Other "Thinking Drafts" and writing by Keith Drury --http://www.indwes.edu/tuesday .
From: Money Sex and Spiritual Power by Keith Drury
(c) 1992 Wesley Press
The church should be alarmed! I don't mean disturbed. And I don't mean concerned. I mean we should be outright alarmed. The devil is making gigantic strides into the homes of Christian people. He has doubled his assault on men and women in the area of sexual sin. It is time to talk about it.
I don't want to write about this subject. I like to talk about things like Discipleship, holiness, commitment, and leadership. But I am forced to write about sexual sin. How can we have a great revival movement for God when some of our most promising leaders cannot control their own carnal desires? Where is our credibility with the world if the church is caught up in the same sins as the world?
Hardly has a month gone by in the last ten years that I have not bumped into one or more cases of sexual indiscretion among ministers and key laymen of the Church. I know. We have always had this sin among us, But it seems to me there is a serious outbreak among us recently. Some of these cases are serious indiscretions, some are "minor" indiscretions, but many are actions of outright adultery.
The devil is a liar. No one falls in this area without believing some of the devil's lies. God tells the truth. His Word is light, not darkness. The devil may be multiplying his attack on Christians because he has access to modern weapons like TV, movies, videos, sexual advertising, cable and satellite TV. He serves these stimulants daily in the living rooms of the average Christian... especially those who "watch TV to unwind."
This chapter is written with a heavy heart. I am not that old, but I have seen dozens many of my fellow ministers and key laymen go down the drain because of this carnal cancer. Some were the most promising young leaders we had. Others were the steady "salt of the earth" kind of reliable pastors. One recent incident come toe me involving a man almost ready to retire who had carried on an affair with a woman for several years before being found out. I can't stand quietly by while more fall off the cliffs of this sin and ruin their life, their marriage, their ministry, and their family.
I recognize that sexual temptation comes to men and women alike. But, as a man, I am especially concerned for other men. Some of what I will write here can be equally applied to women. Other thoughts may need adapting for women.2 If you are a married woman reading this, you probably ought to talk about this matter with your husband sometime. But especially to men, my advice is this:
1. Don't start anything.
I am convinced that adultery usually starts innocently. A man or woman are attracted to each other, maybe even on a spiritual level first. Maybe you work together, sing in the choir together, or she is your best friend's wife. You both understand each other so well. You have so much in common and you enjoy quiet conversation with her. She seems more eager to listen than your wife.1 Soon there are special little words or phrases spoken softly between you. These lead to an "innocent pat," a grateful squeeze of her arm, a meaningful glance, a lingering gaze, a quick hug, a short embrace and...eventually you wind up in bed with someone you never intended to defile.
Don't start up this ladder of affection2 with anyone other than your wife. "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without being burned?" (Proverbs 6:27-29) If you are involved at any stage of affectionate expression, you are playing with fire. Stop, turn around, and turn back.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not calling for men to be cold, distant, and uncaring icebergs when it comes to women. You know what I am talking about. You don't need anyone to tell you "how far you can go" with anyone else. The Holy Spirit is not on vacation. He will prick your conscience if you are headed the wrong way or if sexual coals are being fanned. You will know it. If you are "climbing the ladder" with someone and it is titillating, get off. Now! Don't think you can play around with this delectable temptation any longer. The best time to stop disobedience is always today.
2. Listen to your wife's advice.
God seems to have given women the special ability to identify a "strange woman." If you are married listen to your wife's advice. If she notices a particular woman "coming on to you" welcome her alerting advice. Don't blow up and call her jealous. Listening to her may save your marriage and spiritual life. My wife alerted me several times that she "felt funny" about a particular woman. The first two times I doubted her, but followed her advice to "steer clear." Interestingly, in both of these cases, the women later got involved in immorality with other married men. How's she know that? Wives know. Maybe God tells them. Anyway, I've learned to listen.
3. Tell on other women.
If a certain woman begins to quietly come on to you, tell your wife that very day. Don't wait until the next morning... tell her before you sleep again. She is the most important partner in helping to protect your marriage. Don't start by saying "I need some accountability with some other guy," when it comes to this matter. You might. But start by telling your wife. You are in this marriage together and the both of you must together learn to protect your relationship with each other and with God.
