By Mark Dance who is director of LifeWay Pastors. Prior to LifeWay, Mark pastored churches for 27 years.
We would all like to believe that pastors are above the same sexual temptations and traps that snare other people. Quite the contrary, I believe that ministers are the most strategic of targets on hell’s hit list.
Ministers are rightly expected to preach for sexual fidelity as well as against sexual immorality. We have no shortage of material these days with homosexual and transgender headlines staring at us daily. We are not only supposed to address sexual immorality in our churches, but also in our homes and in our hearts.
I want to share some encouraging ways to help you avoid the lust trap. These are not four easy steps for purity, only time honored strategies that have been learned the hard way. My list is not exhaustive, so please feel free to recommend more in the comments section of this blog.
Holy Spirit > Your Will
Some of you may have thrown in the towel so many times that you are skeptical about another purity strategy. I have a good news/ bad news scenario for you.
Bad News = WE ARE ALL LOSERS.
You have no inherent strength to live and serve in victory. My inner strength is insufficient to avoid the lust trap, much less overcome it.
“Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Good News = CHRISTIANS ARE FULL OF SUPERNATURAL POWER.
“The weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds…taking every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
Recruit Your Spouse as an Ally
God not only expects us to win, He sets us up for success through the awesome gift of marriage. Since most of my readers are ministers, and 98% of ministers are married men – I want to speak to you man to man. You need your wife more than she probably realizes.
There are two sex talks every woman needs. One from her mother, and one from her husband. If the first one makes her sick, the second one will make her mad. Early on in our marriage I told Janet how men really think and she was mad.
For a year.
Marriage was awkward for a year, then awesome for twenty!
Not only has Janet become my greatest ally in the endless war against the world, flesh, and devil – but a terrific coach to other women who do not fully understand the sexaholic they married. A great place to start is 1 Corinthians 7.
The pastor’s closest friend and strongest ally is his spouse, but hopefully she is not the only one.
Walk In Purity & Victory With Other Men
Isolation makes us vulnerable. Godly ministers cannot win the battle for purity alone, as much as we would like to because of its private nature.
Pornography is not just a problem in the clergy, it is an obsession. One poll found that a disturbing 75% of ministers say they have zero accountability systems in place to help them stay pure (Heath Lambert, 10/14).
“Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).
Build a Firewall Around Your Life
Before we can lead others, we must first be able to lead ourselves.
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd (pastor) the church of God” (Acts 20:28).
People don’t fall into traps, they walk into them. Here is a better, biblical plan:
“Run from sexual immorality!” (1 Cor. 6:18).
Solomon gives great practical advice to his sons about the dangers of adultery in Proverbs 5-6, which applies to both the literal and virtual versions of it. His double barreled counsel to them was to enjoy their wives and avoid “the forbidden woman.” In a nutshell – she will take your marriage, reputation, fortune, and possibly, your life.
“Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house” (Prov. 5:8).
This article originally appeared on Lifeway.com on June 18, 2015 and is reprinted with permission from the author.