Sexual temptation remains a fundamental characteristic of all humankind, and no minister remains totally free from it. Sexual infidelity and pornography act as spiritual roadblocks for too many ministers.Those who think that they have conquered their susceptibility to sexual sin including sex addictions, infidelity, pornography, and homosexuality remain most susceptible of all. They remain susceptible because they neglect the interventions that could reduce their temptation and they neglect maintenance of their sexual boundaries.
This webpage addresses two aspects of sexual temptation:
- How to control temptation directly with research proven interventions
- How to build appropriate boundaries around temptation
Recent research shows two fundamental interventions that control and even reduce temptation:
- Many Christian books urge pastors to build accountability groups and appropriate boundaries to control sexual temptation. While these approaches always remain appropriate, for the most part they treat the symptom instead of the cause. That is, they try to build a physical barrier that separates the pastor from temptation rather than strengthening his or her willpower to overcome the temptation. Both approaches remain appropriate. The Bible shows that sexual failure results from an inner human nature. A character trait called “conscientiousness” represents the factor in human personality that controls temptation. The Bible invites followers to practice specific spiritual disciplines, and the Biblical disciplines work together to build conscientiousness. When pastors fail to practice the spiritual disciplines, their conscientiousness remains weak, their carnal nature remains in control, and they grow susceptible to moral failure. Thus, a failure to practice the spiritual disciplines often represents one of the root causes of moral failure. You may read more about this factor and it’s affect on moral failure in Chapter 5 of Transforming Personality: Spiritual Formation and the Five-Factor Model. The spiritual disciplines that act as interventions to build conscienteousness are described in Chapter 6 of the same book. Please click on the book cover, below, to order a copy.
2. In Broken Windows of the Soul by Arnold R Fleagle and Donald A Lichi, the authors address how to prevent temptation from getting out of hand. Instead of ignoring minor temptations, the authors sensitize the reader to address temptations when they first appear, before they get out of hand. They follow a prevention approach that works extremely well.
How to build appropriate boundaries around temptation:
Many pastors live in cultures in which sexual promiscuity remains the norm. In these cultures, few secular individuals ever learn the importance of building sexual boundaries. Pastors who never learn to build sexual boundaries fail again and again. Click here to read a short article describing this crucial aspect of sexual fidelity. The three books below provide step-by-step instructions for building boundaries.
- The Emotional Affair: How to Recognize Emotional Infidelity and What to Do About It by Ronald Potter, also addresses the need for prevention. Most sexual affairs start with an emotional affair. These authors provide tips on how to recognize and prevent an emotional affair from ever starting.
- For those needing help with sexual addictions, we recommend:
3. For those needing help with susceptibility to pornography, we recommend Treating Pronography Addiction: the Essential Tools for Recovery by Dr. Kevin B Skinner
© 2013 Nathan Davis