In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
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1 Corinthians 6
18 Avoid sexual immorality! Every sin that a person can do is committed outside the body, except those who engage in sexual immorality commit sin against their own bodies. 19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? 20 You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.
2 Timothy 2
22 Run away from adolescent cravings. Instead, pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace together with those who confess the Lord with a clean heart.
1 Timothy 6
11 But as for you, man of God, run away from all these things. Instead, pursue righteousness, holy living, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.
The apostle Paul used one aspect of Joseph’s story to shape his counsel to new Christians living in the rampantly immoral city of Corinth. “Avoid” in 1 Corinthians 6:18 was the Greek verb pheugō. With his extensive rabbinic Bible knowledge Paul no doubt knew that Joseph’s story used that verb. “Genesis 39:12 [LXX or Septuagint—the Greek translation of the Old Testament] uses pheugō to describe Joseph’s successful escape from Potiphar’s wife: ‘He fled out of her house’” (cf. Gen. 39:13, 15, 18).” * The same Greek verb occurred twice in the letters to guide the young pastor Timothy in leading his churches. In 1 Timothy 6 it did not relate to specifically sexual morality at all, but to avoiding the trap of trusting in material wealth rather than God caring provision for our needs.
King Jesus, I give myself to you. Use who I am to flee from evil, but more to positively bless my circle of influence. Fulfill your promise to keep growing me as I walk with you. Amen.
A few years ago I did a candy challenge with my preschooler. It was trending online at the time, and I just couldn’t help myself. I set up my phone on the table in front of my daughter to record, and set a plate of candy in front of her–her favorite, of course, the Mini Strawberry Starburst. The rules were, if she waited until I got back and didn’t eat any candy, she could have ALL the candy. If she took some of the candy, she didn’t get any more of the candy. That’s a tall order for a 4-year-old. (Honestly, that’s a tall order for me.) I walked away, and waited, for just about 45 seconds. It wasn’t too long, but long enough that she could have eaten every piece if she had really wanted to. When I came back, I asked if she ate any, she said no, and the recording showed that she didn’t touch the candy. The reward of all the candy was worth the wait.
As I was reflecting on Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife, the temptation he must have faced, and all of the thoughts running through his head to determine risk vs. reward, I had the brilliant idea of seeing how my 3-year-old son would react to this same candy challenge. I was thinking that it would give me this beautiful moment to write about when he gave in immediately and I came back to a face full of chocolate to talk about the risk vs. reward of giving into temptation. Then, I could talk about the ease in which we can give into temptation, contrasted with the strength of Joseph’s character. A great plan–except that my son did not eat the candy. What chocolate-obsessed 3-year-old doesn’t immediately eat a plate full of candy with no adult supervision? Apparently, mine.
Maybe a plate full of Mini Strawberry Starburst or m&m’s isn’t something that would tempt you to indulge, but we all have things that tempt us. Maybe your plate of candy is a group of people gossiping about someone else and you have a choice to participate or walk away. Maybe your plate of candy is an argument, and you can choose to engage or wait until everyone cools off to talk calmly. Maybe it’s something else. Regardless of the temptations we face, just like Joseph (and apparently like my children presented with plates of candy), we have the opportunity to walk away from these temptations. We can live a life pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace, and because of the goodness of God we don’t ever have to face those temptations alone.
* Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, comment on 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 in G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, ed., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, p. 714.
** Daniel C. Arichea and Howard A. Hatton, A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to Timothy. New York: United Bible Societies, 1995, p. 153.