Setting the Scene
Because of the increasing prevalence of infidelity and immorality in Christian circles, I have decided to write a few words on this important subject. They are words of warning, not from a lofty tower of inaccessibility but from a man among men. Robert Burns said long ago, “A man’s a man for a’ that.” All are vulnerable; all can fall; all can face ruin because of improper sexual relationships. Sadly, across the lives of some who were in the Christina ministry has been written that tragic word ‘fallen.’ I point no finger. I thank God for His gracious hand of protection on my life keeping me clean, but I bow humbly and pray, for I also am a man, and “a man’s a man for a’ that.” May God protect us all?
First of all, it is necessary to establish biblical principles. The Bible gives absolute standards: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14) According to Levitical law, "The adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev 20:10) The New Testament is also clear, “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor adulterers...shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cur 6:9-10) By definition, adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man or a married woman and someone outside of the marriage bond – an extramarital sexual relationship.
Fornication is voluntary sexual intercourse between unmarried people – a premarital sexual relationship. This immorality has left the dark caverns of censured wickedness and has become largely the accepted norm in modern society. The church in its turn has become conditioned to the lowered standards.
We have become so used to hearing of people in immoral situations that it no longer offends us. The standards of the world invade the church merely eliciting disapproving shrugs or sighs accompanied by the remark, ‘Well, that’s how it is these days!’ But God has not changed, and His demands for moral purity have not changed. The world may have eroded biblical standards but the inexorable command is still there. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” To Him we must give account.
Nothing so destroys the foundation of marriage as immorality. Its disastrous power demolished a person’s worth. It nullifies trust, destroys respect and integrity, brings shame and grief, and devastates self-esteem. It defrauds people, reducing them to objects of use, not love. An immoral relationship is not an expression of love, but a revelation of selfish love. Love desires the best for another person, and endures pain, sacrificing selfish gratification forte good of the other. We live however in a selfish world that demands that self must be gratified whatever the cost to others. Immorality takes place; the families suffer, the children suffer, the Christian witness suffers, Christ suffers!
Immorality does not occur over night. We are not paragon of virtue one day and engaging in immorality the next. We are gradually conditioned to it by the media until it becomes inoffensive. Then in appropriate dress, unwise demeanour, provocative talk and subtle teasing lower further our defences.
Slowly protective values are eroded and improper bridges are built. The lingering look, the telling touch, the long handshake, the overlong arm squeeze, the hand on the shoulder, the close-contact conversation, the understanding and sympathetic friendship, each act contributing to building an improper relationship.
The heart quickens, fantasies chase one another through the mind, the imagination runs riot. Mental images and reveries accumulate and dominate. Slowly the net is spread; gradually, imperceptibly, the line is crossed. Conversations of a personal nature increase. Dependence upon one another increase. The warning lights flicker but grow fainter and dimmer. Excuses are made to be together; lies are told. The inner warning voice has been effectively stilled. You rationalize your behaviour, “He/she needs me,” “We minister together.” You argue away the improper attitudes and conduct, pretending they don’t exist. “There is no damage” “We are Christians” “The Lord is protecting us and blessing us” “It’s so helpful to the work of God for us to work together in this way” A good and friendly relationship has advanced to inappropriate emotional dependence. You are emotionally involved. You live in a painful world between fantasy and reality. It is a kind of spiritual adultery. It is moving relentlessly forward.
One day, one fateful day, the desires and opportunities coincide and what was conceived by contact and conversation, by fantasy and foolishness, now actually takes place. Thoughts have inevitably led to actions and now the consequences must be faced. Another devastating tragedy takes place. The church must live through it somehow. Another crippling humiliation; another series of broken lives and grief-stricken hearts. What a sad and sickening calamity.
How can we avoid these distractions and stem this tide of satanically inspired infidelity? It might help to identify the places of particular damage and vulnerability.
Danger Areas - Working
The place of employment is an area of great vulnerability. A respected Bible College principal in London advised his students to ‘work on the assumption that the devil has planted a member of the opposite sex where you work to trap you.’
