Over the years, I have endeavored to walk in not only practical holiness, but purity of heart.
With respect to women, I have endeavored to keep ministerial boundaries, never ministering to someone of the opposite sex, unless my wife was present.
Yet, this new venue of ministry, Social Media, is exciting in that it allows us to reach many more people with the truth of the Word of God, quickly, and to develop on-line gospel relationships that have had tremendous impact for the kingdom of God!
Billy Graham used to instruct young ministers, regarding personal integrity, simply: Don’t touch the girls, (or guys, for you ladies) the gold, or the glory.
I remember, back in the days when I was single, running a ‘big-brothers’ club in a subsidized housing project. As a single young man, employed, who was obviously a role model for children, it was almost as natural as breathing, to get hit on by single mom’s, who were desperate for adult companionship, and a husband. Rather, that become brutal with them, and join the ‘He man women haters club’, I cried out to God for help, wisdom, and purity of heart.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
This is the verse, we would use to get us out into the streets, to practically help, wherever possible. Notice, if you will, how this reads:
1. Want to be pure and undefiled before God our Father? (Emphatically, YES!)
2. Here’s what you need to do, go visit the fatherless and widow.
3. Where do you go visit them? Right in the middle of their mess, ‘in their distress’. It is implied here that we would become part of their solution, that we would do something to alleviate their suffering. This might be simply in taking the children fishing, swimming, or bike riding, while the mom gets a well needed rest, or simply goes out with the girls.
4. Here is the trick: remain unspotted from the world. That means: no flirting with the girls, staying clear of the alcohol/drug and often criminal culture that exists in some of these communities. Holiness of conduct and purity of heart, are the only thing that kept us, as people did everything in their power to try and get us in involved in some of their schemes. Many nights of anguished prayer, and countless hours listening to the audio Bible, to remain cleansed, renewed, and washed by the water of the Word, to stay mentally, emotionally, and spiritually clean from some very challenging ministry sessions.
During this time, God graciously delivered me from my traditional, flirtatious ways with women, granting me the ability to see all women as sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, treating them with honor, with no games.
Back in the days of youth ministry, we used to instruct singles, regarding purity of heart, that not only was sex outside of marriage sin, but that Jesus said: Mt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
This meant nor pornography, or sexual innuendos, or flirtatious behavior.
I remember making the statement: If you, in your conduct and conversations, awaken desires in a member of the opposite sex, that can only be legitimately fulfilled in a marriage relationship, it is sin to you, and you need to take it to the cross.
Yet, on Social Media, we see this type of conduct, all the time. People without shame, or boundaries, openly making provocative comments, that definitely incite romantic passions, publically, or in private messages, over the internet.
A good friend of mine, is fighting for his marriage.
In marriage counseling, he heard an alarming statistic: That 8 or 9, or every 10 divorces, brought Facebook posts, or copies of their unfaithful spouses Tweets, to court as evidence. Seems that folks had been having affairs, and keeping them going, using Social Media.
Seems this new rise in Social Media adultery, is not new to my world. Here are a couple of articles on it, that are well written:
Online Affairs Are Emotional Adultery
I too, have been guilty, of this. In allowing women, other than my wife, access to my heart, at a level that should have only been available to my wife. To me, it is sin.
I think of the scene in the movie, ‘Fireproof’, where the guy smashes his computer because of his pornography addiction.
I am not into porn, I hate it. If you are, get out of it, it’s destroying you.
Yet, like my good friend, rather than deal with brutally difficult issues in my own marriage, I have carried on ‘spiritual’ conversations on Facebook and Twitter, at a level of intimacy, that should have been reserved only for my wife.
My good friend, deleted all of his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and blocked certain people from his phone and texts.
So, there is only one way of freedom for me, and that is to include my wife, on all of my accounts, and conversations on Social Media. Joint accounts, that keep me accountable for every word I post, or comment I make.
You know, many have said, that ‘Wisdom is the principal thing, and in all your getting get wisdom’. That is Biblical, but not totally accurate. The actual verse reads:Pr 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Pr 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
In all of your wisdom, get understanding.
Apart from Jesus, Solomon is recorded as being the wisest king that ever lived.
Yet, he blew it, in having many wives:1Ki 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
1Ki 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
Here is understanding. Wisdom did not keep his leadership pure, nor on track with God. Purity of heart, and faithfulness to one wife, would have.
Mal 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
Mal 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
My ministry to folks over Social Media will continue, but my wife will be reading every prayer request, post, and comment, that comes back from the teachings posted.
My marriage may not be perfect, but I will remain faithful to it, in the brutally hard times, as well as the good ones.
I pray you do the same:
‘Father, I raise up a cry for marriages, families, husbands, wives and children. I ask Sir, that you deliver us from our lusts, the seductions that would creep in, and destroy our homes. Forgive us, where we have erred in this, and purify our hearts, minds, and relationships, from ungodly entanglements, and adulterous affairs, whether physical, or merely emotional. I ask this, knowing I am heard, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus, AMEN!’