Don’t Even THINK of Parking Here!Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Follow God’s example and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
One of my favorite traffic signs appears in particularly busy sections of New York City. It reads: "Don't Even THINK of Parking Here." Not only does such a sign dissuade one from parking in the wrong spot, but also it proves that the New York City Department of Transportation has a sense of humor.
An inventive paraphrase of Ephesians 5:3 might read, "Don't even THINK of engaging in sexual immorality." The NIV renders the beginning of this verse: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity, or of greed." The original might be translated more literally, "But, sexual immorality and all impurity or greed should not be named among you." Such things simply don't belong in Christian community. Period. Don't even think of doing them!
But why? Why should we avoid sexual immorality, impurity, and greed (which probably includes, in this context, greedy lust for sexual experiences). We find an answer to this question in the latter part of verse 3: "because these are improper for God's holy people." The phrase "God's holy people" translates the Greek word often rendered as "saints" (singular, hagios). A hagios is one who has been set apart from this world for God and God's special purposes. We have seen this word many times in Ephesians, both in reference to God's holy people (1:1) and also in the phrase "Holy Spirit" (1:14).
Thus, when it comes to sexual immorality, even if "everybody's doing it," we who have been set apart from the world to serve the Lord should not join in. We are not "everybody" anymore because of Christ. We are God's special people, created anew in Christ so that we might live our whole lives for God (Eph. 2:10). Every part of our lives, including our sexual expression, should be for God and his glory (Eph. 1:11-14). As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, we are to flee from sexual immorality because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We now have the privilege and calling of honoring God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:18-20).
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of holiness, what ideas or images come to mind? Do you think of yourself as a holy person, as one set apart by God for him and his purposes?
PRAYER: Thank you, Holy God, for setting me apart for relationship with you. Thank you for choosing me to live with you and for you in all things. Help me, I pray, to be holy when it comes to my sexuality. Lord, you know how hard this can be today, with so many influences and temptations that lure me away from you and back to the ways of the world. May your Holy Spirit, living within me, help me to say "no" to the sinful ways of this world and "yes" to you, even and especially when it comes to my sexuality. Amen.
How to Share Your Faith at Work
Let’s admit it: It can be awkward to share our faith at work. The fear of damaging relationships and making the workplace that much more difficult (we do, after all, have to deal with these people on a daily basis). The fear of repercussions from those we work for. The fear of coming across as, well, just weird. In the stories found in the series, How to Share Your Faith at Work, we find practical ways to naturally share with people the thing that is most precious in our lives – our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Image above by Sean McGrath. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.