Reading: Titus 2:1-8

"Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burnt?" (Proverbs 6:27,28)

Many a preacher has lost spiritual energy due to improper relationships with those of the opposite sex. Delilah's lap drained the might of Samson (Judges 16:19). This is one of the main reasons why most of our pulpits are void of the message from God. The lust of eyes dims one's spiritual vision. Sinful pleasures darken the soul. Extramarital affairs confuse the preacher's understanding of the ways of God. The vessel of honour is defiled. Its use for the Master gets diminished and in course of time it is set aside (2 Timothy 2:21,22; 1 Corithians 9:27).

God challenges us, "What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing... you have been a partaker with adulterers?" (Psalms 50:16,18). Apostle Paul reminds us of this challenge in Romans 2:21,22: "You, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?... You who say, `Do not commit adultery,' do you commit adultery?"

Preachers have more opportunities than anyone else to move with the opposite sex. People trust them and come close for counselling and prayer. There's a specific warning against taking advantage of the situation: "This is the will of God... that you should abstain from sexual immorality... that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter... For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness" (1 Thessalonains 4:3,6,7). A holy minister is an awesome weapon in the hands of God.

When a preacher in his mind is preoccupied with lustful desires for another woman, the Word of God is no more his delight day and night. His concentration in the study and meditation of the Bible is disturbed. This reflects on his preaching. With oratory skills, sharp memory power and pulpit experience he can manage for a season. But keen spiritual minds can easily discern the absence of the "message" in his sermons. Oh, how many congregations are starving because of the careless living of their pastors! The closest competitor to the Word of God is the lips of an immoral woman which drip like honeycomb (Proverbs 5:3). Apostle Paul's testimony is timely: "I discipline my body ... lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (1 Corithians 9:27).

        Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin,

        Each victory will help you some other to win;

        Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,

        Look ever to Jesus, He'll carry you through!

        (Horatio R. Palmer, 1834-1907)

R. Stanley