Throughout my life I can remember hearing the news of the “fall” of many people who stood in places of spiritual leadership, even some who were highly respected and well thought of. Pastors, teachers, and leaders who, in my eyes, had never been anything but exemplary. I remember my shock, and thinking “how could they do that”? Were they phonies? Were they just not real? I felt like I had been deceived, and betrayed, and at times felt very disillusioned. I was also concerned for others who might become disillusioned. These sorry guys were dragging the name of “my Jesus” through the mud after claiming to be a Christ-follower. How could they stoop so low? Then one day in the early 2000’s a guest evangelist was preaching in the church we were pastoring and I heard him say that every time God begins to use a man, every time someone began to take a stand for Christ and eyes begin to fall on him in larger numbers, that man becomes a bigger target for the enemy. As he spoke I had a visual of a literal target being placed on his head and on his heart. It’s not a physical target, but a spiritual one. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers,…….. against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) Then one day while preaching through the book of Romans I stumbled across this text; “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true, and every man a liar….” (Romans 3:3-4) Simply put, sometimes we put too much stock in people. Sometimes we put people on a pedestal as if they were untouchable, and we forget that people in leadership are still just people, susceptible to the same weaknesses and temptations that have plagued the human race since the fall. On top of that, our enemy knows that if he can take down a person of influence, he can affect a great number of people, so that is exactly who he sets his sights on. Men and women of God who are taking an effective stand for Christ, shakers and movers in the Kingdom of God, become high priority moving targets. What am I trying to say? Are some people more prone to stronger spiritual attacks than others? It is absolutely possible! The intensity of temptations that come upon a man or woman of God who is in leadership, or who is becoming increasingly more effective in reaching more and more people, may far exceed what any of us would expect. These temptations, I believe, often come through the most unexpected sources and in the midst of great “successes” when one’s guard is often down, and confidence is running high. So, before you pass judgement on a leader who has had a moral failure, or even one who merely stands accused of such, remember how Christ has instructed us to respond through the Apostle Paul. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourselves, lest you too be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1) God would not have given us instruction in His Word on how to respond to these situations if He did not know that they would be a regular occurrence in a fallen world. This in no way excuses sinful actions, or lessens the necessity of consequences that result from sinful choices. But I would hope it would serve as a reminder to PRAY FOR YOUR LEADERS, especially those in spiritual leadership. And if you are one of those whom God has chosen to place in such a position, keep your guard up. Never assume that you are beyond moral failure. Know that the enemy is a trickster, and a liar. The greatest of failures often start with the smallest compromise. Thank God for the promise that we are NO LONGER SLAVES TO SIN! So don’t buy the lie that says you’ve got to have it, or that it’s okay. I am not suggesting that anyone who is in Christ should ever live in fear of moral failure, because the Spirit of Christ in you is much more victorious than that! I am merely reminded of what we learn in 1Cor 10:12, “let anyone who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” . Now, more than ever before, I am keenly aware of the fact that anyone on this planet, even the most respected pastor you may know, is capable of anything, and so are you. When those “falls” happen, help, don’t hinder. Do not attack, but pray for the fallen to be restored, for the kingdom to be advanced, for the necessity the Gospel to be magnified, and for God to receive glory.
Ronnie Bevill on Moving Targets-How “good… Ronnie Bevill on Why I am opposed to alcohol sa… brotodd on Your Temptations and the Faith… Randy Winniford on Your Temptations and the Faith… Brian on The Game of the Season