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Pastors Wouldn’t Have Affairs if They Did This

3. Allow temptation to guide you to the gospel.

Every temptation is an indicator that something is off. When a pastor is tempted to break the bonds of marriage, the temptation can actually serve as a helpful starting point for discerning what is out of alignment with the pastor’s life.

There are two responses to temptation: you give in to the temptation or you can treat the temptation like a warning indicator and investigate what problem it is signaling. With the discernment of the Spirit, you can trace the temptation to the real issue and find solution in the good news of Jesus Christ.

4. Back up your behaviors with character.

Too much marriage-saving advice hinges on surface behaviors.

For instance, it’s well known that Billy Graham would not enter a hotel room without it first being checked out by a colleague. His behavior ensured no hint of impropriety could occur.

That’s an admirable behavior. And while we are wise to imitate the wise behaviors of others, it’s also important to back up those behaviors with gospel-centered character.

It’s easy to change behaviors; they are on the surface and are subject to whims and changing contexts. But character is who we are, and from our character flows what we do.

Don’t ignore behaviors, but make sure you are not using the right behaviors to paper over a flawed and rotting character.

5. Nurture a gospel-centered character.

It’s important to have honest conversations with yourself and with God about your temptations, vulnerabilities and longings. An affair doesn’t just happen, it is fruit born from seeds of an unmet need, an improper longing and/or an attempt to escape some sort of pain.

Pastors have affairs because they feel lonely, stressed, tired, unappreciated, unfulfilled and the list goes on. Like any sin, infidelity is the rebellious attempt to be made whole via unwholesome means.

To nurture a gospel-centered character, we need to trace back the temptation to its seed, then take that need to the cross of Christ. Only in the gospel can our deepest needs be met. When our deepest needs are met, our identity is found in Christ, our worth is secured through the cross, and our future finds sanctuary in the promises of the Father; then we have a character that is gospel-centered instead of self-centered.