In the work place, people have similar interests and concerns. There is the same pressure to perform, to excel. There is close co-operation in projects which sometimes fail, resulting in commiseration together; and which sometimes succeed, resulting in celebration together. There is fellow-feeling, camaraderie, unity, purpose, excitement, electricity, vibes! Men and women are performing at their best, dressed and polished to the teeth. They are thrown together for more hours of interactive and purposeful living than those spent with their spouse. They see each other very differently to the way in which the wife at home sees her weary husband. She is aware of all the faults that intimacy reveals and would not suspect that anyone would fall for her man. She in turn is not dressed and groomed to kill and has perhaps lost her sparkle in her weariness and is embroiled in household duties till he returns. Comparisons are made. Those bright and enthusiastic girls at the office are now seen in a desirable light. They understand the hurt of a failed business deal far better than the wife and can console more meaningfully. There is a natural fulfilment in their presence, far more so than the wife with whom he spends much less effective time. The scene is set for moral disaster.
The danger is not merely confined to the married man, but extends as well to the working woman. Some men at work are on the prowl and some are on the lookout for sexual adventures.
How do we combat this inexorable pressure? Recognize the potential danger of the work place. Conversations in the workplace should not include personal problems. Do not discuss the failure of your spouse at the office. This will evoke a sympathetic response from those who feel that they could make you happy when your spouse is obviously not doing so. Do not lean on the unavailable person. This is a language which the sexually adventurous will understand. Do not tease with subtle insinuations, nor ask provocative questions. Do not stare with meaningful, lingering looks.
The wife at home must realize that her husband is stepping into a minefield, for ours is a sex-mad society. She should take a serious interest in her personal appearance. She should also take a keen interest in his work and as far as possible, feel with him in it. Remember, if he is not appreciated at home, he will be at work.
Guard the relationship between husband and wife. If difficulties arise here, major problems may ensue. If one party feels always ‘put down,’ taken for granted, despised, unloved; should harsh words and unkind comments, discourtesy, insensitivity, inconsideration be the order of the day, the way is wide open for the aggrieved party to respond to anyone showing sympathy, appreciation and kindness. Should sexual contact between be severed, either party could turn elsewhere. Overlong separations between husband and wife could have the same effect.
Meaningful time spent together, and with the children, is absolutely essential. This gives a base and foundation and makes anyone think twice before launching into something that would deprive them of the beauty and harmony of a fulfilling, comforting and happy home.
For the pastor or Christian worked this is an exceedingly dangerous area. People love the have the minister in their homes. It enables then to chat together in an informal atmosphere and to reciprocate kindness to he one from whom they receive so much instruction and help.
The following remarks should not take the happy spontaneity out of a pleasant visit, nor should they be regarded as legalistic in any way. As friendly relationships develop, friendly gestures are exchanged and sometimes motherly or fatherly instincts are evident in kind and reciprocated pleasantries. Many happy remarks, gestures and touches are totally innocent and can be an encouragement to the recipient.
Care should be taken however, in the visitation programme of the Christian worker, for sometimes it is necessary to visit when the husband is not there. If possible take someone else with you. If not possible, be circumspect and discreet, not staying any longer than necessary. When invited to sit down try to avoid sitting on a settee which holds more than one person. Choose a chair is possible, which is separate from others. As soon as possible, open the Bible for instruction, so that should anyone come into the room, your intentions would be obvious. Should a coffee table be between you and the lady of the house, it would be all to the good. If you are alone it would be unwise to put your arm sympathetically around her shoulders, or hold her arm, or make any other sympathetic physical contact. Limit your conversation to the matter in hand and not to numerous time-consuming anecdotes and unrelated incidents. Keep the door of the room ajar.
This is the area where Christian workers are most vulnerable. Many of the principles mentioned above apply here as well. If possible ladies should counsel ladies and men should counsel men. This is to be strongly advised. At times this rule will have to be broken and men will have to counsel ladies and vice versa.
If the counselling is done in a church or hall it is helpful to place your Bible on the pew between the counselee and yourself. This prevents unnecessary proximity. It may seem foolish and unnecessary, but when one looks at the moral catastrophes all around, little precautions like this are sensible defences to avoid similar failures.
