GIVE YOUR BODY TO GOD AND LIVE IN MORAL FREEDOM

Man-praying-at-the-altarSeven Perimeters of Defense

By Frank Tunstall

“Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, GW).

         God is indeed able to keep us from falling (Jude 24). Yet, it is a central Biblical truth that Satan works to build in us a false confidence to believe we can sin and get by; we won’t get caught. Overconfidence becomes a mortal enemy when we face temptation to make sinful moral choices. A foundational principle of God’s Word in the face of Satan’s onslaughts is Paul’s teaching, “…if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Let us never forget that “there but for the grace of God go I!”

The seven perimeters of defense I am offering for your consideration are built on a vital principle of military strategy. An army out in the field will have perimeters of defense, and they are positioned from the outer perimeter to the innermost perimeter, where the army’s command center is located.

Believers need perimeters of defense too, and we need them to be well established before the fight begins.  If our perimeters of defense aren’t built in advance, then it will almost surely be too late to try to build them while we’re in the middle of the conflict.

Let it be noted again, with the devil, the struggle is deadly. His goal is to “steal, kill and destroy.” Jesus’ objective is to give life more abundantly (John 10:10). The Lord knows Satan’s strategies perfectly Satan; he has no new temptations. All of his techniques are “common to man,” and God always provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The big key to defeating the enemy is hiding the Scriptures in our hearts and depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 119:11; Romans 8:26). Then we can build the way of escape with defensive perimeters.

I’ll start with what I think of as the outer perimeter of defense, and work back to the command center and its commander; the army’s most heavily guarded spot.

 Perimeter #7. Giving your body to God will help you admit that it could happen to you.

Chuck Swindoll has said he has a system of accountability for himself and his staff.  Each employee has an accountability partner. Each week that partner will meet with his friend and ask him the following 7 questions:

  1. Have you been with a woman or a man in this past week that might be seen as compromising?
  2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
  3. Have you viewed any sexually explicit material in the past week?  (The internet can easily be a silent mistress.)
  4. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
  5. Have you given priority time to your family?7.   Have you just lied to me?
  6. Have you fulfilled this week the mandates of your calling?

Remember Samson: he fell for Delilah while most probably in his mid-life crisis; in his 40’s. For many men the battle swirls around the question, “Am I still attractive to women?”

Perimeter #6. Giving your body to God will help you recall your vows to your wife.

“I, __________, take you __________, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance, and this I pledge in full faith.”

  • Numbers 30:2-5 – “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”
  • Deuteronomy 23:21 – “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.”

Perimeter #5. Giving your body to God will strengthen your covenant with your eyes, your hands, your feet, and your desires and imagination.

  •  Job 31:1-2 – “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”

With pastors, this can easily show up in counseling. A pastor must never try to counsel a woman to whom he feels some attraction. Pastors must respect this law of attraction.

This area surely includes the whole sphere in modern culture of pornography, including internet porn, as well as videos and movies, especially movies rated R and X. Our Lord 2,000 years ago read the 21st century perfectly when he said, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

  •  Job 24:15 – “The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed.”

We must never forget it is the strategy of the devil to make you think you are smart enough to keep it all concealed as he lures you into the trap.  Then his strategy is to wait for the most opportune moment, when full disclosure will do the most damage.  At his “perfect moment,” he will proceed with a plan to expose you, doing it in such a way as to cause the greatest amount of harm to the greatest number of people 

  •  2 Peter 2:14 – “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed–an accursed brood!”
  • Proverbs 2:16-19  Wisdom will save you…  from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.  Her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.

Perimeter #4. Giving your body to God will strengthen your understanding of your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. 

  • 1 Corinthians 6:14-20  By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also…. [16] Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh….” [18] Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body…. [20] you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Perimeter #3. Giving your body to God will help you be willing to run.

  •  Genesis 39:1-12 – “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. [7] and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” [9] No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” [10] And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. [12] She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”

The redeeming thread in this chapter in Joseph’s life is that while Potipher’s wife had Joseph’s coat, Joseph still had his character!

  • 1 Corinthians 6:18  – Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:22 – “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Perimeter #2. Giving your body to God will bless you to minimize the benefits and magnify the consequences.

Whatever you believe the benefits of moral sin will be, divide that by 100, and the benefit will still be less. Remember, the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. On the other hand, when you have multiplied by 100 times what you think the consequences will be, you will still have minimized the consequences.

As 1 Corinthians 13 is the greatest summary statement in the Bible on the theme of love, so Proverbs 5 and 6 includes what I believe to be the Bible’s most profound statement on the consequences of immoral choices. A few of those consequences follows.             

  • Proverbs 5:1-14: An adulteress… in the end is bitter as gall,    [5] Her feet go down to death;    [6] She gives no thought to the way of life;    [9] [You will] give your best strength to others    [10] lest strangers feast on your wealth    [11] At the end of your life you will groan,    [12] You will say, “How I hated discipline!    [13] I would not obey my teachers    [14] I have come to the brink of utter ruin.         

Perimeter #1. Giving your body to God will insure your deeply felt respect for God’s name.

No minister or church leader gets into an affair with the thought to hurt the heart of God.  But that is always the result. Perimeter #1 says we must live with a healthy jealousy for God’s name. Surely the last thing we want to do is hurt Him.

  •  Genesis 39:9 – Joseph said to Potipher’s wife, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
  •  Isaiah 52:5 – “And now what do I have here?” declares the Lord.  “For my people have been taken away for nothing, and those who rule them mock,” declares the Lord. “And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed.”

       But thank God for those who do turn to the Lord. 

  • Isaiah 56:6 describes “foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him…”    

And how does God feel about His name?

  • Isaiah 57:15 says, “This is what the high and lofty One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy….”
  •  Romans 2:24 says, “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’”
  • “Nathan said to David, ‘…by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt…’” (2 Samuel 12:13-14).

      Conclusion: Putting our bodies on the altar “as a living sacrifice” actually renews our minds; our way of thinking. The result is we have a powerful weapon against immoral choices. It is possible to “escape the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).

The Apostle Paul linked together the teaching combining giving your heart to God and the sacrifice of the body when he wrote the believers in Corinth: “You are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20, KJV).

This surrender is also the path to knowing the will of God for one’s life, and every child of God wants the answer to that question. When we have given both our hearts and our bodies to God, then Paul said, “We will be able to prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, KJV).

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