Ok, here we go. This blog is in my face, I couldn\’t blog on anything else today. Sunday, in my mailbox at church, was a book that I must have loaned out to someone and they were returning it. It had been loaned out so long ago, I don\’t recall who I loaned it to and there was no note from the borrower, so I can\’t even give that person credit here.
The book is called Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating. I referred to some of his teaching in the Anger and Contemplative Prayer blog just a couple of days ago…and bammo, here is his book in front of me. One I\’d totally forgotten about.
Being heavily prompted to open it and read for today\’s blog, I randomly opened it and read about the spirit of fornication…yeah, lovely, lucky me. I get to blog about fornication.
Here is the teaching in a nutshell: when we, as teenagers or adults, begin our walk with God, certain trials often assail us (Satan attacks, hoping to discourage or turn us back). These trials, if surrendered to God and fought in His power, are purging trials, they help cleanse us from unrighteousness. They help reorient us from trying to get what we need, to letting God be enough, to letting God be everything. Being assailed by the spirit of fornication is one of those trials.
Fornication (which Websters defines as \”consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other\”) is, according to the Bible, sin. No one disputes this, it is clear as a bell: sin. According to this book, though, it has a deeper root than lust or sex. The act and/or the impure thoughts related to fornication are expressing a need for pleasure, esteem and affection. Get it? The deeper root is related to being loved, being \’seen\’ by another, getting the buzz that comes with it.
The spirit of fornication has other manifestations besides sex outside of marriage. Overeating, drugs, alcohol use, listening to certain kinds of music, pornography, endlessly being entertained…in other words, ways we often use to escape. These quick fixes mete out some pleasure, but in the end leave us a gaping hole. Our gaping hole can only be filled by God and He knows it and He wants to make sure we know it, hence the buffeting usually before conversion and after (recently confirmed teenagers beware!).
What to do if we find ourselves in this trial? The teaching admonishes us to let go of our desires of satisfaction in this area. Quit trying to secure what we want/need for ourselves (and adjust our living accordingly) and invite God to fill the needs. Temptations may arise, impure thoughts may land, but they won\’t have a strong emotional pull on us once they are surrendered to God. Let God\’s love, all seeing smiling Eyes and joy-ridden divine buzz be enough. When we do this, it says we move toward a disposition of peace, peace in God. I would add that it deepens our relationship with God and helps create healthy Spirit-driven relationships with others. Ahhh…now that sounds like real pleasure…