[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hild of God, you have a powerful weapon at your disposal. It isn't typically a go-to within the arsenal. Yet, it packs a powerful punch against lust, depression, and pride. After almost 20 years of walking with Jesus, I didn't discover it until recently. As the Spirit of God has been showing me how to wield the sword of the Spirit, as the brotherhood of men around me have also taken up arms with me, it has made all of the difference. Let me give you some back story.
I love my church family. It is intentional about building a culture of godly men. Though we are two years old as a church plant, we have a vibrant, gospel-saturated culture of men following Jesus. Two years ago, we started with Man School, jumping into the roles and callings of a man. As we've continued together in community, we camped out on the life of Joseph and Jesus as the better Joseph over the past year. The ups and downs of Joseph's life, the sweet and bitter providence through it all have been a bastion of hope for us. Earlier this Spring, while considering Joseph with a group of men one Saturday morning, one of the elders of our church shared one of those blow your mind truths. It is so simple that is baffling. We were talking through the Mrs. Potiphar situation. It is a great place for men to understand how our view of God is lived out when temptation comes along.
While making application of Genesis 39 to our lives as men in a sex-saturated world, we talked through what we learned about Joseph. Pastor Marc jumped over to Ephesians 5
(side note, the rhythms of the gospel in Ephesians continue to blow me away--Ephesians 5 is a part of the walk it out section, which is only possible after being rooted in the "In Christ" section).
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow are we as men to fight sexual immorality? Go back, look at it. Well, I guess before you even get there, you have to recognize the things that we're to do. Look at verse 1 - We're to be imitators of God. Like my 4-year-old son who copies everything that I do, we're to be imitators of God as beloved children. As we imitate God, we're to walk in the love that God has demonstrated to us in Christ.
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow is this love described? It is a sacrificial love, a love that gives itself up. A love that is a beautiful act of worship, service to God as a sacrifice. THAT is where it starts - worship. How are we as men in a sex-saturated world to flee immorality - worship. A popular Jesus Juke saying is, "You worshipped your way into sin, now worship your way out of it!" We worshipped ourselves, our own desires and flesh instead of God when we play with sexual immorality. God says, we walk in love and walk in worship.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s we walk in love, note what verse three says. The trifecta, the three things that aren't to be named among the children of God, the men of God. If you're a child of God, name them aloud. Like the M. Night Shyamalan movie The Village, those are the things of which we do not even speak as children of God. Why aren't they to be named? Well, we're children of God. All of the truths of Ephesians chapters 1-4 are now our identity. They've been purchased for us through the blood of Jesus. They're applied in our lives through the work of the Spirit of God that lives inside of us. We're to walk in love because of Jesus. We're to walk in worship because of Jesus. If this is all new information to you, if you've only focused on the "STOP SINNING!!!" aspect of these verses, I'd love to suggest an inductive study of this beautiful book.
The kicker, the pièce de résistance however, is in verse four.
We often focus on what we're to take off, but we rarely talk about what we're to put on. Here, Paul moved by the Spirit of God... There, men sitting in a living room with an elder, wam, bam, pack a punch - the way we combat sexual immorality is through - THANKSGIVING.
[Tweet "I'm going to fight immorality with thanksgiving. You can too:"]
I'll hit up more on this later, but as we carve the bird, throw the pigskin, and become intoxicated with that tryptophan, think on these things. One of the tools that I'm learning to use, amongst a band of brothers, is THANKSGIVING.
Question: Have you ever thought about fighting sexual sin with thanksgiving?