"For this is the will of God, your sanctification... that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness & honor, not with lustful passion... that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this manner, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things..."
(1 Thessalonians 4:3-6)
Sexuality is a part of life. We were created to be sexual beings. Using our sexuality appropriately, however, has been a challenge since the beginning of time.
It's not hard to find evidence of our ongoing struggle with our sexuality. Human trafficking for the "sex industry" is rampant - even in the US. The media is saturated with details of the Jerry Sandusky trial (former Penn State assistant football coach accused of molesting boys). Religious leaders in a variety of denominations have faced charges of sexual misconduct. Not to mention that popular songs, movies, and books revel in illicit affairs and "sexual freedom." Unfortunately, the aftermath is heavy (both from those participating and those affected by others' sexual choices).
It's not a new phenomenon. Paul knew this. He wrote to the church in Thessalonia, encouraging them to "control your own bodies in holiness & honor," without exploiting anyone. It's possible to do. It really is. But it's also really hard. It takes discipline & resolve.
The real kicker, according to Paul, comes at the end of the passage. "The Lord is the avenger in all these things." God has a heart for the exploited & abused. When no one else could (or would) help, God was there. And in the end, God will hold us accountable for our actions.
May we surround ourselves by people who will encourage us to live with holiness & honor.