The Thessalonian Christians were also living in a society whose values were in conflict with the gospel. According to Leon Morris (Morris, 121, NIV Commentary) the society at the time expected men to 'seek the satisfaction of their sexual desires outside the marriage bond.' But Paul urges the Thessalonians to not give into the pressure of society but instead, seek to please God
(1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8). He continues, saying that if we truly want to please God and do his will we will want to be sanctified and set apart for God's purposes which includes being sexually pure.
This led me to think: what are the sexual pressures or the gradual numbing process that we face from our contemporary society where we are tempted to fall into complacency and accept the world's standards, perhaps without even realising we have done so. As we know being sexually pure means abstaining from adultery and fornication which I'm sure we all acknowledge but I believe it also includes what we watch. We need look no further than our TV's to discover the standard of our world in these areas. In Australia at the moment, there are ads for '50 shades darker,' an SBS show called 'undressed' 'where getting naked is the latest dating trend' and of course the many TV series where nakedness and having sex on screen or joking about sex are on offer, for our voyeuristic appetites.
Do we fall in with contemporary society and watch these shows because after all the story is so good?
The story line may be good but I challenge anyone, including myself, to watch nakedness and sexual activity and also fulfill the Bibles exhortation to think about 'whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, .... or praiseworthy' (Philippians 4:8). It is not possible.
As Christians we must not accept societies standards regarding sexual purity if they are out of whack with the what the Bible says. Instead we must seek the will of God which is to be set apart for God as those with holy standards as we seek to please Him. For pleasing God includes our sexual purity which includes what we watch. May we together, be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to obey God and grow strong in Christ just as the tree in the picture has stood out against the surrounding bush and has grown strong and sturdy in a hard place.
Prayer: "Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us when we have strayed and made excuses and watched shows or read books that have been sexually impure. Please strengthen us to not conform to society's standards but to please and love you in our thought life, and in our actions, that you may be honoured. Amen"