If you are a spiritual leader -- especially a minister -- you must take special care to follow this advice. Some women may be attracted to your power, prestige, standing in the community and spiritual insights. There may be a woman right now, especially one whose husband is not committed, who is thinking, "If only my husband would be like him." This is wildfire, and it makes you especially vulnerable to temptation. STEER CLEAR! And when you spot someone "melting" toward you, tell your wife. She has as much to lose as you do. The quicker you realize that you are together trying to protect the marriage, the better.
4. Don't spend time alone with the opposite sex.
Probably enough has been said about this in other places, but let me add, "He who meets another woman alone in private hath no brains." If you are counseling another woman, make sure somebody is in the outer office. If your wife is your "Yokemate" maybe you could counsel another women as a team. While this is a special warning for ministers, it applies to laymen too. I am surprised at how many marital indiscretions or outright adultery among laymen have sprung up out of a relationship established on the premise of "giving spiritual help" or "sharing our problems together." We tell teenagers to avoid parking alone on lonely country roads. We say that they could put themselves in a place of greater temptation. We should take our own advice.
5. Drink from your own spring (Proverbs 5:15).
The best defense is a good offense. Though it is not a guarantee, "keeping the fire hot at home" is a good defense against sexual temptation. Paul said as much when he told the Corinthian folk, "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband...do not deprive each other..." (1 Corinthians 7).
Full sexual fulfillment in marriage is God's plan. It is a good defense against outside temptation. You and your wife need to recognize this truth and make sure you are not "defrauding" your partner (1 Corinthians 7:5) by providing a dry or boring "spring" at home. Christian marriages should be the most exciting and interesting sexual partnerships known to mankind. Sometimes the church has railed so much about sexual evils that married couples get the idea that their own sexual relationship is somehow shameful or embarrassing. This is a gross misunderstanding of sexuality, and will be transmitted to your children. The best sex is between a Christian married man and wife. If the truth were really known... it would make worldly men jealous!
However, do not allow Satan to suggest to you that any lack of fulfillment in your private family life somehow justifies a little sin to make up for it. It doesn't. Marital fulfillment is God's plan. Sometimes one partner is slower to develop their God-given sexual gifts to their fullest potential. These things take time. Some of you men are simply too impatient with your wife to allow God's plan to unfold. Be patient. Stick to your own "spring" and in time you will have greater satisfaction at home than you could ever imagine.
6. Be aware of "emotional adultery."
This is a greater problem for women than men so it applies more to your wife than you. However you too need to beware of getting emotionally attached to any woman other than your wife. An emotional attachment can lead to explosive situations where temptation crashes in on you with greater force than you have ever experienced before. Be careful to guard against gaining significant emotional fulfillment from another woman. Such relationships often develop into much more than emotional attachments and usually result in disaster. And, even if they don't lead to something between you and her, it can hinder your own marriage relationship.
Listen to a letter from one man who lost his wife to another man partly through his own emotional attachment (minor changes to protect the individual):
"Now I see how she was hungry to talk to me when I got home -- and I was so tired that I just picked up the newspaper or mail and read it. I never cheated on her, or even did anything wrong. But I allowed innocent relationships to replace our marriage relationship. Now I realize how I allowed my relationship with one particular person to fulfill my need for conversation, for small talk about the ordinary things of life. Then when I came home, they were already spoken and 'released,' and thus I never shared them with my wife. She got the message I didn't care, or took her for granted. She started looking for someone to share the 'little things of life' with. And she found him...Now I've lost her. My life is ruined. It's a wreck."
Need I say more? Emotional attachments are explosive. They can cause another woman to fall in love with you. An emotional attachment can cause you to loose your head and fall for someone else "who seems to understand me so well," or they can cause such deep emotional bonding that you will seem unable to break away. If you are bonding with another woman emotionally, walk away from it... before the entanglement ruins you.
7. Get your thought under control.
Holiness is pervasive. God wants to do more than purify our outward deeds and words. God's power is sufficient to even purify a man's attitudes and thoughts. God offers divine power to take captive every thought, making it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). There are some voices who urge that sexual fantasies are innocent, acceptable...even good for us. This is a lie. Lust is the label God's Word uses. They are sin. If you are keeping pure actions toward other women, and you have not uttered even the slightest words of attachment, yet you are guilty of impure thoughts, you are perching on a precarious precipice which leads nowhere but over the brink into deeper and deeper violations of God's commands.