Don’t counsel someone from the opposite sex for long periods at a time. Ascertain the problem and arrange for them to see someone appropriate of their own sex. Don’t counsel someone of the opposite sex at length after the night meeting. If you have to do so, ask someone else to sit at the back of the church whilst you chat at the front. Don’t sit in the car together and talk about the problem, particularly at night. Take care lest any word or action be misinterpreted causing the counselee to suspect improper motives. Further counselling could lead to disaster if this were the case.
This is another area of special vulnerability. You are unknown and not accountable to anyone locally. Lonely flights, lonely journeys, lonely dinners, lonely rooms – and the scene is set for temptation. Some hotels have seductive surroundings often with romantic music and intriguing settings. Travel affords a particular area of temptation. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
An evangelist friend told how that a little while after being shown to his hotel room, a member of the hotel staff knocked on his door, charmingly introduced herself and told him that God had sent her to him for the night. He said that he did the only thing he could; he grabbed his case and fled, spending the night at another hotel.
RELATING (Pastor/Secretary relationship)
Of particular importance in Christian service is the place of the secretary in the local church or in the mission office. In some instances, the secretary stays on the mission compound or in the home of the missionary family and becomes an all-purpose helper in the advance of their Christian cause. They pray together, dream together, plan together. They see the work growing and are thrilled with the blessings and possibilities. They give themselves to the service of God and in this service, the relationship, which was one of good friendliness and mutual respect, may grow into something appropriate. There is nothing physical, so it is not regarded as dangerous or even suspicious. It is justified as unity of purpose and objective - all for the glory of God.
He is the only man she sees constantly and to whom she looks for guidance and instruction. She relates her work to his requirements and desires. Her life is being wound around his. She responds to his likes and dislikes and thinks about him a great deal of the time. A work dependency has grown into an emotional dependency.
She is only a part of his life, for he has a wife and family, but he is the centre of hers. He could never be more than a friend but her life is now so entwined in his that she is emotionally involved and bound up in an unhealthy and unfulfilling emotional dependency. This whole affair can be very painful, and sometimes the only way to handle it is for the secretary to find other lodgings if she had been staying with the couple, or to leave the work completely and join another branch of Christian service.
To prevent this build-up to unacceptable levels of dependency, the secretary should fill her life with interests other than those of the church or mission society. Let her join a choir, teach a Sunday School class, learn to play an instrument, interact with a circle of friends outside the confined group. She must broaden her interests and live her own life. This safeguards her, the family and word of the Lord, for once caught up in the trap of emotional dependence it may well take a long time to break free, and scars from such a frustration, futile and hurtful relationship may be carried for years.
There are many happy and profitable relationships in church offices but it is possible for the church secretary to be placed in a vulnerable position on some occasions. Should a potentially dangerous phase emerge, weekly programmes could be altered, or voluntary helpers could breeze in and neutralize the risk.
A pastor’s wife became ill, and later, because of misunderstandings and estrangements she and her husband grew apart. Although occupying the same house, they had virtually no physical contact. For years he had an excellent and irreproachable relationship with his highly efficient secretary who not only organized much of the church work, but also typed the books he wrote. The loneliness and sadness of his frustrated private life bore in upon him, and one fateful day, when particularly low in spirits, the tragedy occurred. After seventeen unblemished years of exemplary cooperation, suddenly in half an hour his life was in ruins. He was utterly devastated by sorrow, remorse and repentance. Eventually he divorced his wife, married his secretary and retied from active Christian service and after some years gained a measure of confidence again, sorrowing till he died for what he described as “the cloud that overshadows my life.” Had his relationship with his wife been happy and fulfilling, this tragedy would probably never have occurred.
There are times when we are more vulnerable than others. When our stable world is threatened, when the equilibrium of our lives is upset, when we are weary and worn, burdened and battered by the storms of life, when we suffer “the slings and arrows or outrageous fortune,” when we are crushed by failure, endure the strains and stresses of teenage tantrums and traumas at home, or experience new circumstances at work - we are vulnerable. A combination of these factors with perhaps a period of loneliness or disharmony at home could ease us into the comfort which an interested bystander could give, resulting in a gratifying but disastrous relationship.
Discouragement is one of the greatest pathways to temptation. Of course it is right and necessary to encourage but care must be taken and a strict vigilance observed so that the helping hand is not permanently taken.
Two church workers might be labouring together, one with more counselling ability than the other. People throng to A for help while B feels neglected and worthless. B could easily weep on a sympathetic shoulder with sad consequences.
