Inspired by a recent article in Relevant Magazine by Flowerdust, I’ve decided to post up this note I wrote after an unexpected and profound experience at an event several years ago.
“Looking back, I was too consumed to comprehend all that was happening as we laid hands and prayed that Sunday night. Although I did not even know all the names of the brothers that night, as we cried out there was a unity in our humility and worship before God, unlike anything I had experienced before.What made the conference different this year was that God didn’t just speak to each of us individually, but that we left knowing we had experienced God together. I praise God for His Spirit breaking through this weekend, and I commend all the men who came on stage to take a stand for purity. God has brought such conviction to my heart on this issue over the years, I feel the need to reiterate and add to a few thoughts.
I have no doubt that the sins revealed that night are just a small sampling of what plagues our entire generation. Extending from sexually immoral relationships, to pornography, to masturbation, to lustful thoughts, people are being held in bondage especially to these sins. We are bombarded daily with images from the media and have allowed Satan to gain a foothold. These sins are poisoning the body of Christ and Christians, including leaders are dropping like flies. Though we are often found busy struggling with God’s will in our lives, one thing we know for certain – God desires that we “be holy” (1 Peter 1:15), (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). We need to adopt God’s standard of purity in our lives (see Ephesians 5:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18).
After what was shared, I pray that we don’t carry on as if it never happened. As uncomfortable as it may seem, we need to press on in our conversations, and hold each other accountable. We give Satan power when we refrain from sharing and fight our battles alone. Too often have I heard of, and have known, the vicious cycle of coming clean with God, sinning in secret, and finally crawling back to God feeling even more guilty. Accountability and the prayers of our community is the only effective way of breaking the cycle (James 5:16).
I pray that this spirit of authenticity and vision for purity spreads throughout our churches. I ask that you take a stand in your fellowship, or gather up a small group, or even just share with a friend, let’s just not sit on what God has revealed. We only close our hands to God’s grace when we hide our sins.
One word of caution with all the declarations of purity that have been made. Self-imposed rules and disciplines will not work. I’ve been humbled and have come to realize over the last while, that I can’t change myself, and only God can change me. There’s something in the heart that needs fixing and it is a God thing. Don’t let your personal quest for purity take the place of your relationship with God. Or else it becomes a form of lust in itself. We need to continue seeking the Blesser and not simply His blessings of purity. I pray we all become so consumed with Christ that there no longer remains any room in our lives for sin.
Some brothers have shared with me their fears of how people may view them following confession. If we are to truly become a community of Christ, we also need to pray for understanding, particularly with the sisters. Sisters, we need your support and prayers as well.”
Here‘s another article by Sally Morgenthaler, who does some of the emerging worship stuff. She talks about her husband’s struggle as a pastor and the extremes it went to. Very disturbing, yet more disturbing because none of us are really that far from it.