Who do you think you are? Do you believe that you will be the first to escape God's law, "As a man thinks in his heart so is he"? Do you think you can play around with fantasy fire without burning your soul? Do you believe you can keep God's anointing on your life as you dwell on thoughts of disobedience? I'm not talking about temptation here -- you will likely never escape that. I'm talking about willfully dwelling on impure thoughts... thinking them on purpose. This is a sin.
This is the incredible power of the human mind: it can multiply and produce much from little. It is like a fertile field. If you plant a few bushels of corn, you get back multiplied more bushels of what? Corn. If you plant wheat, what will you reap in return? Much more wheat than you planted. If you plant negative thoughts in your mind-field what will you reap? You will eventually get negative results, and your life will turn sour. If you plant positive thoughts, you'll reap positive results and attitudes. This is a universal principle recognized by believers and unbelievers alike. Can you see what this means applied to lustful thoughts? If you plant seeds of lust in your thought life, what do you suppose will sprout -- and in incredible abundance? Certainly you will reap a harvest of sexual disobedience... sooner or later. This is the law of planting and harvesting.
Please, let me challenge you to bring every thought into captivity, making them totally obedient to Christ - 100%. If you have been allowing disobedient thoughts to creep into your mind, confess and repent of this sin. Perhaps worse, you are absolutely saturated with these thoughts -- perhaps as a habit since adolescence. Recognize where these seed thoughts will lead. Find out what triggers such temptations and starve these sources -- certain people, times, memories, places, TV. Begin memorizing scripture. Get some accountability. Have faith in deliverance... this one doesn't come out easily -- but God does deliver in this area.
Thousands upon thousands of Men and women can testify that there is no sin beyond Christ's cleansing power. God does mind renewals.
8. Recognize you'll get caught.
Are you involved in a suspicious relationship right now? Perhaps nobody knows about it. It's a secret. You may think you are getting away with it. Satan is telling you "You'll never get caught." You believe you are the exception -- you can get away with it. He says a little bit of sin for a season won't hurt you, and no one will ever find out. Listen carefully. Satan is a liar. You will get caught.
Sinners have believed they could get away with sin from the beginning of time. Adam and Eve believed it. They got caught. Cain thought he'd gotten away with murder. Cain got caught. Rebekah and Jacob thought they had deceived everyone. They got caught. Joseph's brothers thought their sales agreement with the Midianites cleared them of ever being found out. They got caught. Moses thought he had buried his sin in the sand. Moses got caught. Achan thought the evidence was well hidden under the floor of his tent. Achan got caught. Saul thought Samuel would never find out about a few animals kept back. Saul got caught. David figured a little sin in the privacy of his bedroom would never come to light. David got caught. Ananias and Sapphira thought they'd devised the perfect plot. They too got caught. It is simple: sinners get caught.
Do you think you can get away with a little sin? Who do you think you are? You will be like every other sinner down through history. You'll be caught. It is a universal law of life: "Be sure your sin will find you out." Do you think you can break God's universal laws of life? Do you think you will be the first who gets away with sin?
How will you get caught? Maybe the woman will tell. She may collapse under her burden of sin and blurt out the whole story in confession at some altar or to a friend or minister. My wife and I know this -- we've heard these stories. Or maybe someone else may tell. You think no one suspects, but someone somewhere saw you, and they will tell. When you are sinning Satan fools you into thinking you are invisible. You're not. Someone will see you sooner or later. Or maybe believers will "just know it." Christians have a special sixth sense about "sin in the camp," and they will sense something is wrong. After it all comes out many will share that they too suspected something was wrong. Maybe you will tell on yourself. The burden of guilt may eventually be so much for you to handle that you yourself will give up and confess to this sin just to find release spiritually. You may get away with it for awhile. If you do, you will get more and more bold in your sin, and that itself will make the sin so obvious that you will eventually cause yourself to get caught.
