My husband told me today of a pastor friend/acquaintance of his that had to step down from his position of senior pastor this week due to infidelity. That's such tough news to hear. It's so easy for any of us to judge a person in that position. Yes, he is a pastor and is held to a "higher standard" so to speak, so everyone expects more of him. Yet he is just a man....just human....and is vulnerable to the same temptations as any other person, maybe even more so. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the church and destroy it's leader and he's working overtime to make that happen. It all comes down to being on your guard, to being diligent about being in the Word and to being 100% accountable to those close to you.
My husband and I have talked about these matters through the years, and yes, there are times you can be lulled into thinking it could never happen to you, and that's exactly when the enemy strikes....when you've let yourself think you are untouchable. Though I don't know them personally, my heart breaks today for this family. I can only imagine the grief and heartache they are experiencing. I know God forgives and makes all things new, but their lives will never be the same again. I pray for them that God would hold them tightly down this dark road and that they would come out so much stronger on the other end.
I was reminded today of a devotion I read last week that I thought I'd share here. It was entitled "How to defeat your giant." Maybe it will encourage you whether you are dealing with addictions, weight issues, are struggling with what you watch or listen to, what company you keep, or sexual temptations. All of these are giants that we cannot overcome ourselves.
1. You're not unique: Your temptations "are no different from what others experience" (1 Cor. 10:13). Our giants are usually little sins we overlook and indulge until they assume a life of their own and come back to haunt us.
2. You can't do it alone: Your giant will defeat you anytime you tackle him in your own strength. You need divine help to overcome old habit and establish new behaviors. David told Goliath, "This is the Lord's battle and he will give you to us" (1 Sam. 17:47)
3. You must confront your giant head on: Don't run away, don't try to negotiate, don't compromise and don't excuse. The Bible says: "As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran...to meet him." (1 Sam. 17:48) Force your giant into the light and don't let him back into your life. Establish boundaries and make yourself accountable. Stay out of the wrong company. Above all, don't look at God in the light of your giant, look at your giant in the light of God.
What this looks like for me: I have to understand I am not alone and that there are others going through the same things I am. I can't pretend I'm "special" and that this sin is okay because I am the only one ever affected by it. I have to understand that only God can help me overcome it. That's right, Oprah can't fix it, neither can the next self help book. Only God can help me lay aside old habits and replace them with ones that reflect His word. And I can't excuse those little temptations. This is kind of like believing a little white lie is not really a lie. When we do that, we allow our selves to move to the next level of sin! When we hold these sins and temptations in the light of God's word, we see them for what they really are. I have to set clear boundaries for myself BEFORE I am in the middle of a tempting situation. I can't wait until I'm smack in the middle of it to start thinking about this. And I have to be accountable, first to God, then my husband, then those friends I've surrounded myself with whom I can trust to speak truth into my life. We can't do it on our own, but with God's help, we can defeat our giants!