One Overlooked Method to Fight Temptation

I’ll never forget it for as long as I live.

My friend “Tim” had a lovely wife and pastored a good church. At some point, however, he started contemplating a very different path. His wife sensed trouble ahead and warned him about it, but Tim assured her, “No sirree, that’s not a problem here.”

In all my years of ministry, I can’t recall dealing with any person who, before things really went south, failed to get a warning from someone.

One day Tim and his wife drove several hours to sit with me in a restaurant. “This is the hardest meeting,” he began. That’s never a great sign.

In a halting voice filled with great shame, Tim described how he had gotten sexually involved with his secretary. As soon as the church found out, Tim was shown the door.

“I can remember where I was sitting when I first contemplated all of this,” Tim confessed. “I felt like I was drowning.”

Not long afterward, Tim found himself on his way to the Southern Baptist Convention. “I wanted to meet with you there, Pastor Johnny,” he remembered. “I was going to ask if you and I could go to some quiet place where I could tell you, ‘I’m struggling with something and I need your help.’ I rehearsed it all in my mind.”

As Tim spoke, his words seemed to tumble out almost in slow motion. “I felt that you would have thrown me a lifeline with a preserver and pulled me in,” Tim continued. “You would have helped me, because that’s what friends do.”

But my friend never got around to asking for help, or asking for the meeting. Instead, he let the divinely appointed lifeline slip out of his hands. Why?

“Even though I had not done anything wrong yet,” he explained, “embarrassment stopped me. I just kept thinking, I can handle it. I’ve got it. It’s just a propensity to sin. I don’t have to give in to it.

Tim knew all the relevant Bible verses. He’d preached on many of them and could quote several by heart. He thought he could handle the situation on his own.

He was wrong.

Tim didn’t fall because he was weak. Proverbs 7:26 makes it clear that strong men fall to sexual sin: “She [the adulteress] has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men.” If you look in the Bible, you’ll find that yes, even the strong can fall into sexual sin. Remember David, the man after God’s own heart? And what about Solomon? There was no one wiser.

In His great grace, God gave warnings and opportunities to escape, but these men didn’t grab the lifelines thrown to them. They didn’t listen to God. And in the end, their illicit liaisons led them to ruin.

I want to say as strongly as I know how that it takes an army to demolish a stronghold. You can’t whip the devil and his minions on your own. None of us can. That’s why God so often instructs us in His Word to engage the enemy with our brothers at our sides.

All of us need the help of other men. We need each other’s counsel, encouragement, warnings, and mutual accountability. If you try to win alone, you will instead lose alone—and the whole world will see your collapse.

J. Hunt

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

%d bloggers like this: