Concupiscence?

I Thess. 4:5. “Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God;”

This verse, of course, is a continuation of verse 4, which teaches that each of us is to know how to gain mastery over the lusts of our own bodies in sanctification and honor. 

We are not to indulge in the lust of concupiscence.  Okay, that word sent me straight to my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as well as to my Webster’s Dictionary.  I think  I know what it means, but you never know. . . .

So, Strong’s says the word comes from epithumia.  The root of epithumia is epithumeo, which is “to set the heart upon, long for (rightfully or otherwise); covet, desire, lust after. 

Epithumia carries the added connotation of a longing for what is forbidden. So, putting it together with the previous verses, Paul is teaching that fornication, which is forbidden, is not to be sought after or desired; rather, believers are to gain control over their own bodies in the matter of sexual behaviors.  We are not to be like the unbelieving world.  Not knowing God or godliness, they indeed worship the flesh and find any way they can to satisfy their sexual desires. 

We are to be different.  We are to live in a way that is a stark contrast to what our sex-saturated society has declared is “normal.”

Going off on a little rant here.  I’ve been on this one before. You may know, or not, that I work as a therapist in a Christian counseling office.  Doing this work brings me into daily contact with people who have messed up their lives (or been messed up against their will by a sexual predator, when they were children) with unrestrained sexual behavior.  Every week, I talk with kids who think they have to know whether they are straight, gay, or bi-sexual by the time they enter middle school.  They fully expect to have sexual relationships very early in their teens.  They’ve been taught how to do so in their sex ed classes, having seen demonstrations of how to use condoms when they are too young to have any wish to do so. 

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand what a mess we’re in. 

I see couples who have both had affairs but feel it’s not important because “It was while we were separated.” I talk to men who use pornography as “a harmless way to relieve sexual tension,” not caring or believing that doing so is an offense to their wives and to a holy God. 

Saddest of all, many of these situations involve people who claim to be born-again, Bible-believing Christians. They sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” on Sunday and then go home and watch porn in the afternoon.   Why, I have to wonder, is their daily walk not affected and influenced by what they say they believe?  Does the Word of God have no influence?  Do they read it at all? As a society, have we become so inured to the prompting of the Holy Spirit that even those who say they love God are beyond the reach of His Word?

How can we watch violent, sexually explicit movies and TV programs, read books and magazines that take us into places that we should avoid, and still think that we are pleasing God?  

There are times during my work week when I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or run screaming from the room. God help us. We are losing our spiritual sensitivity, allowing our boys and girls to dress in ways that are explicitly sexual in the name of being “in style,” and behaving as if God never said “Be ye holy.” 

God help us. 

3 thoughts on “Concupiscence?

  1. Margie

    you have a difficult job laid out in front of you daily…. There is no way one can be affective for God when their mind is filled with smut… I should pray for you more often!!!!
    Our church is preparing for revival services in Sept. but our pastors are not waiting for the circuit rider preacher to bring the revival to town…. They are searching their own souls and challenging our hearts multiple times a week, currently a month in advance in preparation for the meetings. Yesterdays challenge was for the Men of the church to come forward and be prayed over to be the leaders they need to be and surrender their hearts to God. I am thrilled with the emphasis our pastor is placing on the men in the family with his humble contrite spirit which is an example to encourage others in their Christian walk.Yesterdays morning service result was 3 men who trusted Christ, one who’s family was on the rocks and he wanted restoration with his wife and kids, and 2 more young men/brothers about 8 yrs old… That my friend is seeing the Holy Spirit at work which leads to encourage the brethren to keep on keeping on….

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    1. There is no such thing as too much prayer 🙂

      What your church/pastors are doing sounds wonderful, Margie. I will pray for your church family as you head into this time of revival.

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  2. Well said, very well said. The gal out in OK who is a state rep. wrote something about the lack of such teaching in the church, then we cry foul when rapists run free. Rather than think whether it is right to abort such a conception, she was saying, why not prevent the rape in the first place. And, she is outspokenly Catholic. I do not envy your job, but boy oh boy, you are needed.
    She, Rebecca, also mentioned what she feels is a lack of pulpit teaching on purity. She is right. Pastors and evangelists seem to be running for the preaching we heard in our teen years.
    How many of those who are questioning sexuality come from single parent families? Just curious. I am glad that Bob was around when Dave was a teenager and facing those moments guys face. I can’t imagine Debby raising her four boys by herself and am thankful for Gary. God help us all. Oh, I think you already said that.

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