It seems like almost every other day the news reports a story of a pastor that has fallen into sexual sin. One of the sad parts about it is that these aren’t new ministers or leaders that have been in ministry for a short time. These are men who have had decades to refine and strengthen themselves against the vices of the flesh.
We may ask ourselves how does this happen and many stop putting faith in spiritual leaders and the church. I know for me, even as a leader, I wonder how these great ministries can be built off the back of people with such vulnerabilities. I believe that Apostle Paul put it best when he said he had to put down his flesh daily. While this was a power filled, Holy Spirit directed man, he still wrestled constantly with the flesh. For this we can say that no matter how long a person has been in ministry, no matter how seasoned they are, or no matter how many teachings and books are written on the matter; mankind will always be vulnerable to the flesh.
While mankind stays vulnerable to the flesh in this life time, it is not the vulnerability that displeases God. It is rather the submission to the vulnerability that God despises. The bible is clear that Jesus was tempted in every way imaginable, but he did not sin. Your vulnerability vs. acting on vulnerability is the difference between spiritual life and spiritual death. I have heard many say to God, “remove this temptation from me”, not understanding that the sin is not in the temptation but the acting upon it. James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” There can be a peace in knowing that no one is singled out for temptation, but even our Lord Jesus dealt with it.
When a person comes to the realization that the temptations of the flesh is a part of this journey, they can stop focusing on the why, and begin to focus on how to not give in. God gave us his Holy Spirit as the answer to how to not give in. His spirit gives us power over the flesh. As humans we are very weak to the desires of the flesh, but through the power of God, we can overcome the flesh. Sometimes after doing ministry for a while, being focused on other things causes you to forget the vulnerability of the flesh and the need to stay focused in the spirit. Some of these established ministers that fell to sin, probably never intended to get caught up with the flesh, but the expectations and pressures most likely caused the door to open. It is imperative that no matter what, we first guard against the flesh with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Here are a few things you can do to overcome the flesh:
- Regular Fasting- Fasting brings the flesh under submission and gives the Holy Spirit full control of your body
- Fervant Prayer- Pray is a time of restoration and refreshing. The time and effort you put into prayer directly effects your ability to overcome the flesh
- Avoid Things That Cause Temptation – The bible is clear that we should flee fornication. This goes to all sins that relate to being entangled in the flesh. Anything, anyone, anyplace that tempts the flesh should be avoided if possible.
- Love God First- Love is the ultimate strength that will keep you from sin, if you love God more than anything else, then you will avoid the things that he is not happy with.
I pray that through this article you are able to overcome the flesh and walk in the fullness that God has for your life.