7. Let’s get this one thing straight
I Corinthians 6:12–20 reminds us of some very important truths about our lives and our lives in relation to God.
First, the Apostle Paul, the author of the book, reminds us in verse 12 that “everything is permissible for me, but everything is not beneficial,” in addition to “…but I will not be mastered by anything.” What I understand Paul to be saying is that we may give ourselves license, liberty and freedom to engage in behavior that we think is not harmful to us; however, in the long (or short) run, what we engaged in may prove to be too much or more than we could ever have thought we could handle.
Sometimes, that is how addictions develop (folks in AA say the predictable progression of the behavior is: “Man takes a drink, drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man”). Before we know it, we may have gotten in over our heads with the behavior we initially thought we could control; but in the end, we wound up being mastered by it (or in other words, we are a slave to the behavior).
Second, Paul reminds us that our bodies are not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord. You may cringe because your personal challenge may have nothing to do with being compulsive with sex. However, I encourage you to keep reading.
Simply put, the Greek word PORNEA that is used here (sexually immoral) implies that one is “engaging in the act or behavior of prostitution.” When we engage in the behavior of worshipping anyone other than God, we are basically giving ourselves over to that entity, being, behavior, or practice. In short, we are selling (we could use enslavement here) or prostituting ourselves to that Bidder (read: The Devil, the Diabolical One – remember, Genesis 3:1–7). Paul underscores this point by saying in verse 15, “Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?” In the original language, the same phrase translates into this specific meaning: “Will the end result of who I am and what I do for God resemble what a prostitute looks like (does)?” This is a heavy statement!
Finally, Paul just cuts straight to the chase. He tells us to flee from the immorality, that is, the object (false God) to which we have been worshipping and giving devotion, while he once again reminds us that our bodies are the sacred place in which God’s Holy Spirit chooses to reside.
He concludes this passage with a twist. In case we have been prostituting ourselves out in the marketplace, Paul tells us we have been bought (AGORA) in the marketplace at a very costly price.
You remember, Jesus was crucified in the marketplace and with His death, He paid the price for all of us who want to sell out (sell ourselves) to the Enemy and the ways (methahodos) of the Devil. So, in reality, we have a choice to make. What do you choose to do with your body? A really healthy option to consider is to give all of who you are, to your Rightful Owner, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Romans 6 could be a good read right now).
8. So how do I get off the “Hangman’s Platform?”
In Greek mythology, we may have read that there was a river named Hades that was used to ferry dead people to their eternal destination. What we may not know is that there was another river that also ran in Hell which was called LETHOS (we get our English word “lethal” from this).
People used to drink from the waters of the river Lethos because they made the drinker forget their pain and their past (sound familiar? Some in AA would say “I drank to kill the pain I couldn’t explain”).
Surprisingly, Jesus used this word, “lethos.” However, he put an “A” before it as a prefix, which basically negates or cancels out the meaning of lethos. Jesus used the word in John 8:32 when He said, “The ‘alethes’ (truth) will set you free” implying that if we are honest with Him, ourselves and others about our true condition, we are taking the first step to be “free” from the slavery to which we have been captive. Step One. Admit it is a problem.
In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus offers us more sage advice. First, He said for all of us who are “weak and heavy burdened” to come to Him. So come, come on now, come home to Jesus, and come home to the Lord. If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I tried everything else and it still did not give me any peace,” I’d be a rich person!
Jesus said come to Him and He would give us “rest” (ANAPAUSIS). This word means that He will “relax or let down the cords (possibly the Hangman’s?) or strings that have been drawn tight. Are we ready for a rest from this harmful behavior in which we have been involved?
Finally, nothing could be done without a re-commitment to Jesus. I John 1:9 promises that “if we confess our sins,” which basically means to agree with God (I mean He already knows what we have done or are doing…He’s just waiting for us to be alethes [truthful] with ourselves), that “He is faithful and just, and will forgive us of our sins, and “cleanse” (KATHAROS – English word = Catharsis) us from all unrighteousness.”
All I have to do is confess my wretched condition, come to Him, He will forgive, He will cleanse my heart from the guilt and pollution of sin and I will be given another chance? That’s right. It sounds too good to be true, but it is. So what are you waiting for? You have some CHOICES to make, but please, Come.