When I speak at men's conferences all over the world, I talk to men about how to fight the battle of lust in the early stages. James 1:15 talks about the three stages of this battle: first lust, second sin, third death. The best way not to tolerate sexual immorality is to kill lust.
Let me give you a few practical ways to kill the lust portion of the battle. Lust is a seed, so killing the seed is easier than killing a tree. Place a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you lust after a person, snap the rubber band (if you want, also quote appropriate Scripture). In about 30 days, you will actually retrain your brain to shut down lusting. If you have lusted through pornography, you have neurologically imprinted this through fantasy hundreds or thousands of times, and you have sinned against your own body (I Cor. 6:18). The rubber band will help you on all levels fight the battle of lust.
The military has a buddy system, and that works for Christian leaders as well. If you want to stop tolerating sexual temptation, then expose it to the light. So many Christian leaders want to do this just with confessing to Jesus using the Scripture I John 1:9 and yes, you are forgiven. However, you won't be healed. That comes when you follow James 5:16 and get honest with somebody even about the small instances so it can't continue to grow.
I have been sexually free for more than 30 years; no porn, masturbation or sex outside of marriage. I have an accountability partner. If anything remotely comes into my life, I am immediately open with him, and he does the same.
A pastor or Christian leader without an honest accountability partner is much more likely to fall than someone with an accountability partner. I spoke at a pastor's conference and only about 15 percent of the pastors attending had an accountability partner. And we wonder why so many leaders fall!
If you are struggling and you feel you can't talk to someone locally, make a telephone counseling appointment with one of our counselors to start the process. We need every leader to stay sexually pure.
Another very proactive measure for you as a leader to be sexually successful is to get a porn blocker on all of your computers. If you have a cell phone with internet access, you can block the internet from your phone. Remember the internet is the largest porn store of all time, and it is just a good idea not to have easy access to a porn store.
A last area of sexual integrity is to have fulfilling sex within your marriage. This is not just about physical sex because sex is about spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy. We have to talk a little about each. As a Christian leader, if you are not praying with your spouse, you're not only a hypocrite, you are going to have a lower quality of sex, and you will be more sexually vulnerable. Also, sharing your feelings with your spouse and making time daily to connect emotionally is critical. If this isn't happening, you can actually sabotage your marriage and your sex life.
Your spouse needs to be your closest friend. Intimacy is a result of discipline. If you lack the basic relationship skills of daily prayer, the sharing of feelings with each other and praising your spouse, you will lack intimacy, become vulnerable to another person and can easily join the group of fallen leaders in this crucial hour.
I know it is possible to have sexual integrity. We have helped so many ministers get and stay free from lust, sin and death, so consider your value in the kingdom. Your Savior has done what He can to bless you.
He needs more leaders with sexual integrity, and you deserve that blessing. If you need to strengthen your marriage, please do. If you don't presently have an accountability partner or group, get one soon. If you have secrets you haven't told anyone, please share them with someone now.
Jesus wants every leader to grow and prosper, save souls, make disciples and keep His testimony of sexual purity until the finishing line. You deserve that feeling of knowing you have been a good and faithful servant in this critical time.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including Clean. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook or by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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