In our day we say things like, “God helps those who help themselves,” or “Just do it.” As you probably know, in verses 12 and 13 Paul is quoting popular sayings of his time, identifiable by—you guessed it—the quotation marks around them. As you might expect, Paul doesn’t always buy into the popular wisdom of his day, and he invites his readers to consider the folly of the statements he quotes in order to make his larger point in verse 18:
Flee from sexual immorality (TNIV)
Run from sexual sin! (NLT)
Have nothing to do with sex sins! (NLV)
It’s interesting to me that Paul addresses this issue by first acknowledging the danger and destructiveness of letting anything “master” us. Paul clearly understands the addictive nature of sexual sin.
Sexual sin in our day applies to more than just sexual intercourse outside of a lifelong monogamous marriage. It includes such things as viewing pornography and fantasizing (both of which hardwires our brain to view people like meat and predisposes us towards inappropriate action).
A lot of people struggle with these things, and most do secretly. If that is you, I’d strongly encourage you to confide in someone you trust. Ask them to pray with you and hold you accountable.
It is hard to stay pure in an often impure world that is so obsessed with sex. But just like we value purity in our food, water, and even or air because these all promote health and well being, we should value purity of heart, mind and soul as well.