As with the “love of money,” lust of the flesh can be just as inhibiting to our relationship with God – to say nothing of His transformative work in our lives. Few sins so obstruct the indwelling Holy Spirit as sexual immorality, especially when we are unwilling to acknowledge – or take steps to correct – its spiritually and emotionally damaging effects. However it may manifest – sexual promiscuity, pornography, extramarital affairs, et al. – sexual immorality ultimately distances us from God and from each other.
The apostle Paul spoke strongly against the damaging effects of sexual immorality; in fact, matters of moral purity are central to many of his epistles. In his rebuke of the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:18), as well as his letter to the church at Galatia (Galatians 5:18), Paul urged believers to be led by God’s Spirit and not by their flesh. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) As would-be vessels of the Holy Spirit though – ones bought and paid for in Jesus’ own blood (1 Corinthians 6:20) – how utterly uninviting and unworthy are such bodily “temples” as those polluted by lust-run-amok!
If sexually immoral behaviors have a comfortable place in our lives – and, indeed, statistics suggest the phenomenon is far more rampant in the Church today than many care to admit – can we rightly expect God to come any closer than arm’s length?