Two preachers may be in nearby churches. The one with greater gifts draws people away from the other whose self-image receives a sickening blow. This could be lessened and healed by the comfort of a devoted deaconess or church worker who senses his need and encourages him warmly. Both preacher and deaconess are vulnerable and friendship’s bond could easily lead into forbidden territory.
A young dynamic pastor might be appointed who totally eclipses the older, faithful man, who now needs his wife to encourage him and assure him that he is still a useful member of Christ’s church. Comfort given at this vulnerable point in his life by someone else could upset the balance and end in disaster. A married man may not be making a success of his job. He is not being appreciated and feels hurt and defeated. If someone in the office were to show him that eh really has got what it takes, that he can rise to meet the challenge and lift his head again, the caring compliments could restore self-esteem and forge a new bond which could lead to interdependence and strong temptation.
The end of a relationship is another moment of vulnerability. Someone is needed to help you through the trauma. Choose your friend well. Be careful that you don’t become embroiled with a married person and end up worse that at the beginning. A lady had a loving relationship with her husband. Together they helped a mutual friend through the trauma of her divorce. The lady had to leave her husband and two teenage children for a family reunion for two weeks. When she returned she found that he had moved out and was living with another woman. The shock caused their son to fail his final examinations and as a result, abandon the expected university career. Another shattered family.
Don’t deceive yourself in to thinking that you are strong and do not need warm companionship. You may feel that your church work and spiritual activities are so fulfilling that you can make it on your own. Loneliness, however is a force to be reckoned with. You need others, but take care that this need is not filled by someone who may easily slip in and lead you further than you want to go. The road back is very painful.
So many are under stress today – stresses of all kinds. To some, house moving is a traumatic experience. There are tensions when finances are low, when teenagers assert their rights – selfishly, lazily and untidily. And oh, the music and its decibels, the friends and their habits! Then there is the weariness brought on by overwork and the pressures of life – the utter weariness of body and spirit. Stress and weariness must be alleviated somehow – perhaps by an evening out with someone who understands. The sympathy and friendship shown at such a time must be closely guarded. Remember, in weakness and tensions you are vulnerable!
Suddenly at 48 the dreams you had are seen to be unrealizable. They will not be fulfilled. Youth has fled away. A mid-life crisis develops. The woman sees the lines on her face, the rounding form. The man sees his balding head and knows that the bright prospects of life have slipped away and are but stark impossibilities. There is a need – a need which can be met by someone who would take time and patience to sit and talk – and then?!
Success is another state which leads to immorality. Flushed with victory, acceptance, the heady moments of glory, it is easy to embrace, to laugh together with others, to talk enthusiastically. Pride rears its head: “It could never happen to me – just look how the Lord has blessed me.” Just at that crucial point of victory it can happen! Pride comes before a fall.
Sometimes interest in others becomes a two-edged sword. When the man shows interest in other women, his wife may be driven by jealousy and sheer devilment to show him that two can play at that game. She casts her eyes in the direction of another and soon they are all caught up in the ghastly whirlpool of turmoil and tragedy.
How to Escape – Practically
When there is a particular chemistry between you and an unavailable person, recognize it. Take note of the kind of person with whom you like to keep company and be forewarned that the enjoyable chatter and fun is not allowed to extend beyond the acceptable. We just ‘click’ with some people and it is natural to extend special friendship to them and to spend more time with them, as we recognize their qualities and appreciate their worth.
Remember too, that there are not only physical attractions, but those of character, of wisdom, of compassion, of spirituality. You can easily be caught up in a desire to be better instructed, or to receive or give spiritual help to the person. You can help them through their problems, real or imaginary and they appreciate your help, but when interest quickens there are always more problems to solve and more advice to give. There are dangers long before the physical is ever reached. Change your behaviour patterns if you sense the danger signals. If it is getting too strong, the only solution may be a geographical change to prevent tragedy. Withdraw and leave the other party in the hands of the Lord. Keep a watch on the vulnerable area of life’s relationships.
