Editor’s Note: This article is intended to help pastors and leaders live and act wisely in their relationships with the opposite sex. We also know that this post only covers the male segment of ministry leaders. We hope to run an additional article in the future from a woman’s perspective. Also, to balance this article out, you might want to read 7 Sexual Lines No Pastor Should Cross.
“For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech” (Proverbs 4:3).
Before there was a folk singer by that name, James Taylor was a professor of preaching. This veteran teacher of preachers held forth in classrooms at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for many years. One day, in a room filled with young preacher boys, Dr. Taylor cautioned us about the temptations we would be facing.
“The day will come when a woman will sit in your office and proposition you. She will make herself available to you sexually. If your marriage is in trouble or if you’re not up-to-date in your relationship with your Lord, you could get in big trouble fast.”
I raised my hand. “Dr. Taylor,” I said, “do you really believe that every one of us in this room will face this?” My mind was incapable of imagining a scenario in which a woman—any woman—would sit in a pastor’s office and try to seduce him.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “Even you, McKeever.”
That got a laugh.
I lived to see that day. (Fifteen years after she sat in my office making herself available to the young preacher, while preaching in another state, I spotted that woman and her husband—the same husband whose antics had given her cause to seek my counsel originally—in the congregation. I was thankful I had gotten this thing right in my office that day.)
The writer of Proverbs tried to do the same thing Dr. Taylor did for us in seminary that day: prepare the young lad for what he would be facing down the road.
“My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding;
That you may observe discretion, and your lips may reserve knowledge.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it” (Proverbs 4:1-6).
The remedy for this—in a sense, the armor which protects one from such a vamp—the writer goes on to say, is to “drink water from your own cistern” (4:15). He gets rather explicit in his counsel to a young husband to satisfy himself intimately with his wife and with no one else.
Many a man of God has sabotaged his own ministry by sexual sin.
They’re all through scripture. We think of the sons of Eli, the high priest. “The sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord” (I Samuel 2:12). “They lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (2:22). The Lord had no patience with such antics and put them out of business quickly (4:11).