A Dark Place

How many times have you heard about a pastor or church leader who was caught having an affair? Controlling your sexual urges isn’t any easier for Christians, and in a weak moment, the grass will sometimes appear greener on the other side of the fence.
The difference is we actually want to control them in effort to please God. For a non Christian, why bother. If there isn’t a God looking over your shoulder, you can do whatever you can get away with. Right?
A good friend once told me “never be found in a dark place.” This sage advice has sharpened my awareness of my responsibility as a man of God, to maintain the same walk in secret, as I do in public. How we conduct ourselves in private is every bit as important as the front we put on for the world to see. Our secret sins have a way of finding us out. God will not be played for a fool. If you are taking on the name of The Lord Jesus, you had better live up to it, or sooner or later God will cause you to be exposed. The judgement of God begins with the house of God.
How a person responds when confronted with their sin, reveals what’s really in their heart. Thinking that it’s ok to confess to God, and perhaps a few select people could be a tragic mistake. The confession should match the ministry. If I minister to a church of 500, it’s 500 people that I’m responsible for, and 500 people that I need to confess my faults to. That seems rather harsh, but we need to deal severely with our sin.
I know of 2 pastors who, when they were caught having an affair, thought it best to keep a lid on it. They hoped that in confessing it to their wives, and a few others, perhaps God would forgive them and it would all blow over. No such luck. People just love to have a bit of juicy gossip to tell ten of their closest friends. The sin of hiding an indiscretion is often perceived as worse than the indiscretion itself.
These pastors did not properly discern The Body of Christ. Just who is it sitting in the pew opposite them on a Sunday morning? The reason the scriptures call them The Body of Christ, is because that’s who they are. They are in a very real sense, the body of Christ, sitting in their church. If they realized the magnitude of that fact, they wouldn’t hold back a confession from them (Him). They minimized the significance of their sin, especially in light of their responsibilities. In both cases, their lives were shipwrecked, and the gospel was subject to ill repute. Any time someone tries to downplay or minimize the effect of their sin, they haven’t really repented of it yet. Often they are just trying to justify themselves as being not really all that bad. It’s like being slightly pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. Either it’s sin, or it’s not! God takes our sin very seriously. He hates it, and unless we share His heart in this matter, we marginalize Him. The enemy we need to conquer, and the location of the battleground is always within our own hearts and minds.
Rev.3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Celebrate Recovery

To say that we need God is an understatement. Our addiction to sin is a far more powerful force than any of us can imagine. Until we’ve been face to face with our powerlessness against it’s control over our lives, we will never truly appreciate how much we really do need God. The drug addict or alcoholic who’s been to the end of his rope, has a marked advantage over someone who’s always been a Christian and has never been fully aware of his sinful nature. The fact is we are born rotten to the core, and we all need a savior.
At Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the steps in the 12 step program confronts us with a need for a higher power. The problem is they leave you hanging, never stating who he is. Just some cosmic force or fate controlled by who knows what or who. I like the group called Celebrate Recovery because they put a name to the higher power. His name is Jesus Christ. Depending on Him is not a crutch, as some would call it. Just try to not sin for just one day, see how far you get. I’ve been faced with my own humanity, and understood the depth of depravity we are all capable of, and believe me it’s true, every one of us needs a savior. Our human nature is to feel we are strong enough to combat our sin nature. As long as we believe that lie of satan, we will never experience the fullness of Christ.
Last week at CR, I was looking around the room and noticed that they were an eclectic lot, mostly socially inept, and unusual in some way. Everyone had been faced with addictions, mental issues, hurts or hang ups of some kind. Funny thing is I felt very much at home there. More comfortable than in a room full of nice cleaned up Christians. There was a real sense of knowing they are in need of a savior and a desperate brokenness that is close to the heart of God. In that situation it was easy to enter in to God’s presence when we sang some hymns. It was like The Holy Spirit was hovering close by, just barely beneath the surface. In contrast to a complacent church meeting where the music is dusty dry. Like trying to pump up a tire that has a big hole in it. A place where The Holy Spirit seems far away ….Because He is.