When there is affinity of personality and interest, there is need for vigilance. Christians are particularly vulnerable because their interest is the Bible and the Lord. They help one another to grow in grace, they pray together, they work together. They are delegated to various projects, such as knocking on doors, singing, testifying or speaking at meetings together. A married man may give a ride to an unmarried girl en route to the church or to a delegated meeting and may take her home again. Repeated journeys of this nature and the joy of seeing blessing on their work together may result in unnoticed familiarity which may well lead to tragedy. It is far better to take a bus, or get a left with someone else to prevent dangerous developments. If you have to be one of the last at the church, see that you are not there alone with someone who is unavailable. Avoid the first developments of a possible link.
The danger is that there are so many levels of communication that any of us could unknowingly be in the beginning stages of an improper relationship. There is always the possibility that it could happen to you;. It could happen to me. The earlier the danger signals can be detected, the better. Don’t be exclusive in your attentions. Show the same friendliness and appreciation to all. Whilst comments on a broach or smart attractive clothing may be fitting, yet to extend those comments to the person’s beauty or personal qualities is a dangerous advance. It may well set the bells ringing and trigger all sorts of fantasies. She in turn could be flattered that you could be as intelligent and discerning as to appreciate her excellent qualities and could engineer circumstances to be with you again. A turn of events is set in motion which could end in disaster. Should you sense that it is going too far, step back straight away out of harm’s way.
Be careful about touching. Sometimes a touch means nothing at all. Sometimes, at a time of grief and bereavement for instance, it may be right and necessary, but sometimes, especially if it is too long, it can be fire. It can spark off wild imaginations and emotions. Far better to avoid any physical contact, especially if there is ‘chemistry’. Holding or embracing could be deemed provocative, and this is unfair, dishonest and ungodly.
Should you feel an attraction to an unavailable person, whatever you do, don’t tell them! If you do, the relationship is placed immediately under a terrible strain. Healthy good relations are jeopardized. What is the informed person to do? Tell their spouse? What becomes of the relationship with that couple? Will they keep quiet? Will the church soon know? Will the people soon begin to avoid you as a potential threat to marriages?
Some people, particularly those who have been married and are no longer so, have experienced married love and miss it intensely. Singles will have love-hunger in varying degrees on intensity. Some are famished for love and will respond emotionally to just a look or a word, given perhaps unintentionally but taken seriously. An apparent indication of interest could lead to passionate and improper thoughts and great vulnerability. A marriage and a whole future can unfortunately be imaginatively built on a remark thoughtlessly give, which if not followed through may result in intense censure and bitterness. Of course you can say different things to different people. Remarks made to one person would have no effect whatever, but to another, would set off a blazing trail of damaging imaginations and futile hopes.
Inappropriate thoughts must be crucified. Fantasies about the unavailable person must be completely removed. They are not fitting, proper, nor right. In fact they are sin. We have a place of cleansing, of purity, of repair, of victory. It is Calvary. Here sin is dealt with and here victory over persistent wrong thoughts may be attained. “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7) This verb is in the present tense. The blood of Jesus must be exercised. Discipline must also be strictly applied. “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every though to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor 10:5) Mortify the flesh. Refuse to allow your thoughts to dwell on forbidden ground so you are not defiled and led on to emotional dependence and involvement. Forbidden thoughts can be expelled by consciously thrusting pure thoughts into our minds. (Phil 4:7 – 8)
Every woman knows how to withdraw with subtlety from threatening situations. There is the turn of the head, the clever break from engrossing conversations, the backward step, the body language, which without works and without hurt terminates the advancing communication of hearts. This needs to be put to good use.
Sometimes when there is ‘chemistry’ between two folk, one of whom is married, it helps to show interest in the spouse, and involve him or her in thoughts and plans. This normalises behaviour, relieves suspicion, restores confidence and establishes friendships.
The man needs to appreciate his wife. He needs to gratefully voice his appreciation to her for all her tiresome labour behind the scenes. He needs to express pleasure at her tasty food, choice of clothes, daily choices. This is her world and she needs to know that you appreciate her there. She appreciates a touch, a look, a compliment. This is entirely scriptural, for of the virtuous woman we read, “her husband…praiseth her.” (Prov 31:28) He does not give appreciation in silence; he gives vocal expression to his appreciation! If you don’t tell her how well she looks, someone else will. She would much rather have the man she loves breathe his appreciation to her. To him she can respond with warmth and joy, strengthening the bond between them.
