Sexual Purity & The Church by Jeff O'Donnell
Paul is an associate pastor of a thriving main line denominational church. He's firmly committed to the active ministry he has in the various divisions of his local congregation. And is often called upon to provide leadership to its many functions. One day as it so often happens, out of curiosity, he types in a provocative word in his office computer's search engine and is instantly transported to the dark realm of fantasy & sexual immorality. Three months later he's still looking: But this time, the Holy Spirit grabs hold of him & says: "Paul! What are your doing? You're a pastor!"
Paul is not alone. Focus on the Family says one out of seven pastors who call its toll-free help line say they are struggling with sexual sin. Pastor Ted Roberts who wrote the book "Pure Desire" knows what its like. Since overcoming his own struggle he has spoken to thousands of people about similar problems, and has reached an inescapable conclusion: "Hell is using sexual sin to tear the Church apart!"
Lately, men can't turn a street corner, flip on a television, or even worse, attend a Sunday church service without running into a sensually dressed woman. Just drive down any city road and see how many sexually related ads you see. Madison avenue knows that sex sells. And in our much materialistic society it screams: Buy, Buy, Buy!
As adolescents, maybe some of us had stashed a playboy or penthouse magazine in the local woods or hidden under our bed. Seeds of sexual bondage were set up years before we ever realized that we are now struggling against one tough situation. We struggle, grit our teeth and battle this sin that seems so overwhelming and wonder how many times the Lord can forgive us for the same sin over and over again. Somehow it seems that God is so distant, and the guilt and shame of leading a secret sinful life cripples our intimacy with the real lover of our soul.
Just like a cancer spreading throughout the body, sexual sin is progressively eating away at the holiness of today's church. Many more Christian men than we realize are regularly visiting sexual explicit websites, while others are involved in extra-marital affairs and an immoral fantasy life. A recent survey of Promise Keepers found that 65% of Christian men polled by them reported regular struggles with pornography. The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families provides us with an insight into how big the problem of Christians and the internet may be. The Coalition surveyed students at five Christian colleges. Sixty-eight percent of the male students said that they had intentionally looked for sexual content on the internet - more than two thirds of them!
Seattle Pacific University, another Christian college examined all the web sites accessed by its students during a three week period. One in five of all campus computers had been used to view sex sites. Officials then proceeded to install blocking software to keep students from viewing pornography. But technology alone will not solve the problem: For there's no software filter for a wayward heart.
So many are in church every week but really in a sense 'out there" on their own in their Christian life. There's such a need to connect. To share both struggles and victories. The enemy of our souls main objective in the life of the believer is to rob their intimacy with the Lord. Sexual sin, to whatever degree, is one of satan's strongest weapons. If he can get us off in the sidelines of sin, he takes our intimacy and renders us ineffective in our walk.
For the one who is struggling with sexual sin, and sincerely desires to be free, the first step is to step up to the plate and admit their sin first to God, themselves and then to a trusted friend or pastor. This is not any easy thing to do. But it is vitally important, as the confession will start the process of breaking the grip this dangerous bondage has in their life.
The next step is to get in a group where real biblical accountability and holding one another up in prayer will strengthen and encourage them in the Spirit of the Lord, empowering one to lay aside the sin which has entangled them. (Hebrews 12:1-4) So often its a process; and one not without its fair share of trials. But as we learn to lay aside the sin that has entangled us, and walk in the Spirit, we can truly have VICTORY IN JESUS!
Jeff O'Donnell coordinates the Maintaining Purity Men's Support Group
& is available to speak to men's groups.
Calvary Temple 1111 Preakness Avenue Wayne NJ 07470 (973) 694-2938
Jeff O'Donnell (973)265-4358