Over the past month, I have come across a couple of articles written by pastors reacting to a moral failure in a fellow pastor. My first reaction was disbelief. Leaving the theological and moral arguments aside, what pastor who is doing his job even has time for adultery?
I read Chuck Swindoll just this morning, regarding occupational hazards in the ministry. He warns against four “occupational hazards” that can easily bring down people who serve the public as God’s representatives… silver, sloth, self and sex.
Trace the reasons great men and women have fallen… search for the common threads in the tapestry of tragedies. You will find most often a breakdown in the realm of personal morality.
It’s important for us to remember that a moral breakdown never occurs suddenly. It comes about slowly, almost imperceptibly, like a slow leak in one of your tires. Some things are tolerated that were once not allowed. We lose the edge… we begin to slip… we shrug it off and smile instead of facing the truth. Time passes. By and by, sneaky acts of disobedience slip in, but because they are hidden and rationalized, we deny how far we’ve drifted.
It’s a slow fade into darkness. None of us would have this destination on our itinerary. Swindoll continues:
Some time back I came across an excellent list of questions a small group of men regularly asked one another. Read the questions slowly. I think you’ll agree that they are on target.
- Have you been with a person of the opposite sex this week in an inappropriate way?
- Have you been completely above reproach in all your financial dealings this week?
- Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material this week?
- Have you spent time daily in prayer and in the Scriptures this week?
- Have you fulfilled the mandate of your calling this week?
- Have you taken time off to be with your family this week?
- Have you just lied to me?
Before you pass over it too quickly, answer each one for yourself. If you do it often, it will help you avoid the four pitfalls. All of them are addressed in those questions.
Men of Steel, the statistics are against us; in America…
- Ten out of ten of us are struggling with how to balance work and family.
- Nine will have children that will leave the church.
- Five will have a serious problem with pornography.
- Four will get divorced; affecting over one million children.
- Only one has a biblical worldview.
We are in a battle for our souls, for our marriages, for our purity, for our children, for our integrity, for our witness in the world. Don’t let the enemy have a foothold in your life and don’t give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:27). Don’t allow Psalm 69:2 to become a reality in your life.
My Sunday Bible study lesson from this past week was about David and how he walked down the pathway of heartache with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). So on Saturday, let’s discuss where David went wrong.
- He was not where he was expected to be – 2 Samuel 11:1 (he was at home rather than in battle)
- He put himself in a vulnerable position – 2 Samuel 11:2 (he got up from his bed, opening himself to boredom and temptation).
- He failed to protect himself with a network of accountability – 2 Samuel 11:1, 4 (answering to no one; he grew accustomed to wanting and getting).
- He was lonely and made a plan, rather than falling into sin.
- Sinned in thought – 2 Samuel 11:2
- Sinned in word – 2 Samuel 11:3
- Sinned in deed – 2 Samuel 11:4
- Could Bathsheba have prevented this from happening? This is a moot point to a man who is out of control.
I look forward to seeing you all on Saturday at 7:30 in the Welcome Center, and then several of us are going to the Game Plan for Life with Joes Gibbs, randy Alcorn, Tony Evans and Ravi Zacharias, leaving at 8:30.