Take Heed Lest You Fall.

 I rarely comment on whatever is currently in our national news cycle. I get annoyed with the already constant amount of coverage and rarely find it necessary to add to it. I'm not a gifted cultural commentator, I will leave that to other brothers and sisters who are much more experienced and equipped. (For example: Al Mohler's The Briefing, Joe Carter, and the ERLC) But we are in such a unique cultural moment in our country in regards to how incredibly successful men in politics, the mainstream media and entertainment are being tossed out like Christmas trees after New Year's Day. It is a time of reckoning like we haven't seen before. We can't miss the connections to Biblical truth since morality is at the center of all of these stories. Morality that has been overlooked for far too long. 

I'm not going to list the names of those who have been accused or who have had to resign or were fired for their immoral behavior. I'm not going to link to any of the stories related to this, you can go find them for yourselves if you haven't already. Instead we have been given an opportunity to remind ourselves to, "take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10:12) So here are some self-examining questions to help us to "take heed" or guard ourselves from similar moral failures.

  1. Are you born again?   Has your life been transformed by your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior you need from sin and the Lord you need to rule over your life? If you have saving faith in Christ then you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, convicting you of sin and leading you in a life of repentance and faith. If you do not have the Spirit, then you do not have the power you need to overcome temptation. Repent of your sin, take hold of Christ Jesus by faith and follow Him. (Acts 2:22-41)
  2. Are you guarding your heart?  What all of the men we have heard about who have fallen because of their misbehavior toward women  had in common was that they were immensely successful and nationally popular. People wanted to be like them. They had power and influence over others. Maybe you and I are nowhere near these men in that regard. Yet we have more in common with them then you might think. We all have depraved hearts which are inclined towards pride and self-reliance. I think it's accurate to say these men did what they did because they believed they could get away with it. Our hearts often try to convince us in similar ways. Our hearts can far too quickly lead us away from purity and righteousness. We must guard them from temptation and from being so easily deceived. 
  3. Are you in the Word regularly? One of the primary ways to guard our hearts is to make sure we are being influenced and exhorted by God's Word as a daily practice.  Our hearts are constantly being shaped and influenced by the world we live in. The spirit of the age consistently proclaims to our sinful flesh, "Indulge! It's good for you! You deserve it!" We desperately need to challenge our hearts and our desires with Truth. We need to be taught by Christ. We need to be exhorted by Christ. We need to have our hearts molded and shaped by Christ's influence over that of the world. If we are not opening up our Bibles and spending a concentrated amount of time listening to Christ speak to our hearts each day then we will instead be shaped and influenced by the spirit of the age who only seeks our destruction.
  4. Do you have faithful Christian brothers speaking into your life?  Another way to say this is, are you a member of a faithful church? Are you seeking the help and accountability from other believers who love Jesus and love you or are you isolating yourself and trying to be a lone ranger? You need to be in a church, and place yourself under the spiritual care of a pastor and elders. You need to be regularly hearing the preaching of the Word of God to challenge your flesh and feed your soul. You need to have other believers exhorting you daily so that you may not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).
  5. Are you using wisdom in your relationships with women?   It wasn't that long ago when the mainstream media of our nation was in an uproar over Vice-President Mike Pence's personal policy to not have lunch alone with a woman other than his wife. This policy has been known in evangelical Christian circles for some time as the "Billy Graham rule." The well-known evangelist made this policy along with his co-laborers to protect themselves from temptation and from even having an appearance of impropriety. Now it seems if only the men who have lost their careers and their reputations because of sexual impropriety would have disciplined themselves in similar ways to Mike Pence then they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble. The bottom line is we need to be wise in our relationships with women who are not our wives. I have personally known far too many men who have gotten themselves into trouble because of having had to travel either alone or with a female co-worker. It is not good for man to be alone. If you must travel for work, take someone with you if that is possible. Make sure your relationships with women in your work place are pure and above reproach. Crude jokes and inappropriate personal messages through email or texting must never be done. Being foolish in your relationships with women other than your wife will almost always lead to trouble. It's much better to be wise, which of course means living in the fear of the Lord.
  6. Are you strengthening your own marriage?  Or if you are not married, are you pursuing a wife or are you leading women on? As God's Word says in 1 Corinthians 7:9, "if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion."  Husbands who are happily married, rejoicing in the wife of their youth are far less likely to pursue relationships with other women. There is great wisdom in this saying from Proverbs 5, "Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. ... rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love." 
This is not an exhaustive list of ways to avoid falling into moral laxity and marital unfaithfulness but I do believe they are all helpful if taken seriously. You will find much more help in God's Word if you take time each day to read, trust and apply it (point #3). Brothers, may we use this cultural moment to take heed, lest we fall.