Every pastor I know has a story to tell of somebody they know and/or knew in the ministry who has fallen foul of sexual infidelity or some sort of deep seated, habitual sexual sin. I have been a pastor for 13 years and I can tell you from personal experience that I am counselling more men than ever before on pornography issues. Many of us in ministry will read that last sentence with a wry shake of the head and think, wrongly, ‘that will never happen to me.’
Every church planter, scrap that, every Christian man must, in these days, take this subject so seriously and have a battle plan on the go if he is to (1) stand against temptation and (2) be able to offer consistent, biblical advice with integrity. So, how do we guard ourselves against the menace of pornography and sexual infidelity? Here are a few pointers:
1. Don’t underplay how deceitful we are. Our hearts are, as the Bible warns us, ‘deceitfully wicked.’ We are masters at self denial and self delusion. We need to fess up to that at the outset. What does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 10v12? ‘Take heed he who thinks he stands, lest he should fall.’ We are weak, we are sinful, we are facing constant temptation and we must be on our guard against an enemy constantly on ‘the prowl.’
2. Have a plan to safeguard yourself. Proverbs 16:17 reminds us: ‘The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives.’ Personally, I never counsel a member of the opposite sex, ever. End of! Disagree with that if you like. I don’t care. It is my number 1 golden rule. I never give women lifts on my own. I never have women in my home when I am on my own and I never have women in my office at work on my own without the door open and my team mates aware of the meeting. Why? Because I am some sort of Lynx wearing babe magnet? No. Because I know myself and I am only ever one slip up away from ruining my witness, my life, my marriage and my ministry.
3. Have accountability in the area. This is a big one in our day and age. We must have people in our lives who are asking us the hard questions, particularly if we do have issues. Who do you have in your life who is asking you the hard questions in this area?
4. Never forget that we are at war! There is a spiritual battle constantly raging all around us. The enemy never has a day off. We don’t have the luxury of taking a breather in the battle.
5. Never forget we have Jesus! 1 John 4:4 holds out the promise that ‘the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world’.
Of course, there is so much more to write on this topic. These are merely some pointers. What our country needs more than ever are less young planters with grandiose plans and more young planting men with godly integrity. Our holiness is more important to the Lord than anything else. Below are some helpful resources.
Covenant Eyes is a website I encourage men to use if they have issues with porn on their computers. They have also produced a really helpful (and free) E-Book here on internet pornography. Download it here.