships, fornication, sexual abuse, and the list goes on. The 180 degree opposite is a th(i)nkful person, learning to be content, celebrating what God has provided rather than chafing and brooding over what is missing. Dr. John Street writes:
“Giving thanks to God is an integral part of being a Christian – a child of God. This is particularly true in the life of the believer as it relates to sexuality. Those who are discontent and unthankful for how God has made them will often be greatly tempted to indulge in sexual deviancy.” Dr. John Street, The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women, p. 305
Learning to Be Content
In life you can almost always boil down your struggles to whether you serve Self or God. God doesn’t hate our bodies and cravings. He designed them. He wants us to enjoy our bodies to the fullest. He even uses the picture of how we love ourselves in showing how we are to love others because it is a given that we love ourselves.
Thinking thanks about your situations will help you be content. There is a peace that comes from filling your mind with gratitude. God is in control. He knows what is so hard for you right now. He also has given us His Word to help us. Rather, let there be thanksgiving, He says, to combat sexual sin and temptation.
“Gratitude is the opposite of every sin we commit.”
Breaking free from sexual sin is a huge battle. The doom may scream at you – “You are a slave! A prisoner! You’ve been in this too far and too long to ever get out!” You need hope and a powerful weapon! Heath Lambert, author of Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, said something in a lecture that grabbed my attention. He said that “gratitude is the opposite to every sin we commit.”
There is hope. It could start with thanksgiving. In I Corinthians 10:13, Paul wrote that with temptation there is also a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. I strongly believe that one of the great ways of escape is th(i)nkfulness.
Hey, it’s always good to get a little feedback. I received this note from a person who reads my blog:
Dear Karin, I just want to thank you for your teaching on thinkfulness. We are in a really difficult place right now but God is good and He is ever-present and His hand is at work. The unknown is always so scary though, but as I was journaling this morning I was just considering how powerful thinkfulness is, and how thankful I am to be able to use it in being victorious. So I just wanted to thank you for being willing to share this concept that the Lord put on your heart, it is a huge blessing to me!