Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Look inside, Friend!

In my ongoing quest to be a better husband, man, and pastor, I do a good deal of reading. A few weeks ago I was perusing a minister’s publication when I saw an article recommending several ways a pastor might avoid falling into sexual sin. Figuring that we can never be too careful in these areas, I clicked on the link and began to read. The first idea was not bad: don’t be alone with women. That has been a rule in our ministry from the beginning. Then I read two things that baffled me. The first was, “Never wear cologne.” He seemed to argue that wearing scents is an attempt to attract women, and that they were somehow inexorably drawn to appealing aromas. The next thing I thought odd was, “Never compliment a female on her appearance.” The idea was that this gives the woman the idea that you are attracted to her. In these two warning signs of philandering, I have to plead guilty. God help me, I like to smell good, and I like to be polite.

It seems to me that some folks spend way too much time and energy building cages for themselves, then trying to drag others in with them. I have worn some sort of fragrance all the life that I can remember. As a five-year-old I wore my dad’s aftershave, not to attract little girls, but to be like my dad. Who, by the way, was not exactly a Casanova. I was also taught by my quite proper mother, that it was polite to acknowledge another person’s efforts to make themselves presentable in the public square. Nice hair, Mom!! I was reminded of my own shock and dismay when I learned that some seemingly decent people actually drank wine on occasion. To me, having been delivered out of an alcoholic lifestyle, this seemed tantamount to heresy. (I still don’t approve, but I am less vehement). Here’s the bottom line: we tend to construct laws to protect us from ourselves, from our own private passions and weaknesses. That is not a bad thing. Indeed, it may be a good, even wise, thing. But I must not assume that everyone else has to live inside my pen.

Scripture Reading: You say, "I am allowed to do anything"—but not everything is good for you. And even though "I am allowed to do anything," I must not become a slave to anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT)

Somebody Said: It is with our passions as it is with fire and water, they are good servants, but bad masters. Aesop

I try to remember when something really irritates me, my first stop needs to be at a mirror. The most likely source of my distress is in me. I hate in you what I fear in myself.

Pastor Virgil Stokes


Looking for good, practical bible training to help prepare you to be effective in your Christian life? Check out Faith Ministry Training Institute. Disponible tambien en Español.

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