“…that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor…“
that each of you should know how
Avoiding sexual temptation requires some “know how.” We learn from the Word of God. When the chips are down, and we face temptation, believers should have the know how from the Word of God.
to possess his own vessel
Christians should know how to “possess” their “vessel.” The word “possess” means to acquire, procure for oneself, gain. We must know how to apply principles of God’s Word to our experience. The idea is to win mastery over our souls in temptation. In doing this, we will save ourselves from grave danger. We control our sex life by knowing how to submit ourselves to God’s control.
The word “vessel” is a euphemistic way of referring to our sexual life. We must make a clean-cut break with sex sins. Christians must “repent” of fornication.
“…lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced” (2 Corinthians 12:21).
Our “vessel” is how we use our body for the glory of God.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
in sanctification and honor
Our sex life should be holy and honorable. The antithesis of allowing our sex drive to run uncontrolled is that we operate “in sanctification and honor.” There are privileges and responsibilities in becoming a child of the King. The word “in” refers to the sphere or leading milieu that governs our sexual behavior. “Holiness” and “honor” control our sexual drives.
“Sanctification” is what we do in setting aside our lives unto God. “Holiness” is our willingness to set apart our life to God. We belong to another. We are not our own. When we set apart our lives unto God, we give Him our lives for His exclusive use. We are His — lock, stock, and barrel; hook, line, and sinker; body, soul, and spirit.
Honor is what others see; they see that we live holy lives. “Honour” deems our sexual drive as precious, so we deal with it respectfully. A Christian has drastically different attitudes toward sex than non-Christians. For this reason, they carry themselves with “honor.” The word “honor” denotes value, esteem. Some of us do not value the honor of our bodies. We devalue it by sexually defacing it. Jesus paid a great price for our salvation; therefore, our lives have great value to Him.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price [same word as “honor”]; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Christians need to learn how to control latent sex drives in holiness and honor.
Learning how to handle our sex drive is not easy. The sex drive is one of the most powerful drives of our body. The first lesson we must learn is that our body is not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). The Bible says that we cannot satisfy our sex drive just as we satisfy our sleep, hunger, or thirst. However, we must control our sleep or eating. If we allow those desires to get out of control, the result is health problems.
The believer is God’s vessel. As God’s vessel, we must treat our bodies with holiness and honor. Our sexual drive is God’s. He has the right to determine how we use it. His standard is two-fold: 1) flee sexual sins, and 2) pursue things of God.
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:20-22).
If we do only one, we will have done a half job. If we flee but do not pursue, then we fulfill only half of God’s command. A half job will not deliver us from sexual sin. Do you fully “possess” your body for the glory of God? Only a clear-cut decision will do this. We cannot have compartments in our lives reserved for self. Such compartments will eventually result in blatant sin. If you are reserving certain sins for yourself, deal with them in one fell swoop today. Do not look back.
That is not enough, however. You must “pursue” righteousness, faith, love, peace with a pure heart. We cannot trifle with sin or the Christian life. It takes all that we have and are. It will cost us something in personal gratification. That cost is worth it because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.