Friday, April 27, 2007

The Fight of Our Lives

Throughout the past several years of ministry, one of the most difficult and saddest things I've seen was the moral failure of people in ministry. Whether it was public figures or people I knew well, each instance broke my heart. It was a splash of cold water in terms of the reality of how hard the enemy is at work to destroy God's Work and His people.

It was also a wake-up call for me to make sure I set stronger boundaries in my own life. A new resolution I've made was to never meet up one-on-one with a female anymore, no matter how much she may “need” counseling and even if it is in a public place. It may seem extreme, but as Rick Warren says, “I'd rather go overboard than be thrown overboard”. I've also renewed my need for my close friendship and to share life's challenges and struggles together openly and honestly.

Rick Warren recently published a podcast talking about how their staff deals with moral failure. It's a very helpful, practical and down-to-earth chat with fellow pastors. Listen to it here. There's a lot of valuable wisdom in this podcast.

I've also read something recently that was very helpful and convicting from Dallas Willard on the same topic. Here are some highlights:

"Those who experience moral failure are those who have failed to live a deeply satisfied life in Christ, almost without exception. I know my temptations come out of situations where I am dissatisfied, not content. I am worried about something or not feeling the sufficiency I know is there. If I have a strong temptation, it will be out of my dissatisfaction."

"The moral failures of ministers usually are over one of three things: sex, money, or power. That always comes out of dissatisfaction. Ministers are reaching for something, and they begin to feel, I deserve something better. I sacrifice so much and get so little. And so I'll do this. The surest guarantee against failure is to be so at peace and satisfied with God that when wrongdoing presents itself it isn't even interesting. That is how we stay out of temptation."

More than anything else, I write this as a war-cry because we are in a battle for both people's salvation and their sanctification. And those who serve on the front lines will always be attacked first and with force.

So I plead with you to pray for me and all the pastors and spiritual leaders in your life. Pray that they would be protected ... but also pray that their souls would find satisfaction and rest in God alone. As Willard also writes, "what we really need are preachers who can stand in simplicity and manifest and declare the richness of Christ in life." May that be the mark of God's servants in this generation and the next.

Currently Reading
The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching: A Comprehensive Resource for Today's Communicators
Various Authors


Janice said...

Thank you eddie...
just what i needed to hear.
lol and a little question about the "not meeting one-on-one with someone of the opposite gender"... how would you get married? in the case you're not already :)
i'm leaving on the 15th of May~
take care of yourself!

Eddie Byun said...

Hey Janice. Good question. I actually preached on this issue a few years back ... but in short: GROUP DATE! Alone time is *always* temptation time.

One common argument is that you can't get to know a person until you're alone with them. I actually believe that you'll know who the real person is when you see him/her with their good friends. 1:1 time is often not the best representation of who a person really is.

Anyways ... it's just my opinion of what this generation needs to do in order to be a light and maintain integrity.

Have a great time on your mission trip. My prayers are with you :)

Lois said...

Hey Eddie!
I just had to comment when I read your post... I applaud you in your decision to not meet up with someone of a female gender...

it's always so very encouraging when you see your fellow siblings in Christ being serious about living a holy life... you're right, it's so much better to go overboard than to be thrown overboard...

Not to sound too fundamentalistic, but i think if by having 1:1 time with someone you feel that you're running the risk of compromising your integrity, then i think it's better to stay off that and run the risk of not getting married...

i also read somewhere that it's not just sexual purity that we should be cautious of (in terms of 1:1 meetings) but the sense of intimacy with someone who isn't your spouse, which made sense to me...

Whoa, talk about verbal diarrhoea! Just wanted to say how encouraged I was reading your post... :)

Eddie Byun said...

Hey Lois,

Thanks for the note. And I wouldn't consider it verbal diarrhea at all. I think God smiles upon anyone who thinks through practical ways to live a life set apart for Him.

And once we can look upon HIM as the ultimate treasure of our lives, no "sacrifice" becomes too great a thing to give up for Him.

Blessings to you in your journey towards Him :)

Anonymous said...

Woww- thanks for being so honest Eddie,
i think it kind of hit a chord for everyone.
i love how your posts still reflect your passion to stay on track for God no matter what.

will pray for you :)