Men and women need to affirm their love to one another vocally. They frequently need to say it to one another. The precious words, ‘I love you’ should be spoken throughout life, and that love needs to be fostered and fanned. They need to enjoy each other and must never lose the freshness and wonder of their relationship. It is sensed in so many little ways: the glance across a crowded room, the little squeeze of the hand or arm, the happy welcome home, the meaningful courtesies and helpful little actions, the forethought and kindness, the unexpected little gift. Make time for one another, however busy the programme. Keep the home fires burning – it pays off. Nurture love and fan it into flame.
Be honest with one another. A loyal and loving wife can stand behind her husband in the ministry and rejoice in his successes and abilities. But without his suspecting it, she could be consumed by jealousy when she hears the ladies say that he is so understanding and sensitive, so approachable and helpful. She could bottle up her feelings and whisper encouragingly to him that there is not a jealous bone in her body, but the entire time feel totally unfulfilled and inadequate in a partnership where he is the dominant figure, and where she is not always the recipient of his understanding. She might feel unappreciated and unacknowledged even though they spend time together/ Why do those women who have problems always seem to gain his attention? Frustration with her lot may build up and eventually burst out in a serious rupture of relationships ending in the divorce courts. If only she had spoken openly and honestly all along the way he could have been more circumspect and this could have been prevented.
How to Escape – Spiritually
Restore Spiritual Intimacy
Two cyclists journeyed from one town to another and were asked at their destination whether they had seen a particularly large and impressive building en route. No, why they hadn’t. “But you couldn’t miss it!” They had. The reason? They were lovers. They had eyes for nothing but each other and the road’s essentials. So we are to meet temptation with an occupied heart. However impressive the distractions on the journey of life, we are to be engrossed in fellowship with our heavenly Lover. There must be no openings where side issues can penetrate. There must be no trailing affections, no looking over the shoulder with longing glances, no deviation from Him who has captured our hearts. Life must be filled with Christ. He must dominate the horizon. Is He not the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, the Fairest of Ten Thousand? Did He not ravish your heart? He is the sweet Bridegroom of heaven whose beauty pales all else into insignificance and whose revelation to the heart eclipses all the attractions of the flesh and the pleasures of sin – is He not worthy to be loved and obeyed?
How is it possible that you are sliding into this subtle, sensuous trap? How is it possible that you are being drawn in to forbidden territory that your heart is straying from your God-given spouse? Shall I tell you? You have lost sight of Jesus!
Those times of intimate fellowship with Him where He filled your soul with glory, have somehow faded away. Your quiet times are the first to lose their vitality and meaning. You may still be reading your Bible and praying, but the intimacy of communion, the humbling, breaking revelation of God to the heart, the tears, the passion for Him and His glory which flows from such an encounter and communion, is dying. Your intimate life with God has become stale and dry. Oh, you can still preach, sing with gusto, and pray with a flow of language to which you have been accustomed and which deceives everyone into thinking that you are spiritually on the crest of the wave. No-one would know about the fractured relationship except you and God. But there where no-one sees, is spiritual drought. When last was your heart melted at the sight of the Saviour? When Last did you weep in His presence? When last were you captivated by His love? When last did you pledge your allegiance to Him, passionately, totally, irrevocably? The thing above all else that keeps us from straying is an intensely intimate encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. To Him you are totally committed and finally accountable. Former experiences with God will not do. The relationship must be intimate, passionate, and immediate.
Eternal Light, Eternal Light,
How pure a soul must be
When placed within its searching sight
It shrinks not but with calm delight
Can live and look on Thee. Binney
Standing in His holy presence, consumed by His all-pervading love, utterly yielded to His perfect will, wholly willing to obey His slightest suggestion, here revulsion to anything other than His purity is born, here safety from unholy intrusion is secured, here passion for His holiness and glory is kindled, here direction and purpose in life is imparted, here aspirations and longings for Christ-likeness are quickened, here stability and contentment in the home is founded.
This intimate encounter works its way through into all of life. If we are true to Jesus, we will be true to each other. We will know that when temptation knocks, it is not only the immediate family which will suffer, but we will be sinning against Him if we give in. The closer we are to Him therefore, the stronger is the bond which binds us to each other, and the more secure we rest in our relationship together.
