The idea of disciplining our desires brings us to the subject of expression. God's purpose is to express His character, His life. That is what our bodies are for--to express the life of God. The body is not for immorality but for the Lord (I Cor. 6:13). Obedience is the necessary element to bring this about. Until there is obedience, there is no expression. True faith culminates in obedience. The difficulty is that our bodies have been exercised in something other than God's life. They have been exercised in expressing our life. And that life was a life of sin, self-originated for our own purposes. Our bodies would be quite happy to continue on in that way. Habits go deep and our bodily members are quite content. Change is not easy. It takes effort. It takes purpose and a reason for changing.
Our reason for changing is that now our bodies are temples of the living God, and our motivation is the love of God. We have been bought with a price; we are not our own. With privilege comes responsibility. We want to be delivered from God's judgment, we want to know His presence, but there is a price to pay. God is light, and He cannot dwell with darkness. If we want to know the closeness of fellowship with God, then we must separate ourselves from that which defiles. "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (II Cor. 6:18).
What does it mean to separate ourselves? "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Cor. 7:1). This is something we must do. God will not do it for us. He gives the light and the grace, but we are the ones who must cleanse ourselves. How do we do this? When the Holy Spirit brings an area to light and I see that it is affecting my relationship with God, I must turn away from it. I "put it to death." Notice that we are not trying to kill ourselves or kill our desires. We are putting to death a deed, an expression of the old man. We can do this because we are "in the new man." "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Rom. 8:13). Touch not the unclean thing. Don't just drift on in old habits. Exercise the body unto godliness! Express the new life that God has placed within.