As I was scrolling through Facebook the other day, I was shocked at what I saw—another Pastor intertwined in a web of immorality and shame for living a secret lifestyle. It hit closer to home because I knew this pastor. As I read the news article, I was stunned at the allegations and the reality of the fallout that this reprehensible sin would have on his family and church. I immediately walked into the other room, knelt with my wife and prayed for grace and mercy upon our lives, marriage and ministry. I was left with this thought: no amount of celebrity, growth, or relevance is worth your integrity.
I am thankful that early on in my walk with Christ, my pastor repeatedly taught about being a man of integrity. He once told the story of a business man who had success, a beautiful wife, kids, and a great name in the community. Yet, this same man was willing to gamble his integrity away in an adulterous relationship with his secretary. I will never forget my pastor’s words: “Is it worth it? Is it worth loosing everything you have for a fleeting moment of pleasure? Brothers, the devil will tell you that the grass is greener on the other side, but it is a lie. You’re better off grazing where the Lord has you.”
Proverbs 5:8 warns not to go down the path of the immoral woman: “Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house. Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others and your years to someone cruel.” Walking down the broad path of sexual immorality is extremely costly. In fact, Proverbs 5 goes on to tell us that a life down this path will lead to:
- loss of honor
- loss of all you have achieved
- strangers receiving your wealth
- someone else enjoying the fruit of your labor
- anguish and groaning in your body
The question we must ask ourselves is, “Have I decided that my moral integrity is not for sale?” Here are some things I have gleaned from other men of God that have decided not to sell their moral integrity.
Keep near the cross.
1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness.” As we remember afresh what Christ has done for us, this causes us to desire to live for His glory and not our own. Keeping near the cross daily means dying to our desires, picking up our own cross, and following Him. It is also a trust that says He is enough. It is hard to fall when you’re daily on your knees before the Savior, seeking His will, and following with joy.
Keep no secrets from your wife.
If you are wondering if you married the right woman, look across the room, lock eyes with your wife and tell yourself “yes!” Since you married the right woman, there is no reason to keep secrets from her.
Can your wife access your phone right now and not be surprised at what she finds? What about your laptop or work computer? My wife knows my daily schedule and whereabouts. In fact, she doesn’t ask for this, I offer it up to her. We should desire to be an open book for our spouses and nothing should catch her by surprise.
Stay accountable in the body.
I am thankful for several close brothers that I can call on to speak into my life or call out sin if they see it. Sadly, many don’t have these types of relationships in life and, instead, go at it alone. Proverbs tells us that iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Do you need some sharpening? Look for some brothers that can serve in this capacity of your life.
Know your own weaknesses.
1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us, “So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.” We are not invincible or impervious to the temptation that could lead to sin. We must be vigilant and sober minded in our daily walk. When I hear of a pastor in moral failure, my heart sinks. The reality is I am nothing without the grace of God upon which I stand and rely.
What are some steps you have taken to guard your moral integrity?