Satan has no quicker way to end your ministry than by immorality. A preacher friend of mine, one who had been a good, godly pastor, confessed, “I’ve become the fallen preacher that I used to preach against.”
Pastor, there have been preachers smarter and more talented than you, that have fallen. It can happen to any of us. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
1. Don’t fight immorality, run away from it. Be man enough to ignore those who will make fun of that strategy. “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Joseph’s strategy still works (Genesis 39). Do not give yourself the opportunity to do wrong.
2. Never be behind closed doors with a person of the opposite sex. At church leave a door open or sit with her in an open, public place. Put narrow long, vertical windows on every church door (except the restrooms :-) ). Be very conscious and careful of counseling situations. Do not abuse your respect and authority. Do not give “great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14).
3. Do not travel, even for short distances, when it is just you and a person of the opposite sex. Unless you are both single and on a date.
4. Stay away from pornography and near pornography. Don’t study it, don’t dabble in it, don’t excuse it, don’t nothing. Stay away! Don’t waste God’s money on cable channels that show R rated movies. I don’t care what the cool preachers are doing, don’t! Do spend God’s money on any kind of an internet filter that works in keeping out porn.
5. There is now, or there will be, a woman in your church that you admire and with whom you have a lot in common. You enjoy her company. That is fine to a point. But that indicates a red flag. Never let it go beyond that stage. Keep the fence up, keep your distance. Treat all the women the same; treat them respectfully; don’t make a fool of yourself.
6. There are some emotional needs a woman has that you cannot righteously fulfill. Have sense enough to know that.
7. Don’t go around hugging all the pretty women in church. A man used to do that; no one was overly surprised when one day he left his wife and family for another woman. My preacher dad advised, “Just shake a woman’s hand, and don’t do that for too long.” When an emotionally distraught woman came forward during the invitation, dad had a gracious way of taking her hand, and placing his Bible on her shoulder, between him and her. Be careful what you do; be careful how it looks to others. Yes, others are watching.
If a woman insists on hugging you, fine, don’t make a scene. Also, don’t make it a habit.
8. Don’t joke with anyone, especially one of the opposite sex, about sexual matters.
9. Listen very closely to what your wife says about other women in the church. She notices things you’re too dumb to see. If she tells you to watch out for that woman, you better do it. A seminary professor said a preacher who refuses to listen to his wife about such matters, is a fool. She just may save your ministry, and everything good about your life.
10. Stay close to Jesus. Do not neglect your personal spiritual walk. “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). Read Proverbs 6 & 7 and 1 Corinthians 6:13-20 on a regular basis.
11. Stay close to your wife and family. Take care of your church, take better care of your family.
12. Ask God often for His protection, mercy, grace.
Late in life the outstanding preacher Vance Havner said, “I pray every day that God would not let me do some foolish thing that would cause people to forget every good thing I ever did for Jesus.”
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor; June 9, 2009