In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul instructs the church in Corinth to flee from sexual immorality. What does this mean and how is it accomplished? For those imprisoned by addiction and desires, it can seem like fleeing is impossible. However, in this article I will illustrate the power of the word flee and how you can permanently eliminate sexual immorality from your life.
Running Away vs Fleeing
The word “flee” is often explained as “running away” from something. Perhaps a better or more biblical way to frame it, however, is with this definition: “To escape something so it cannot reach you any longer.” With this understanding, then, it’s clear that fleeing from a type of sinful behavior is quite different than simply avoiding it.
Consider a refugee who flees from a war-torn nation or oppressive government. Ideally, refugees in this situation not only run away but go far enough away so they are outside of the reach of their oppressors. Therefore, they are no longer bound, or under the jurisdiction of that which they flee from. When it comes to sin, specifically the sin of sexual immorality, we should do the same.
What does it mean to flee from sexual immorality?
To flee from sexual immorality, then, means that our mind has achieved a state where this sin can no longer reach it. The mind that flees from sexual immorality is no longer bound by these desires; they no longer have power.
You are probably now thinking that I am out of my mind, how can one achieve a state where sin cannot reach them? After all, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This is true, however we also read that a Christian is one who is not a slave to sin. This is not to say we are perfectly sinless, rather that sin no longer holds us under its power (Romans 6:14-23, Galatians 5:16). These verses are a picture of the one who is under the influence of his Spirit rather than his flesh. In other words, a person who has learned to flee from sin. In our case, flee from sexual immorality.
It’s critical that a Christian buy into the idea that we can and must flee from sexual immorality and all types of sin. And flee in such a way that we live in a new manner of life, no longer controlled by fleshy desires.
Verses for consideration:
- Ephesians 4:22-24
- Romans 6:12-13
- Romans 8:5-7
- Romans 8:13
- Galatians 5:19
- Galatians 5:24
- 1 Corinthians 2:14
- Colossians 3:5
You don’t flee what you don’t consider scary or dangerous.
It’s human nature to flee from something that is dangerous or scary. Perhaps you don’t flee sexual immorality because you haven’t bought into the fact that it is dangerous and scary. You may mentally acknowledge its danger, but don’t actually believe it. In other words, you aren’t truly convinced of its danger. Therefore, you have not fled.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Jeremiah 17:9
It’s unfortunate that often we must experience first-hand the results of our iniquity before we truly repent. We must learn to control our fleshly desires and grasp hold of the truth of our lack of self-control. If we are to put to death the flesh and its desires, then we must believe the truth about the dangers of sexual immorality.
Fleeing sexual immorality not only when you feel urges
When you grasp the depth of what it means to flee sexual immorality, then you understand that it lies beneath every aspect of your life. Fleeing is not limited to the times “urges” entice you (such as pornography addiction) to fulfill your fleshly desires. It is a lifestyle. The hopeful realization of this belief system is what produces change. You do not fight against desires because they can no longer reach you. Evil desires for sexual immorality live in a different nation with different laws that do not apply to you. Therefore, when they come, you dismiss them.