There is so much to unpack in this passage, and there is so much we don't want to address. But the reality is that the truth here is what we need to hear. So before you cast this into the "this doesn't apply to me because.." box or the "I don't want to hear this" camp, just hear me out.
The first line in the passage is extremely important. '"All things are lawful for me", but not all things are helpful"'. This is a huge concept to grasp. While Paul is ultimately talking about sexual immorality, this can apply to so many areas of our lives. There are so many things that you could do, but that does not mean that you should. I'm sure examples are flooding your brain, so i'll spare you mine.
God created sex for a purpose but a fallen mankind has separated it from its' original purpose. God tells us the parameters to which he created sex, and then Paul tells us to flee from anything that conflicts with that. The word flee that he is using means to go as far away as possible, to literally run away. Take a minute and let that sink in. We are taught in our culture to go as close to the line as we possibly can without crossing it. Think even in football terms; players are taught to hit as hard as they can in whatever manner they can, close enough to not get a penalty. Even copying homework because everyone does it. But if we take what Paul is saying here to heart, it's completely contrary to culture. He says to literally run away from it because it's so important.
Maintaining sexual morality is so important because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. So now you're saying, "I'm sorry, my body is a what?". What Paul is explaining here is that for those who believe in Jesus and seek to follow him, the Holy Spirit lives in them; therefore their body is a temple. By having the Holy Spirit in you, you have God living in you. Wouldn't you want to keep your room clean if you had someone staying in it? You want to treat your body the way that it was designed to function.
Having said all of that, it's important to know that there is a difference between conviction and condemnation. God convicts but does not condemn. Conviction exists to correct and bring us closer to God. When we feel that tug it's because the Lord is leading us in a different way because he knows what's best for us. This is the point where we have to trust him that he really does know what's best. We have to believe that his plan is better than our own. My prayer is that we all choose to believe God for his word and his design. I pray that we choose to run away from the things he says should not be apart of who we are while knowing that who we are is important and deeply loved by the Father.
- Laura DeGroot