Finally, God could tell on you. Even if you don't get found out by any of these means, God himself will bring sin into the light. Do you think you can hide from Him? Don't you think He will continue to do what He has always done -- expose sin? Do you think you will be the first human in history to get away with sin? God may find a godly Nathan-like prophet and reveal directly to him what you have done. It may take weeks, months, or even years to crop up, but sooner or later your sin will be found out. You can't hide sin and get away with it. That is the devil's lie. If you are fooling around with sexual indiscretion, you will get caught.
I address this matter last because it is Satan's ultimate lie. Is there not enough evidence about us to illustrate that people do not get away with sin? If you are perched on the edge of sexual indiscretion, turn back now. Flee... "leave your coat" behind. Recognize the consequences. Eventually you'll be caught. And you, your family, your church, and all your friends will pay a heavy price. The devil promises you all the kingdoms of this world if you will simply bow down and worship at his altar of impure desires. But you can't have it all. God says your sin will find you out and you'll pay the price. And God is Truth.
Listen to this letter (minor changes to protect individual):
"It all started innocently...or at least it seemed so. My ministry kept throwing a certain girl and me together. She was one of the most active lay persons in the church -- and we both carried the identical burden for the church people. It all began in common ministry -- that's what's so ironic. We worked together, shared together, prayed together, laughed together...not just her and me, but in a group. Yet there was an attraction there...a spark between us that lit a fire!
"My wife was busy with the kids and her job. She never suspected anything...and I was continually around this lay woman. It happened just like you warn -- we started 'climbing the ladder'... exchanging little pleasantries, meaningful glances, double-meaning kidding, and finally little touches, pats, a squeeze of the hand, a quick hug, all accompanied by very spiritual overtones. It was exhilarating! I'm not saying I wasn't guilty...just that sin had such a powerful attraction to me. I wanted more...and I was willing to risk anything -- everything to get it.
"Well, to make a long story short -- so did she. It seemed like I was helplessly being swept along by a river of desire. It was like I was a teenager again -- going too far, then repenting and promising to do better; then just as quick I was hungrily seeking more sin. Soon I quit resisting and was swept into outright adultery. All this time I kept up my 'ministry' -- I don't think anyone really knew it -- that's scary, isn't it?
"Then, it all came crashing down. 'Be sure your sin will find you out' is true. We got 'found out.' Now my life is a shambles. My dreams have shattered at my feet. I've lost my beautiful wife -- I loved her all the time and still do. I've lost my wonderful children -- oh, how I ache to be with them again. I've lost my ministry -- probably forever -- what an ache it is to sit in a service without running it. It's all gone...
"My future, my hopes, my dreams, my family, my reputation, my ministry. The devil doesn't show you where the little temptations lead you. The excitement...the delights...the powerful seductiveness of sin is fleeting.
"If my story can help others, use it without my name. Tell your young men to 'stay off the ladder' and 'drink from their own spring.' Tell them to clean up their thought life. Tell them sin doesn't pay, and sooner or later it will 'find them out.' Maybe the ashes of my dream can teach others to say no to the devil.
With little hope anymore,"
This chapter is based on this ruined minister's plea. I don't like to write about this subject. But I have done what the young man asked. Need I say more? If this letter saves just one of you from the brink of destruction it will have been worth it.
1. Good listener. One Colorado psychologist's summary of more than a decade's work counseling "the other woman" argues that the common trait the "other woman" all share is "being a good listener."
2. Other thoughts may need adapting for women. This chapter is written by a man for other men, though many of the principles apply to man and women alike. Men and women are somewhat different in their sexual temptation. Men are more visual and physical; women tend to be more auditory and relational. For example Satan often tempts men to imagine an actual sex act with a woman -- any woman -- visualizing the actual physical process as if it were a play or a video. Satan often tempts women to imagine a cozy relationship full of warmth and tenderness, "wondering what it would be like" to be with a certain man. Thus the triggers of such temptation differ. Men may be triggered by seeing something pornographic, while a woman may be tempted through so called "woman's pornography" a soap opera or romance novel. Either way, the temptation is toward unfaithfulness to the one single person I have committed my life to be with.
From: Money, Sex, and Spiritual Power by Keith Drury
(c) 1992 Wesley Press
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