1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor.”
What does this mean to possess your vessel?
It is talking about our minds and our bodies in a way that is honoring to God, not in a way that is self-pleasing or world pleasing. If you are a child of God, a born-again believer in Jesus Christ then your life should reflect that not just in public, but at all times.
We are told in verse 3 to abstain from sexual immorality. This not only means in the deed itself but in our minds and hearts first. Sin starts in our minds, drops to our hearts and in most cases is acted upon because we did not stop and turn from the thought or thing before us. When we allow ourselves to look at an inappropriate thing once, the second time is a little easier, the third even easier and so on. Our consciousness not longer sounds a warning to us and the voice of the Holy Spirit is silenced.
We forget that we need to be very careful not to allow images to get stuck in our heads, if we do, especially for men they can be pulled up years later and trip us up once again. And if we are constantly watching inappropriate things on TV or the movies, we will try to justify it as just art, or we say that we can appreciate the storyline and just have to deal with whatever was inappropriate. This simply is not true! We have a choice to make, but all too often we make the wrong one.
We tend to forget that as believers we are never alone. Whatever we are doing the Holy Spirit is with us. We drag him into whatever situation, conversation, and the inappropriate images we are seeing. Also, we can be guilty of staying in conversations that we need not be a part of. So many people think nasty jokes etc… are funny and even if you are uncomfortable you will stay because you do not want to look weird to your friends. We keep silent and listen.
Just think how different the story would have been had Joseph not ran away from Potiphar’s wife. He did not stay there and try to reason with her when faced with the temptation, the wrong choice, HE RAN!!! He did not care about the consequences of doing the right thing and even though to us it looks like he was punished anyway, his conscious before God was clear. He desired to please God above all else! Do we desire to please God? Do we have a desire to keep our vessel with honor, turning from anything that would pollute it?
Even if it is a quick “look see,” it is wrong. We need to constantly be alert and when that still small voice in us sounds the warning bell we need to RUN! Even if it means we are in the presence of a friend, colleague, meeting, whatever. If we need to exit the room to preserve our honor and keep our hearts and minds pure, we need to have the courage to take the laughter, questions, consequences etc…that might come. Others may not understand, but God will and he will be pleased.
A long time ago I worked with a woman. She was beautiful on the outside, but I quickly learned that she had a vulgar mouth at times and she would come to work telling of her drunken, sexual escapades. It only took once for me to know that I did not want to be apart of any conversations she might be having. I left in the middle of the very first one, embarrassed by her words and for her. When she later asked me why I left I was honest with her. I told her of my walk with Christ, how I wanted my mind to stay pure before the Lord and that for me being in a conversation like that, simply put made me very uncomfortable. So, I made a simple request; if she was about to tell something dirty or a crude joke to please warn me ahead of time and I would dismiss myself. She understood and was kind about it and would say,”you might want to exit now.” I did!
It was sad to me that such a beautiful woman had such a dirty mind and actions. Knowing the things she was doing and particularly the filthiness of her mouth drastically diminished her outward beauty to me. I prayed for her and continued to show her love. We were friends in spite of this. Why? Because although I did not like her lifestyle, I had the opportunity to show her unconditional love. We talked about other things and had lots of good conversations that I stayed for.
Do not get me wrong, I am not perfect. But as my relationship with the Lord Jesus has matured, the things of this world are not so shiny and fun anymore. My desire to please him outweighs my desire to please me.
The bottom line, it matters to God what we say, what we see and what we do. It matters that we possess our vessel with sanctification and honor. I want to be that person, do you? It may require not seeing a popular movie that looks great from the previews but has filthy content. By the way, if you do not know this, you can go to pluggedin.com and see what is in any movie playing and many TV shows. It will tell you in detail if there is anything inappropriate in it, down to how many cuss words, any nudity, even if it is just a woman showing too much cleavage. I love it, it has saved my husband and I from going to sees something that we ultimately would have had to walk out of. Yes, I have missed what looked like a good movie because the content was “not” what myself and my husband needed before our eyes.
Blessings to you as you choose to keep yourself pure in thought and deed. Remember the world’s view of your choices when desiring to please God first does not matter…God’s opinion does!
Let us pray for one another that we will stay on the right path, with the right desires as we journey in this foreign land!