Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
It seems hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear of another person in ministry who has been defeated by moral failure. We sigh, shake our head, and affirm again that it won’t be us. But they probably did the same thing. And what are we doing to make sure it isn’t us? What could have they done to prevent their sin? There is nothing more dangerous than thinking we are above temptation, that we aren’t susceptible to the same thing, that somehow we are safe. Here are some ways to prevent moral failure:
Monitor your spiritual pulse. How is your personal relationship with Jesus? Are you drifting? Is your prayer life and Bible reading slipping? Do you use busyness as an excuse? Make sure you spend time each day with Jesus, and take periodic extended spiritual retreats as well.
If married, guard your marriage. Are you drifting from your mate? Are you less close than you once were? Is your spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy slipping? If so make repairing that relationship your top, immediate priority.
Take precautions. I have made it a practice my whole ministry to never be in a car, home or church alone with a woman other than my mate (or family member). I recommend that for everyone in ministry – male or female. Be honest with your self if you find yourself enjoying the company of someone more than you should. If you feel or act towards a member of the opposite sex in a way you wouldn’t want any one to know about or wouldn’t want your mate to be acting, then back off fast! Watch your thought life – that’s where all sin starts. If someone seems to be attracted to you don’t let it sway your ego but do everything to quench it as quickly as possible.
Become accountable. Most of those who fail morally admit to not having anyone who held them accountable. Make sure you have some mature believer of the same sex who will hold you accountable, will ask you the tough questions, and will be there to help you when (not ‘if’ – it will happen) you are attacked. Honestly share with that person what is going on in your thought life, where you are tempted and what they can pray about for you.
When you next hear of a Christian leader who succumbs to immorality don’t just say, “There, but for the grace of God, I might have gone.” Instead say, “There, but for the grace of God – and my alertness and diligence, I may yet go if I am not very careful.”
Matthew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
- Who is your accountability partner? If you don’t have one, choose someone now and talk to them today.
- Honestly search your heart and ask God to show you where you may be weak in this area: relationship with Him or mate, getting too close to those of the opposite sex, or especially thoughts you shouldn’t be having. Confess any sin you may find.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on August 30, 2009