"Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." - 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
In this sex-soaked society, it is easy for us Christians to want to grade ourselves on a curve - so long as we avoid the blatant sexual sins, we reason, we're doing alright. Alas, this is one area - perhaps the most worrisome area - in which we take neither the corrosive nature of sin nor the great cleansing power of God seriously enough. And our lives, our leadership, our relationships, and our sense of self are impaired as a result.
It is specifically about sexual sin that Paul is speaking when he uses the analogy of yeast leavening a whole loaf of bread. A practice of wandering eyes or a stray thought that is allowed to play out may seem harmless, just as yeast seems so inconsequential as a stand-alone ingredient. And yet just as a little yeast soon permeates something far larger, so our allowing of sexual sin to linger in our lives can lead to ruin in our body and in our dearest relationships. If we realized how much influence even the smallest infection can have, we would not let it linger like we do.
On the flip side, some of us feel so infested in this area that we cannot fathom being, in Paul's words, "a new lump." We resign ourselves instead to making the most of our old, yeast-leavened lump, not fully believing God can make us anew in this and all other areas. If we let sin linger and in doing so make God and His warnings smaller than they are, so do we make God and His mercy smaller than they are if we think sin cannot be excised from us.
Wherever you are, I hope you will consider Paul's simple but powerful analogy of yeast and bread. Individually, corporately, and as a generation, let's make a new lump, and in doing so bring honor to our God and bring purity to our bodies, our thoughts, our relationships, and our society around us.