Recognize Sexual Attraction
Perhaps it is only at the very beginning stages where the possibilities of anything going wrong seem fanciful and remote. Perhaps it has got to the stage where the brakes need to be applied; perhaps it’s getting out of hand. The first thing is to admit to the possibilities of disaster, and to acknowledge the condition, Rationalization must end. Without the recognition, ‘I must be careful’; or ‘I have a problem’; or ‘I am doing wrong’, no remedy can be applied, for no malady is acknowledged.
Repent with Sincere Determination
Perhaps the heart of the gospel message can be found in Acts 20:21 “Repentance towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Repentance is paramount. Repentance is not merely being sorry for our sin, but being sorry enough to quite. Do you really want to? Repentance is a turning around, a change of course, a reversal of conduct. An acknowledgement must be made, and a decision must be taken. Action is needed to end the relationship, and this must be followed through. Different behaviour patterns may need to be adopted. Place limits upon your freedom and redirect your normal living patterns.
Forsake in Sheer Obedience
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov 28:13)”Let the wicked forsake his way…and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him.” (Is 55:7) Action is not based on feelings but on obedience. You may not want to make the break. It may be painful to do so, it may be misunderstood, but if it is right to do so it must be done. You must obey God determinedly, ruthlessly – cold turkey! You are accountable to God not to the other person. Don’t ‘phone and put the receiver down when the other person ‘phones. Be radical; be drastic. Don’t start strongly and falter quickly. Accept the pain as part of the price of disobedience. You are not conforming to some man-made rule, you are obeying God-given directives and principles. Rules won’t hold you but God will. To Him you are accountable.
Renew Mental Images
“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom 12:2) From every angle the mind is under attack, for there is a battle for the mind today. We live much of our lives in our minds. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7) You are not what you think you are, but what you think – you are!
Negatively, we must not feed our minds with vivid memories and fantastic daydreams of the unavailable person. They but inflame desire, weaken resolve, dim the objective and could well reverse the decision. “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor 10:5)
Positively we must renew our minds with material that will transform us. From our thoughts spring actions, so our thoughts must lead us to purity of heart and life. Paul said, “whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report…think on these things.” (Phil 4:8) He urges, “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:5) The psalmist cries, “Let…the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord…” (Ps 19:14) Godly living flows from godly thinking, and godly thinking comes from a vital, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It all hinges on that living contact!
Trust for Delivering Mercies
Faith is born in repentance. “Ye repented not afterward that ye might believe” (Matt 21:32) If the repentance is real, faith can take root. Faith for what?
Surely if the relationship is seen to be wrong, it must be dissolved, and because this is painful and complicated issue, you need the help of the Lord to disentangle you from its entwining stranglehold. Disobedience has brought pain and discomfort, guilt and dismay, hurt and grief. That’s the price. Not only is there sorrow for the hurt caused to the other party, but you have sinned against God. David said, “Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned” (Ps 51:4) That’s where the sorrow lies.
Firstly, therefore, it is faith for forgiveness and cleansing. To enjoy the smile of the Lord again we need to know the blessedness of forgiveness and joy of restoration. We need to know that we are clean. There is power in the precious blood of Christ to remove the last vestige of sin and condemnation. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9) As we trust, our sins are forgiven, our hearts are cleansed, our consciences are relieved our lives are realigned, Peace returns at last. “My peace I give unto you,” said Jesus (John 14:27)
This leads to faith for deliverance. You need to know deliverance from the entanglements and intrigues of the power which has subtly held you in its sensuous grip, deliverance from sexually manipulative behaviour, from inappropriate remarks and suggestive dress and mannerisms. You need deliverance. “Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler…” (Ps 91:3) “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8) “With God all things are possible”(Matt 19:26). Let’s trust Him for full deliverance!
Now of course, we need faith for continuance. “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor 10:13) “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom…” (II Tim 4:18) “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 24) “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (II Tim 1:12) Able to keep! Let us take Him at His Word! He says that He will make a way to escape, that He is able to deliver, that He is able to preserve us, that He is able to keep us. He has promised these things. Can we believe that He will keep His promises if we dare trust Him?