One of the number one things that makes the church look bad today and brings shame to the name of God is infidelity within its leaders. This was captured quite well recently at the Advance the Church conference when Darrin Patrick started his talk with a serious tone by saying, "We will never accomplish what it is we are trying to accomplish here if we as men can't keep our pants on."
Most of us hear a statement like that and we immediately agree, but what are we doing to practical avoid the temptations and appearance of evil? If you are a man like me you are typically dumb and you somehow allow yourself to get in situations that you should not be in that are not necessarily sin, but either the temptation is there or the appearance is there.
The truth is that in someway we all allow ourselves to get into these situations and many leaders in the church have allowed themselves to get into these situations far to long. The reason I know this is because of how often you hear of a pastor or church leader cheating on their spouse with their secretary, choir member, or anyone for that matter.
I was faced with this own reality recently as my wife and I have been juggling our schedules with our son and occasionally we have to find someone to watch him. This particular afternoon it was a young female that I work with that is old enough to drive, but does not have a car. We asked her to watch our son until I got off of work, but we had also agreed to give her a ride to work. There was a five hour gap between when I finished work, when the sitter needed a ride to work, and when my wife finishes work. So what am I to do?
Some would say that this would be a harmless situation. Maybe so, but the appearance of sin is there as if I spent the afternoon at home it would leave me and a female, who is not my wife, at my house for five hours by ourselves. Now, the reality is that nothing would have probably happened, but the devil is smart, much more than we give him credit for, and in the moment of temptation anything can happen. Either way it would leave the appearance of evil as it would leave the two of us behind close doors for an afternoon with everyone around to wonder just what happened during that afternoon.
So what did I do? I left the house and spent the afternoon in a coffee shop reading. Call me extreme if you like, but it allowed me to be intentional in avoiding temptation and the appearance of evil. Yes, it can be tough to do this sometimes and maybe even make you look a little weird, but in the long run it is worth it.
We know that the devil is our adversary and he delights when we bring shame to the name of Jesus, but by fleeing temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit it allows us to bring glory to the name of Jesus. So I want to encourage you to be intentional about avoiding the temptation of sin before it ever even gets there because it has serious implications for whether we bring honor or shame to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.