Monday, January 17, 2011

Protect Your Heart

Last Monday a friend in ministry sent an email informing me that he had a moral failing. I literally read through my friend's email 4 times. I wanted to make sure that I was reading correctly. This friend mentored me, he invested in our church, he was a co-laborer in the kingdom. Ugghh!

It is a sad reality that these situations happen way too often. I hear too many stories of pastors committing ministry suicide. Every time I hear these stories it serves to me as a fresh reminder of the weakness of the human flesh and the aggressive strategies of the enemy to bring destruction to kingdom leaders.

One week after receiving the news I wanted to give a little reflection to moral failings: (*not all of my reflections are based upon the situation with my friend)
* None of us are exempt from a fall. Our flesh can end up ruining our lives if it goes unchecked. When we think we are above a fall we are "cruisin for a bruisin."

* A fall does not happen over night. It begins when we stop protecting our heart. Boundaries are very important and you must have them in place, however it's important to remember that a fall comes from the human heart. It is not simply a result of a life without boundaries. Boundaries keep the heart in check, but the heart is the source.

* Ministry is exhausting. The toll and cost is great emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Pastors and ministry leaders are susceptible to a fall because of this reality. We must make sure to fill our tanks with honorable sources of life.

* Teachability and humility keep your feet grounded. We need people to tell us if they cease to notice a hunger and passion to keep growing and learning. If you stop asking questions or stop pursuing growth, this is a big red flag.

* We must guard ourselves in relationships with people of the opposite sex. I know this goes without saying right? Here's the deal, it's easy to become too comfortable with people of the opposite sex. Your familiarity in a business context can cause you to allow your guard to fall down and you stop communicating in a protected way.

* The best antidote to sexual temptation is a great sex life with your spouse. When your marriage suffers it makes you more open to other relationships that might provide a quick fix. My spouse is the only legitimate source of intimacy in my life, I must embrace that.

All this being said, no one sets out in ministry wanting to be a statistic. It just happens to so many who stop protecting their heart. I love my friend and I grieve for him and his family during this season. I pray that God would bring healing and deep repentance to his heart and to his family. I pray that he would find grace from others as he showed grace to so many. I pray that I would continue to find these situations as warnings to protect my heart and the heart of others.