Men of God
Yet another megachurch pastor's "inappropriate" behavior with a woman not his wife has left me exasperated. Allow me to speak my mind on a few things (consider my tone gentle but firm). It's time the American Church gets its act together.
DEAR CELEBRITY & MEGACHURCH PASTORS:
I'm done. Done giving you the benefit of the doubt when you preach shallow sermons. Done explaining away crass behaviors when talking with unbelievers and outsiders. Done complimenting your props and stage presence. Done laughing at your jokes. Done attending your conferences. Done buying your books, sharing your content, and otherwise "sowing seeds" into your ministry. Done thinking God chose you above other believers and leaders. Done pretending you're special. Done admiring your family, your influence, and your "blessings."
You lie when you tell the world everyone who follows Christ is prosperous and in good health - I bet Christians in China, Iran, Iraq, and other hostile nations disagree with you. You convince millions of people to take poison pills in the form of false gospels and staged services. You're involved in too many scandals. You're slowly becoming blind to the purpose of your existence. Reformers: walking with God has nothing to do with extrabiblical doctrine and narrow-minded interpretations of Scripture. Mega-Evangelicals: you're deceived to think this is about "living your best life now." Seeker-friendly: you're not a real minister if you need a "fun" atmosphere to preach. Charismatics: nobody cares about your spiritual gifts if you're mean, unloving, and your prophetic declarations come to nothing.
Why do you brag about how many members you have? Why do you keep a tally of those who raise their hand to repeat your weak "sinner's prayers"? Why do you need a camera on you all the time? Why do you speak erroneously and compromise the word of God to fill healing lines? What's the significance of a larger house and finer clothes than regular believers? Are you overcompensating for the anointing you lack? In case no one has told you lately, this Christianity thing has never been about your ability to successfully plant a church, draw a crowd, or create (false) converts. You're not worthy to receive glory. You're just a man.
This movement has and always will be about JESUS CHRIST.
A WORD TO EVERY MAN OF GOD
Sooner or later, you will be presented with an opportunity to look, touch, or take a woman who doesn't belong to you. That's a fact. Regardless of how long you've followed Christ, you will never be perfect in your flesh and, therefore, will always be susceptible to temptation in this area. It's normal to find women attractive and to want to have sex. Duh. God designed you this way. There's no guilt in being tempted, but there is shame in falling and struggle in trying to pick up the pieces of your life. You see, the problem is in not recognizing when it's inappropriate to have certain thoughts and desires and failing to fight back against hormonal onslaughts.
You should expect the devil to parade something skintight, lowcut, and see-through across your path. Anticipate the enemy plotting against you on that mobile device. Be on guard against that chatty co-worker who always smells nice and pays you the best compliments. Single men, save yourself and avoid frequent (regular, ongoing, patterns of) alone time with women. Married men, there's no such thing as a female best friend who's not your wife. This is so basic! <insert hand clap> Biblically, there are three responses to sexual temptation:
1. Run: Read Gen. 39:6-12 and 2 Tim. 2:22. You don't have the "will power" to conquer this, it's just not possible. You need to build resistance by following God's word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Don't reason being alone with the wrong woman. Counseling pastors, there is no "confidentiality clause" in Scripture, so you don't need one. If she insists on speaking only to you, first you should ask why. Talk visibly, out in the open, don't close office doors, use surveillance technology, record the conversation - whatever! Just do what you need to do to stay free from snares and accusations. Running doesn't make you weak, it makes you stronger!
2. Get married: Read 1 Cor. 7 and 2 Cor. 6:14-16. Never marry for sex or physical beauty as these things will fade. Mark my words, until death do you part is a long time to sleep with and wake up next to the same woman. When you get bored or you find out she has an ugly personality, you're stuck. To avoid pain, regret, a counterfeit life, and divorce, don't marry outside His will. If you're born again, don't marry an unbeliever. Wait until she's saved and bearing the fruits of salvation or move on knowing she's not the one. Only seek a wife if God says to do so (see Prov. 19:14, 31:10-31).
3. Take her and suffer the consequences: Read Judg. 16-17 and 2 Sam. 11-16. These Scriptures need no explanation. If you're not ready for strict fidelity, uncompromising integrity, and hardcore purity, then you have no business marrying or leading a ministry. Self-control is the only "call" of God you need to be concerned with answering.
Your ego and libido are your responsibility to bring under submission and into alignment with the standards of God's word.
WHAT HAPPENED TO PUTTING GOD FIRST?
Aside from sexual sin, there's a host of wicked deeds that ruin lives, tear down relationships, and destroy ministries. I've read stories about property scams, fraud, verbal abuse, using tithes and donations to illegally purchase material possessions...the list goes on. This is selfishness on a massive scale. When pastors fail, an entire congregation loses trust in leadership, unbelievers are justified in avoiding the church, scoffers have more ammunition to spitefully condemn the Body. Ultimately, unfaithful men of God not only wreck their own reputations, they make a mockery of the faith and leave us all to clean up their mess in our corners of Christendom.
I encourage every man of God to check himself. If you think, "I'm good," check again! Don't be too proud to admit you have a problem. You're not weak for asking for help; you're weak if you think you're strong enough to stand blameless before Christ without the power of the Holy Spirit. If the woman closest to you is not your wife or relative, then you need to stop compromising and start making the necessary adjustments to protect her purity and yours. Pastors, you have no excuses. Either love God and His people or love the things of this world. You have the freedom to choose, but you will not have it both ways. Since there won't be an opportunity to repent on Judgment Day, you better get it right now.
Grace to you and God bless.
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