Good day folks.
I decided to make today’s blog post be an article by Randy Alcorn, a man I really admire. He talks about our temptations and how our temptations could make even the mightiest of us (Smaug) fall. Enjoy!
“Something terrible has happened.” The tense voice was my friend’s, calling from across the country. “Yesterday our pastor left his wife and ran off with another woman.”
I was sad, but not shocked or even surprised. Fifteen years ago I would have been shocked. Ten years ago I would have been surprised. But I’ve heard the same story too many times now ever to be surprised again.
I recently spoke on sexual purity at a Bible college. During that week, many students came for counseling, including three I’ll call Rachel, Barb, and Pam.
Rachel got right to the point: “My parents sent me to one of our pastors for counseling, and I ended up sleeping with him.” Later the same day, Barb, a church leader’s daughter, told me through tears, “My dad has had sex with me for years, and now he’s starting on my sisters.” The next evening I met with Pam. Her story? “I came to Bible college to get away from an affair with my pastor.”
For every well-known Christian television personality or author whose impropriety is widely publicized, there are any number of lesser-known pastors, Bible teachers, and parachurch workers who quietly resign or are fired for sexual immorality. Most of us can name several. The myth that ministers are morally invulnerable dies slowly, however, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. But there never has been a mystical antibody that makes us immune to sexual sin. Even those of us who haven’t fallen know how fierce is the struggle with temptation.
I recall with embarrassment my naivete as a young pastor. Every time I heard the stories of Christian leaders falling into sexual sin, I thought, “It could never happen to me.”
What level of pride is required to believe that sexual sin could overtake Samson, David (“a man after God’s own heart”), Solomon, and a host of modern Christian leaders, but not me? Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10 deserves a prominent place on our dashboards, desks, or Day-Timers: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
Fortunately, I wised up. The person who believes he or she will never be burglarized leaves doors and windows open and cash on top of the dresser. Likewise, the one who thinks the danger isn’t real invariably takes risks that wind up proving costly. I now live with the frightening but powerfully motivating knowledge that I could commit sexual immorality. I started taking precautions to keep it from happening to me.
Monitoring my spiritual pulse
Often those who fall into sexual sin can point back to lapses in their practices of meditation, worship, prayer, and the healthy self-examination such disciplines foster. All of us know this, but in the busyness of giving out, we can easily neglect the replenishing of our spiritual reservoirs.
Daily disciplines are important, of course, but I’ve found that for me they’re not enough. God gave Israel not merely one hour a day but one day a week, several weeks a year, and even one year every seven to break the pattern of life long enough to worship and reflect and take stock.
Guarding my mind
A battering ram may hit a fortress gate a thousand times, and no one time seems to have an effect, yet finally the gate caves in. Likewise, immorality is the cumulative product of small mental indulgences and minuscule compromises, the immediate consequences of which were, at the time, indiscernible.
Our thoughts are the fabric with which we weave our character and destiny. No, we can’t avoid all sexual stimuli, but in Martin Luther’s terms, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.”
I like to put it another way: “If you’re on a diet, don’t go into a doughnut shop.” For me this means such practical things as staying away from the magazine racks, video stores, advertisements, programs, images, people, and places that tempt me to lust.
One man who travels extensively told me about a practice that has helped to guard his mind from immorality. “Whenever I check into my hotel,” he said, “where I normally stay for three or four days, I ask them at the front desk to please remove the television from my room. Invariably they look at me like I’m crazy, and then they say, ‘But sir, if you don’t want to watch it, you don’t have to turn it on.’ Since I’m a paying customer, however, I politely insist, and I’ve never once been refused.
“The point is, I know that in my weak and lonely moments late in the evening, I’ll be tempted to watch the immoral movies that are only one push of a button away. In the past I’ve succumbed to that temptation over and over, but not anymore. Having the television removed in my stronger moments has been my way of saying, ‘I’m serious about this, Lord,’ and it’s been the key to victory in my battle against impurity.”
Winning the battle
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, there was no one seemingly more invincible than Smaug, the mighty dragon. But unknown to Smaug, there was one small weak Spot in his underbelly. An unlikely hero, Bilbo Baggins found this small weak spot in his underbelly. That information, in the hands of a skilled marksman, bard the bowman, was all it took to seal the doom of the presumptuous dragon. Unaware of his weakness and underestimating his opponents, Smaug failed to protect himself. Bard’s arrow pierced his heart, and the dragon was felled.
An exciting story with a happy ending. But when it’s a Christian leader felled, the ending is not so happy. It’s tragic. The Evil One knows only too well the weak spots of the most mighty Christian warriors, not to mention the rest of us. He isn’t one to waste his arrows, bouncing them harmlessly off the strongest plates of our spiritual armor. His aim is deadly, and it is at our points of greatest vulnerability that he will most certainly attack.
We are in battle—a battle far more fierce and strategic than any Alexander, Hannibal, or Napoleon ever fought. We must realize that no one prepares for a battle of which he is unaware, and no one wins a battle for which he doesn’t prepare.
As we hear of Christian leaders succumbing to immorality, we must not say merely, “There, but for the grace of God, I might have gone,” but rather, “There, but for the grace of God—and but for my alertness and diligence in the spiritual battle—I may yet go.”
What else is there to add. I’ve learned so much from this. Hope Y’all did.
Anyways till next time.
Au revoir ✌️
– Excerpts from “Strategies to Keep from Falling: Practical Steps to Maintain Your Purity and Ministry” by Randy Alcorn.