1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NLT)
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 God’s will is for you to be holy (sanctification), so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
Don’t you find those last six words of this paragraph extremely interesting. Very specific instruction is given on how to live in a way that honors God, thus giving credence to our faith, but it ends by saying “who gives his Holy Spirit to you”. It almost doesn’t fit. Yes, we can see how certain lifestyles dishonor God and don’t do much for honoring Christ’s redemptive work in our lives, but how does the Holy Spirit fit into this? How do our choices affect our connection with Him? The truth is in many ways, too many to name in this short time, but one key area is through the process of sanctification (v3). See, the Holy Spirit helps you keep your flesh in submission to God and God’s ways. Remove Him from the occasion by not obeying Him and your flesh will run rampant. The Joy of a Spirit-Filled Life is knowing He is there to help us live right before God, so keep obeying Him by giving your flesh no reason to celebrate.