Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.Paul advises his readers to flee from fornication. How would one go about doing that there, surrounded by sex? Probably the same way we ought to go about it here, as we too are surrounded by sex.
44% of teens say they watch something other than what their parents want them to watch when they're not around, with 25% selecting MTV. Only 15% of the shows with sexual content showed the consequences of sex such as pregnancy or STDs, highlighted abstinence, or the need for "safety." The average amount of time a teenager watches TV is 4 hours a day, and 54% have TV in their bedroom. (source) And that's just the television. If you look around at the checkout isle, you can find plenty of sex; ranging from the obvious on the cover of Cosmo to the more subtle magazines with dipping necklines and important information on how to make your butt more desirable so men will like you.
Children and teens are obviously the most easily swayed by such material, but we adults are not immune. A new pornographic video is made in the US every 39 minutes, and we are the larger producer of porn in the world. 40 million American adults admit to visiting pornographic sites, with 72% of those being male and 28% being female. These aren't random unknown low class people either - 60% make more than $50,000 yearly. It isn't a problem with just young adults as 65% are older than 35. (source)
We are surrounded by sex. When I taught confirmation classes, I would tell the girls it is a vast conspiracy to lead us to believe sex outside of marriage is good and holy and true. Conspiracy theorists have nothing on satan, and the media is his PR department.
How many movies have you gone to this year that did not have sex? How many TV shows have you seen? How many magazines? It is quite literally every where we turn. And I think many of us assume we are safe because we're just going to "ignore it" or it "isn't that big of a deal." Maybe "there's not that much in it." We have accepted the abnormal as the normal and assume we can safely just ignore it and it won't affect us. It slowly creeps in until we don't give it a passing glance, but it is there in our heads. It has the ability to affect us deeply.
Paul describes our body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. If we belong to Jesus, our body is literally God's temple. God dwells within us.
Let's talk a bit about the temple from the Old Testament, where God existed in a special way with His people. The entire building was built and maintained in such a way to help prevent the accidental defilement of the Holy of Holies. There are entire sections in the Bible dedicated to the rules set up to prevent anything unworthy from entering anywhere close to this area. Bad things happened to Israel when they didn't maintain it or allowed idolatry to occur in it. It was a big deal, to put it mildly.
We have a choice. We can accept fornication in our lives and make the abnormal normal. We can watch TV and movies that dignify the undignified and glorify that which is not holy. We can actively allow ourselves to be surrounded by this evil. Or we can flee fornication as Paul writes to those at Corinth and avoid such influences. We can look for ways to change our environment and protect ourselves against this influence.
Does that mean we might miss the latest greatest movie? Yes. Does it mean someone might think we're kind of boring? Sure. But let's say we were entering combat and people were shooting at us. One of our buddies suggests skipping the body armor and helmet because they look kind of stupid. Is that advice we'd take then?
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.