Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’, and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! –1 Corinthians 6:12-15
Here comes free will again. In this instance Paul, I think, is saying God expects us to take care of ourselves. Is this a part of Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor as you love yourself? (Matthew 22:39) It is interesting that Paul starts his comments on fornication with a short essay on food. We probably all fail to eat properly and in general fail to take care of our bodies: exercise, get adequate sleep, drink enough water. He is saying that food is necessary for life and food can be misused. The same can be said for sex. While Paul is often sourced for being critical of homosexual behavior, a careful review of his mention of it will show he lumps it in with heterosexuality when either is being misapplied. In our society fornication including adultery is a norm for many. Overeating and eating unhealthily too are norms.
What is interesting is that both eating and sex are drivers of our economy. Would we have an obesity epidemic or widespread venereal disease, if not for greed? Both cross all our advertising senses continuously.
My Facebook account routinely carries a report of some young girl being suspended from school for wearing inappropriate clothing to school. Clothing that does not comply with the school dress code for decency. I do think females, as well as males, should dress in good taste. I also agree with those who are critical of schools for laying all the blame on girls dressing outside the code being the problem because boys just are not capable of controlling their raging hormones. Paul is saying in our scripture today that we need to control our behavior and not let the world’s interest entice us to do what is not good for us.
Prayer: Lord, at the start of a new year, enable us to care for ourselves lovingly and to love our neighbors in the same way. Amen.