I heard very, very sad news this last week, and many of you are aware of this. A very well known evangelical leader in southern California has stepped down from ministry because of sexual indiscretion. He has offered his resignation and it was accepted in his church. I’m not going to mention his name right now because it’s not really that important. Those of you who know, know; and those of you who don’t, don’t need to know. But you need to know this...
“If any man thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall.” Hearing of this situation and the whole raft of things like this in the last couple of years sends a shiver down my spine. It does so because it is a reminder to me, as Paul himself said in 2 Corinthians that “there is no temptation that has overtaken you that is not common to man.” In other words, there is not a single person within the sound of my voice who is not capable of doing just about anything, given the right circumstances. Who is not capable of divorce? Who is not capable of infidelity? Who is not capable of becoming addicted to pornography? Who is not capable of child molestation? Who is not capable of murder? Who is not capable of theft? Who is not capable of torture? Human beings are what they are: broken people. And if we are not on our guard, men and women, we will be victimized by that brokenness.
Certainly we are in the process of being mended and that’s a wonderful aspect of the good news of knowing Jesus Christ personally and having the reality of the Holy Spirit in our lives to mend us. But even so, the darker side is there, and the darker side will overcome us if we are not vigilant. We need to be vigilant; we need to invite people into our lives to be accountable to, to confess to, to have visibility of our lives, to correct us and we need humbly to take that correction.
I’ll make just one last very personal remark. I want to give you an illustration of just what I’m talking about. Last night I went into the hotel room after speaking at a dinner and there on top of the television was a device used to select pay movies. One of the pay movies was an X-rated movie. Underneath it said that you could call the desk and have them block that channel out if you wanted to, apparently for adults who had children who might inadvertently push the button and watch one of those shows.
I want to tell you what I did immediately, my friends. I know myself. The very first thing before I had a chance to think very much about it is I picked up that phone, I dialed the desk and asked them to please block out the channel. Had I not done that then, then after my session last evening I would have been very vulnerable to temptation and, frankly, might not have had the strength to call the desk and block it out later. So I did it immediately. I’m not trying to impress you with this. I’m just giving you an example of how we can plan ahead to protect ourselves of that which we know we are vulnerable to. And I’m just as vulnerable as anyone.