Series: Love Glue
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mike Speegle
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Brandon Kharns
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 in the New Testament for Everyone (NTE). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “Direction, not intention, determines destination” (Andy Stanley).
Let that sink in for a moment. We’ve all intended to do things, good things: lose weight (or maybe the dead weight in a relationship), exercise more, get more sleep, eat better, study harder and smarter.
And we’ve all discovered that our intentions, even our best ones, don’t always get us anywhere closer to where we intend to be. Sometimes we just need to move.
The Bible offers multiple ways of dealing with the enemies of our souls (whether temptations or actual foes): sometimes it tells us to wait and see, sometimes to stand firm.
At times we’re to move, other times to pray. We’re told to resist the devil, cling to God, have faith.
When it comes to the temptation of immoral (porneia) sex, Paul offers a one word reaction: flee (Verse 18). In the Greek, the word is a present imperative which means “do it now.”
Sometimes the way to victory, or simply to survive, is to run away. To remove ourselves, to step away (quickly), to get out while we can.
I know we think we are (or wish we were) stronger than we actually are. Paul’s advice isn’t needed because we aren’t devoted followers of Jesus; we just aren’t naturally prepared to have a reasonable discussion with ourselves in the heat of an “oh, momma” moment.
We don’t always think straight, consistent, or pure thoughts in the rush of temptation. While we should be able to withstand temptation by claiming a good Bible verse and the power of the name of Jesus, Paul seems to understand that that approach doesn’t work in every situation. Sometimes you just need to run.
Recalibrate: What if fleeing really is the best thing to do? What if it’s better to be embarrassed or look foolish than it is to get caught off guard because we think “I can handle this”?
Respond: Father, help me to not only intend to flee but to actually flee quickly when I’m overwhelmed by the temptation of the moment.
Research: Pull apart the pieces you glued together on the previous days. Notice how much of the previous pieces of paper have stuck on each of the new pieces. Glue them all together today and let them dry until tomorrow.
Remember: “Not everything is good for you” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Mike Speegle is the lead pastor for New Hope, an exciting, young, multi-ethnic Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland. Mike became a follower of Jesus and an Adventist in his early 20s. Pacific Union College was the first Adventist school he ever attended; he met his wife Lorie there. Mike has pastored for 30+ years, served in the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, and has written a book, Big Questions, as well as a number of articles.
Try running away with your little one. No, I don’t mean packing your bag and running away from home (although sometimes as parents we may feel like it). The idea is to go outside or to the end of your hall and try calling out, “Ready, set, go, and run.” We need to teach our children when they need to run. You could practice a fire drill with your little one, showing how if there is a fire you get down low and go! go! go! to the designated exit. Have a plan for what to do when something goes wrong, like how to call the emergency services in your area. If we can move, we can learn to get out of the way. Love teaches us to run from what would hurt us or others.
Have you ever wanted something that you know is not good for you? I love bread and cakes but they make my tummy get very sore, so I cannot eat them. I used to think I could just have a little bit of cake and it wouldn’t hurt me but I was wrong. Paul tells us in our text for this week to run away from what would hurt us even if we think that it might be nice. Choose to run towards all that is good for you and leave far behind all that would hurt.
When I was younger, every year or two we would go on a snow ski trip to the mountains. I grew up in a place where it never got cold enough to snow so this was a real novelty for all of us. Frozen water? What is this strange magic? After we arrived at our hotel, our first stop would always be to the store to buy new ski gear. It’s not because we were rich—quite the opposite. It’s because every year we bought the cheapest junk we could find, and every year we were miserable. Furthermore, we never took care of what we did have. So when we did open up the bags of snow gear it stunk really bad because it never got washed from the last trip, and everything was torn up because it was of bad quality in the first place. All the gear carried memories of freezing on our last trip. Collectively we eyed the pile of unpacked snow gear with hatred and loathing and headed out to get the next pile of junk that wouldn’t keep us warm. Same thing with just about anything else.
When I got my own job and started earning money, I discovered the wonders of quality gear and taking care of what you have. I’m not a neat and tidy person, nor am I an angry one, but watch out if I discover my tent has been abused or put away incorrectly. If you buy quality and take care of it, it will take care of you. And if you’ve ever had to spend the night in a leaky tent on a cold rainy night you’ll wish you had. I have a backpack that I bought twelve years ago that has been all around the world with me. It’s been up 14-ers, to the beach, in caves, and on the Amazon river. This bag is practically a good friend by now. A few months ago the strap ripped. I was heartbroken. It was like losing a friend. I emailed the company to see if it could be repaired. Get this: after all of that, twelve years after the purchase, the company repaired it for free. Buying good quality gear pays off.
God made you quality. You aren’t the Walmart backpack that rips in two after a month of carrying your books, or the snow pants that won’t keep you dry, or the tent that will spring a leak on your first trip. You are top-of-the-line REI-behind-the-counter-with- a-lock quality. God knows that; it’s why He came back and made good on the human warranty program. (See what I did there?) The question is: do you know how high quality you are? Do you take care of yourself like you would something that you paid a ton of money for and that you are relying on to keep you comfortable and possibly even alive? Guess what, you are dependant on your body to keep you comfortable, useful, and alive. Are you treating yourself like the disposable ski wear I used as a kid or the good stuff you hope will last forever?
One of my co-workers loves baking. Almost every weekend she bakes her heart out so that on Monday morning, our break room table is filled with treats. She even takes requests! Although we anticipate these treats, there is always a buzz in the break room when they appear. Three scenarios tend to play out. Some of my co-workers happily grab a treat or two throughout the day. Others don’t seem to care for the treats and walk by them like they’re non-existent. And the final group is where I find myself every week, groaning and pouting every time the treats appear. I stare at them and long to have a chocolate cupcake for breakfast. I wouldn’t say I have a sweet tooth, but it’s the idea that I shouldn’t have the cupcake that makes me want it. I’ve learned that my way to resist temptation for something I know isn’t good for me is to walk by and not look at it. If I even start looking or try to imagine what it tastes like, it’s hard to turn back. It makes sense that Paul talks about fleeing tempting situations. So whatever your weakness may be, consider creating a plan for dealing with it.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Brandon Kharns is the family life pastor at Placerville Seventh-day Adventist church in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California near Lake Tahoe.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist in a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the lead elder for Live Purpose at Boulder Church.