The Bible clearly states that satan comes to steal, kill and destroy and I believe now, more than ever, he is on a relentless pursuit to cause pastors and ministers to stumble and fall into sexual temptation. The truth is we are all capable of stumbling and falling into looking at pornography, having an affair, lying to save face, destroying our family, and the list goes on. That doesn't make us bad people or less of a Christian; it simply means we must relentlessly guard our hearts even more. We can't risk being careless or naive and thinking, "That will never happen to me." We must all accept that at some point, we will be faced with temptation. So the true question is how do we guard are hearts so we can stand firm and not fall into the trap, that sadly, men and women of "stature" fall into every single day?
This is an area my Pastor, Herbert Cooper, constantly challenges our staff on and I wanted to share with you some practical steps that we can take to relentlessly guard our hearts:
1. Never, ever, be alone with a person of the opposite sex that is not your spouse.
2. Do not have any close friends of the opposite sex. Your spouse should be your best friend and that is all you need when it comes to the opposite sex.
3. Set up accountability software like X3Watch on all your computers, tablets (iPad, etc) and smart phones to help prevent yourself from looking at pornography.
4. If you are having any sort of marital problems, go to counseling. Counseling is not a bad word and it will help. Swallow any pride you may be struggling with and do what's best for your marriage.
5. Block any TV channels that may show inappropriate content, or if you have to, cancel cable altogether.
6. Find a person of the same sex that you can share your deepest, darkest secrets with. Someone who will ask you the tough questions and hold you accountable.
7. Put your family before your ministry. They are your number one ministry.
8. Live proactively - have safe guards in place and stick to them every single day. Don't ever apologize for living a life above reproach.
9. Be realistic. Expect to be tempted, but don't expect to be strong on your own. Know that without constant safe guards, eventually you will fall.
10. Be extreme. The time, energy and effort you pour into protecting your marriage and family should be greater than the energy and effort you pour into your ministry.