I appreciate people who tackle the hard stuff. When I was in Bible College the noted theologian Charles C. Ryrie came to our campus. That was about thirty years ago, but I still remember him. He addressed a very controversial theological topic when he could have just hit a softball. I don't agree with his conclusion, but I still appreciate his boldness.
I encountered that same kind of boldness today when I listened to Adam Hamilton at the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. The Summit is a two-day Christ-centered leadership conference. It is an annual priority on my calendar.
Hamilton, a pastor in Kansas, had the unenviable task of addressing the topic, When Leaders Fall. The focus was temptation in general and sexual temptation in particular. At the conclusion of his talk, he provided the "Five R's" for resisting temptation. For my sake and yours, here is a brief synopsis. I have contextualized this to my life. You can make the application to yours.
Remember who you are. I am a child of God, a husband to Shannan, a dad to Daniel and Katrina, Joel, Paul and Sarah, Bethany, David, and Zachary. I am a grandfather to Asher, Summer, and Micah. I am a pastor to the Spanish River Church family. Do I really want to throw all that away? Recognize the consequences of your action. Will I feel better or worse by giving into this desire? Will I feel more freedom or shame? Will I be glad an hour after the fact or will my choice haunt me for the rest of my life? Rededicate yourself to God. As kids we were taught to stop, drop, and roll if our clothes ever caught fire. When under a fiery temptation, I need to stop, drop, and pray!Reveal your struggle to a trusted friend. Sharing where we are tempted has a way of cutting in half the power of that temptation in our lives. Remove yourself from the situation. I need to set boundaries for relationships with the opposite sex and may need to remove myself from situations at work or church where a tempting situation regularly occurs. For example, I don't ride alone with a woman other than my wife, mom, or on the rare occasion, one of our daughters.
God says, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23 TNIV). Hamilton's advice helps me to do what God calls me to do.
As I mentioned last week, I want to FINISH WELL. Finishing well includes nurturing a growing relationship with Shannan. I cannot nurture her if I do not protect myself. We celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year. I want to be celebrating anniversaries with her until the day I die. Lord, help me practice the Five R's.
STAY FOCUSED TODAY: Think about where you might be tempted and then work through Hamilton's Five R's.