by Billy Lorne

People run all the time. They run in sports events, run errands and even run from the police (hopefully that’s not you!). But the running I’m talking about has nothing to do with sports, errands or crime. I’m talking about running from inappropriate sexual behavior. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality,” or sexual sin. What kind of sexual immorality we talking about? Get your running shoes, because here we go.

Behaviors to Run From

Jokes – Everyone likes to laugh, but when jokes include a woman’s body part, or other sexual innuendos, they are inappropriate for followers of Christ. You’ve heard someone reply, “That’s what she said,” haven’t you? This play on words turns an innocent comment into a sexual one. More often than not, these jokes radically expose the intent of our hearts. More specifically, they point out to us that much of the focus of our eyes and of our minds is on immoral subject matter. These aren’t wholesome jokes meant for enthusiastic laughs. They are lewd jokes meant to spark lustful longings into sexual fulfillment.

Sexting – This involves the art of flirting and making advances via text messages. Lately, sexting has taken a turn for the worse as many have sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves over the phone. I recently heard of a story where a girl received a sex message, while talking to her group leader after a meeting at church. It turned out to be from a male member of group who didn’t make it that night! The girl described the guy as one who pretends to be on fire for God while at church, but behind closed doors, he burns with fire for other people.

Petting – We’re not talking cats and dogs here, but rather the hormone-driven, sex-on-the-mind guy and the girl he likes so much that he cannot – or will not – keep his hands off of her. Any and every chance he gets he touches her shoulder, rubs her arm, and embraces her to feel his body pressed against hers. Hugging is one thing, fondling is another. The one says “hello” (or “good-bye”), the other is a lustful spark igniting a sexual flame. In groups, where guys and girls play games with each other, which includes tickling or some sort of physical interaction, these situations often start off innocently enough. Unfortunately, unquenchable lustful sparks many times can turn into an inferno.

Canoodling – This gets the flame really burning hot! It involves kissing and cuddling. It’s just a matter of time before there is sexual intercourse – if there hasn’t been already. Many think they can stop anytime. Most are wrong.

Pornography – If jokes are lustful longings aching for expression and petting is the spark igniting sexual fire, then pornography is the fuel that keeps it all ablaze. This fire is sometimes extinguishable, and sometimes not. Pornography is the quickest way for men to ruin themselves. You think not? Don’t be fooled. Consider all the great men in ministry, who have fallen under its power. Chances are you have a friend who has been caught in its trap.

What are we to do when faced with these behaviors? Run! Or, as Paul said to the Corinthians, “Flee.” Paul simply says we should run away or escape. There is no meandering or looking back when it comes to sexual sin. His advice is get out of there, beat it, make a quick exit! The longer one stands around or lingers, the greater the chances are of committing a regrettable sin.

Places and People to Run From

Movies, TV, and Music – It should be a no-brainer that we, as men, need to filter the movies we watch, (including television shows), the music we enjoy and magazines we read. But unfortunately, it needs to be said. Research has shown that Christians are indistinguishable from nonbelievers in their media consumption. We watch the same movies, TV shows and listen to the same music. We do watch and listen to the occasional title labeled “Christian.” But which is the more powerful daily influence, Christ or secular-centered media?

People – Paul’s advice means we should run from the cute girl who makes our insides shake, and whose conversation is nothing but a flirt-a-thon. This also means running from the guy who encourages, tempts and persuades us to miss the mark, or to sin sexually. We should flee from anyone who provokes sexual feelings within us; from those who couldn’t care less about our sexual purity, or our relationship with Jesus; and from those who have no vision for our future. Jesus said He came to give us an abundant, or full, life (John 10:10b). That fullness includes integrity, a clear conscience, respect for yourself and receiving respect from others. We should desire this respect, especially, from the women who might one day be our wives.

School – People who claim to be believers, at both Christian and public schools, but have not committed themselves to Christ and are not living in the Spirit, do as they please. The Bible refers to these people as living in the flesh. This type of living includes sexual immorality (Galatians 5). Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 5:11 not to even eat, let alone hang out, with such a person, who claims to follow Christ, yet is sexually active outside of marriage. Why is that? Well, the old adage still holds true: We become like the people we hang out with. As Scripture puts it, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Church – This should be no surprise as many girls dress provocatively at church, knowingly or not. Guys soak it up. God made men to take in pleasure visually. So, until women begin to dress more modestly at church, we’ll have to “flee” by turning our eyes away, rather than running out of the sanctuary.

Work – There are plenty of opportunities to get entangled in sexual sins at work. This may be because we usually spend more time there than with our families or other believers. Forty-hour workweeks make places of employment fertile breeding grounds for flirting, infatuations and a target for women out for a “good time.”

So when (not if) we find ourselves in sexually charged situations that threaten to destroy our purity and testimony, remember this advice: run!

Father, please help us to run when needed, to keep our hands to ourselves, and to honor the women we come into contact with, recognizing them as Your daughters, and possibly the future wife of another man. Amen.

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