Do you smoke?
That was the question I was asked last night by a fairly young woman carrying a tan purse, sporting a surprisingly clean KFC uniform, who was standing out in front of a Spinx gas station just down the road from my house.
I was only there to pick up a late night snack for my wife and I, and while I’ve not been asked this question in a long time it’s not necessarily an unusual request. People you run into outside of gas stations (and other places of course) ask this kind of question all the time. Many times they either want you to light their cigarette or they’re wanting to bum a cigarette off of you.
So, what she was asking was not unusual, however it was what she did after that which I’ll have to say…I’ve not personally seen and thought that perhaps this was a bit….unusual. You see, when I responded, “No, sorry I don’t” the young lady turned to the ash tray which was behind her by the trash can and grabbed the most “unfinished” cigarette she could find, picked it up, stuck it in her mouth, and lit it.
If you know me at all, you know that I’m a bit of a germaphobe. I won’t even drink after or take a bite of food after my wife or my kids, so that right there kind of caused my skin to crawl and my stomach to turn a little as the thoughts flooded my mind of “That lady has no idea where that cigarette has been or the diseases being carried by the person who last smoked that.”
I’ll be honest, and please don’t take this the wrong way, but it was an action I would half expect a homeless person to do rather than a woman cleanly dressed in her work uniform standing outside of a gas station either waiting for a ride to work or home from work.
When I got home, and had some time to think about it…the thought came to my mind about how the entire exchange was a sad testament to the condition of our nation regarding sex.
I know…quite the leap huh? But it was the image that first came to my head. Stick with me though.
In our nation today, people are so desperate to “feed their addiction” of sex….that they are literally willing to turn to the trash heaps….or the ash piles….to find even the smallest scrap of sexual gratification. And when they find it they willingly thrust it to their mouths to quench their hunger for it. They thrust these scraps of sexuality….these tainted forms of sex to their mouths not even remotely considering the consequences of what may happen when they do.
The Ashley Madison debacle…
same sex marriage…
the oversexualization of Miley Cyrus and pretty much everything you see on TV…
the plethora of pastors falling to sexual immorality or coming out in support of things clearly spelled out in scripture as EVIL…
…ALL of these things are the byproducts of people who are addicted to self gratification and seeking to quench their hunger for sex in whatever place they can find it.
In all of these things people, pastors, church members…no one seems to be exempt from this in our nation…people are looking to the trash heaps and ash piles for sex. They are looking in unclean and disgusting places to fulfill their sexual desires.
Instead they should be looking for their satisfaction in Christ and in Christ alone because if they sought after Him and Him alone, not only would they find these things fade into the night and their hunger for these things begin to diminish…but they would find that they would be led to a better place concerning the appropriate way that sex should be approached.
Psalm 107:9 says:
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
And Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
And Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
You see that? I could go on and on and on throughout the Word of God and point out to you how God wants to satisfy the longing and hungry soul and fill it with good things. Why then do people turn to the trash bins and the ash trays to find sexual gratification?
And yet people do.
The Bible isn’t silent about sexual immorality. In fact the Bible has a lot to say about sexuality.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV) says:
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
What is Paul saying?
He’s saying that the sin of sexual immorality is against one’s own body. Much like the woman who is looking for cigarettes in trash cans, the damage she is doing to herself far outweighs the damage she is doing to others. And so the same goes for sexual immorality. The same goes for believers and unbelievers alike.
This isn’t to say that there is no damage being done to others. But generally speaking, the damage is self inflicted.
If you are a believer, however, then you must know that your body is a temple of God…it is a temple for the Holy Spirit who dwells within you. Your body is no longer yours. Christ purchased at a great price….with His life. He exchanged His life so that you might live. And when you live…live to glorify God in all things…including your body. And sexual immorality defiles that temple. Sexual immorality spits in the face of the sacrifice and price Jesus paid for your freedom.
Church folks and pastors and church leaders who are living in sexual sin…Paul had this to say in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (ESV):
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
That’s right….it’s not God suggesting to you that you stay away from sexual immorality…it’s His WILL that you learn to have self control with your body and live in holiness and honor rather than to live like the world when it comes to sex (or well…anything).