The “do nots” clearly have no end. But here are seven “dos” which a minister will want to observe to keep the enemy at bay …
1. When complimented inappropriately, laugh it off and change the subject.
“Oooh, pastor, you look so good today.”
“Mmmm, preacher, I like the way that suit looks on you.”
“Have you been working out, Brother Al? You’re looking good.”
The insecure pastor soaks this stuff up like a sponge. But you are not insecure. “You are complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10).
Do not acknowledge the compliment. It will only encourage her.
Laugh briefly, then ask about her family or something—anything!—to change the subject.
2. Anticipate situations that may arise during the day and plan appropriately.
That is, if you know a woman is coming for counseling, make sure your secretary or another minister is just outside the door. Pray always the Lord will guard you and give you wisdom about these things.
3. When you are close to some woman other than your wife, and you begin to sense all the signs of attraction—your temperature rising, your blood pressure elevating—walk away quickly.
Make up an excuse, even if it’s only that, “I just remembered something; I’ll be right back.”
Then, get to your office or pretend to make a phone call and talk to the Lord. Ask for His divine protection.
Just because your chemistry with that person is strong does not make it right. As a mature follower of Jesus Christ, you are beyond running your life by your feelings. (You are, aren’t you?)
4. Center your love, your energies, your everything on the Lord and your wife.
(The Lord does not mind being lumped together with her. He planned it that way. See Ephesians 5:25ff.)
The biggest safeguard against sexual transgressions in the lives of ministers is a good relationship with one’s spouse.
After numerous cautions against sexual sin, the writer of Proverbs counseled his son, “Drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well” (Proverbs 5:15). In the margin of my Bible, I’ve written: “Focus on your wife, son!”
Read on past verse 15 and he gets more explicit that that, with verse 19 being one you probably won’t read in church, but it definitely communicates!
5. Have an accountability partner or a mentor.
If you are truly wise, you will have someone—usually an older, mature minister—to whom you can say anything. Such a veteran pastor has seen it all, has the scars to prove it, and has come up a winner.
(The one thing you do not want in such a mentor is someone who has never suffered! Spurgeon said, “God gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”)
Once you find such a friend, you must meet with him frequently enough to be comfortable in speaking what’s on your mind. He must be a man of prayer who will pray with you and for you later. There is no way to overemphasize this.
6. A healthy fear of the Lord is a good thing.
One pastor’s wife said of her husband, “I don’t have to worry about Frank straying. He’s too afraid of God.” He laughed and said, “You’ve got that right!”
Someone asked Andrew Murray the greatest thought that had ever occupied his mind.
He answered, “My accountability to God.” Indeed. It’s enough to strike terror into our hearts and to drive us to repentance and submission. “Knowing the fear of the Lord,” Paul said, “we persuade men” (II Corinthians 5:11).
That said, we also rejoice that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Nevertheless, even the saved will give account for what they have done in this life. God help us to be found faithful.
7. Encourage younger ministers to be faithful.
If you’ve been in the Lord’s work as long as a decade, you are a veteran compared to those just leaving seminary. You have a lot to offer them.
Reach out to the new ministers coming to churches in your area. Take them to lunch. Then, after the first session, both of you bring your wives. The ministry can be a lonely profession.
No church member understands the stresses you and your family have to endure. That’s why no one ministers to pastors better than other ministers.
The goal is to be faithful. Do this and you will find a strength and courage beyond your own. “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (I John 3:21). Yes, and confidence before men too.
Toward the end of His ministry, our Lord told the disciples, “The prince of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me” (John 14:30). I like that.
Readers may recall I told recently of meeting an old couple in a rural Alabama cafe. The man was in his 90s and the woman wasn’t all that far behind. They had been married four years, I think, and were clearly still in love. With a twinkle in his eye, the old gentleman said, “I have iron in my blood and she has a magnetic personality.”
When the devil waves his magnet over us, let there be nothing inside us that responds to his enticements. May we say, “He has nothing in me.”
And nothing “on” me.