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Devotionals 2003

Out Of Control
October 17, 2003By Ed Wrather

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. - Galatians 5:19-15. 

Students in France are upset. They are upset that smoking has now become a target of the government. The law does allow for smoking in schools in designated areas, however, the government is now encouraging schools to be smoke-free zones. Students are upset and some have gone on strike. 17-year-old Melodie Gambero says, “We’re not allowed to smoke anywhere on the school grounds any more. They treat us like babies.”  

According to one student, about half of his fellow students are smokers. But the crack down by the government and schools does not end with smoking. Schools are also attempting to put an end to girls showing off thongs and stomachs above their low-cut pants/trousers. The fashion trend along with the smoking does not just affect young people in France but it is very prevalent in the USA as well. 

Why would the governments of France, the USA, and others be concerned about students smoking? Because habits begun at a young age tend to become lifelong habits and smoking is a particularly unhealthy habit. Smoking is high on the list of unhealthy habits contributing to much greater health care costs. 

Why would teachers be concerned about the overexposure of their student’s bodies? Perhaps they have seen too many become pregnant out of wedlock and too many contract sexually transmitted diseases. Of course, just because someone dresses in a certain way does not necessarily mean that the improper behavior will follow. However, many with years of experience with young people know that the tendency is for the behavior to follow the way they dress. 

The Biblical view of smoking is that it harms the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 we are told, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” It could also be argued that smoking because of the unhealthy aspect is “uncleanness” which is a work of the flesh. 

Sexually provocative dress is obviously “lewdness.” The dictionary defines “lewdness” as, “Preoccupied with sex and sexual desire; lustful. Obscene; indecent.” “Lewdness” is a work of the flesh. 

The apostle Paul makes it clear that what we should have instead of the works of flesh in our lives is the “fruit of the Spirit.” The “fruit of the Spirit” that seems to be most missing in the lives of many is that of “self-control.” We see that there is a choice that must be made. We can choose to participate in the works of the flesh, or we can “walk in the Spirit.” Crucify the flesh with Christ and rise up each day to live for Him.

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