On numerous occasions I have heard the assertion that relatively few Christian leaders finish well. Rather than debate the veracity of that claim, I find myself wanting to ensure that I don’t give evidence for its truth. I don’t want to become hardened in the truth as I get older, but to become seasoned in grace. As one older brother confessed to me once, “I pray frequently that I won’t become a crotchety old man.” Even Paul, the master disciple, was concerned for himself, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”(1 Co 9:26-27 NASB).
Becoming stubborn, hard to work with, unbending, unkind, callous, insensitive—all can be justified by a carnal mind and coated with a spiritual veneer of austerity. One of the most pernicious pitfalls for not only leaders, but men in general, is found on the internet. It’s one of those temptations that for some “ is not proper to mention.” It seems that even to admit to being tempted in this area is to admit inferiority of character. It goes almost without saying in a ministry to elders that we all know what Paul says to the Ephesians, “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Eph 5:3). Knowing this doesn’t remove temptation. If temptation is real, the danger of falling is likewise real—or it would not be a temptation.
Silence, especially in a publication like Elders’ ShopNotes, will not make the problem go away. So, just how pervasive is this problem? I find younger men are much more apt to admit struggles in this area. But often there is an eerie silence among elders when the subject comes up.
Of course there is a natural reticence to talk about such things because of the nature of the subject. Even in a sexually charged western hemisphere the subject is an awkward one. Yet, as a brother recently mentioned, if there was ever a place where the subject of sexuality should be talked about it, it is in the church—for we worship the God who created sex. He has a lot to say about its abuse and misuse. He wants to protect us for His best. So how much more we need to be vigilant in this area.
The following article is adapted from a plan that has been used by many men to help maintain purity in their internet usage. I use it as do many other men who understand the real temptation the internet provides and who want to live godly lives.