But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)

At first, the word thanksgiving seems out of place. Shouldn’t it say: “But instead let there be purity and holiness”? It seems absurd that a temptation could possibly be overcome by finding something and saying, “Thank you for this, God.”

But let’s consider the sins sexual immorality, impurity and covetousness.

We know that covetousness means to crave something you do not have in a way that the craving is placed above the will of God.

Sexual immorality, in the Old Testament, was sexual relations with a neighbour’s spouse.

Impurity tends to refer to sexual defilement; craving sex in a way it was never meant to be experienced. However, I would venture to say that impurity can be satisfaction in anything that has been twisted away from God’s intention.

So, the sum of these things is wanting what you do not have, or wanting what you shouldn’t have. Can you begin to see why thanksgiving, or gratitude, is the key in fighting these things?

When you believe that God is for you, and not against you, you feel gratitude. When you understand that God withholds no good thing from you, and that those things he does forbid are in fact harmful, you feel gratitude for a loving, protective God.

So whether you are dealing with a sin, sexual or otherwise, or you are really wanting something in your life that God seems fit to withhold from you, remember how good the Lord is. As His child, He would not withhold and forbid something if it is good for you.

Let us be in wonder as we hear Jesus say, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Let us follow Paul in being content with whatever we have, knowing that God is good.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.