Yesterday at our celebration service we looked at the life of Peter. The main goal of our service was to obviously connect with God – for him to meet us in a special way and to begin the process of learning from the failure of others. At one point I shared about the three denials of Peter;
· Peter was overconfident
· Peter underestimated to power of the crowd
· Peter forgot that sin gets easier with repetition
There came a point that as I was sharing about that final bullet…my mind started to wander. I was speaking and I could hear myself speaking but my mind was nowhere to be present. I’ve only experienced this a few times in the past 15 years…totally bizarre!
My thoughts went to many of my friends in ministry over the years who have fallen morally primarily due to their secret sexual sins. I distinctly remember sitting across the table from partners in ministry confessing that they were dabbling in internet porn and chat rooms and they appeared to have no issue with it. Their confession was more of a verbal justification of why they needed intimacy outside of their marriage because their wives couldn’t grasp their physical needs.
No one can deny that we live in a very sensual, sex-saturated world. Our computers and TV bring them right into the privacy of our home, and magazine stands at the grocery checkout make it almost impossible to escape. Just so that we are absolutely clear on this – being in the ministry doesn’t make one immune to sexual temptations – often it’s the exact opposite. Statistics indicate that one of the greatest temptations for pastors is sexual sin. It’s one of the enemy’s best tools to destroy those who would serve God.
For many it has become an escape, a drug of choice, a way of anesthetising ourselves against pain while substituting the hurt with “pleasure.” But it’s like drinking salt water because it doesn’t satisfy and ultimately makes the emptiness worse.
Whether you are in full-time ministry or not…the solution starts with a strong, daily, growing relationship with Jesus. Every thought must be brought under control (2 Corinthians 10:5). The temptation of what pops into our mind isn’t sin, but we are responsible for what we do with it.
A strong relationship with our spouse/partner is also essential. Having an accountability partner is vital as well. We all need someone who will ask the tough questions in love. Many don’t get serious about this until it is too late.
From my own experience anytime the temptation crosses my mind; I ask myself this question, “Is this temporary pleasure worth my marriage, the respect of my wife and children and friendships? Am I willing to lose everything I have (family, friends and ministry) just to experience a sense of false intimacy?
Scriptures I have memorized over the years;
2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”
Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Questions to ask yourself:
· If your private thoughts were made public for all to see, which would be most embarrassing to you?
· When is lust the greatest temptation to you? What is your plan to be victorious at those times?
· Who is your accountability partner, to ask the tough questions in love?