Dear Becky and Friends,
“How could a preacher do that!” That’s what your friends asked me when they heard about what happened with your youth minister and the church secretary. Your hearts are broken, and perhaps your hopes are dashed, and you’re wondering how a man who has talked to you about God could be so dishonest. I want you to know that God is never surprised and has seen this kind of thing since the beginning. And Jesus sees you and understands how you feel. He feels the same way. It literally killed Him. You are not alone.
Now to answer that agonizing question, “How could he?!” He’s with God all the time. He checked all the boxes. He didn’t have to deal with the world every day like the rest of us. And he did this in the church building with another Christian! How could he?
I know you remember the story of King David and his affair with Bathsheba and even murdering her husband–one of David’s most loyal soldiers–to cover it up. There were others of God’s people who did the unthinkable. It’s incredible that God loved them–and loves us–despite how humans behave.
It took me a long time to realize that we, as humans, are absolutely powerless to be as good as we want to be, and God deserves perfection. There is no way to get there on our own. No checklist of good works, no seclusion from the world, no position in the church will insulate us from Satan. He constantly feeds our self will. But there is a rescuer: Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. (Read Romans 7:14 thru Chapter 8.)
Preachers – any of us – can study the Bible to discover, prove, delight, and bond us to others. But if we just analyze the recipe and never eat the Bread, it never becomes part of us. And we die with our Bibles in our hands. The Pharisees, priests, and lawyers in Jesus’ day were the scholars and the experts in their Bible, the Old Testament. Yet they missed its message and didn’t recognize Jesus for who He was–the Messiah the Old Testament promised. Any of us can miss the message, too, if we aren’t searching for our own Savior.
The Apostle Paul struggled and was intentional about staying close to Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, so that “after preaching to others, I, too, might be disqualified.” He talks about it in I Corinthians 9:24-27, ending by saying, “I discipline my body and bring it under strict control so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
Paul mentions many disciplines of living in Christ: pray without ceasing1, study to show yourself approved2, flee fornication3, love one another4, pursue righteousness 5, endure 6, think on good things 7, and hundreds of others.
But in Romans 8, Paul explains HOW it’s possible to do these things. We’ve got to be plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit to do any of it.
- We live in the awareness of the Spirit’s presence within us. (Rom. 8:4-10)
- We live in anticipation of the Spirit’s power working in us as demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus. (8:11-13)
- We live in appreciation of the glory of God dwelling in us. (8:14-16).
- We live able to suffer for Him because we are not alone. We belong elsewhere. (8:17-25)
- We accept the Spirit’s part in prayer, providence, and fulfilling promises of rescue from ourselves and this world. 8:26-30)
- We live, remembering that Christ cherishes us. (8:31-39)
You see, dear Becky and friends, when the Holy Spirit has moved in, and we’re living with Him, we are never alone, never on our own, never unplugged from the power of God. We naturally have constant prayer conversations with Him, our First Love. We hear His voice when we study. It’s natural to love everyone who loves Him. We’re aware He sees what we see, He goes where we go, He hears our hearts and helps us, checks us, and sometimes carries us. With Him, even our romantic relationships are always a pure threesome.8
So how could that preacher – or any of us when we sin – do what we do? Like David, like the Prodigal Son, like the woman at the well who’d been married five times and then with a man she hadn’t married, we lose sight of Who loves us. And with any of us, as God did with them, God waits for us to turn around and come home, and He’ll be waiting.
Becky, your preacher is broken, alone, and is cut off from his hopes and dreams. He’s hiding from his conscience and it won’t work. God hurts worse than anyone. Jesus spills more blood. The Holy Spirit is grieving. The pain belongs to God, so turn it loose and don’t let Satan beat you up with it.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have been talking about you. “…the Spirit also helps us in our weakness since we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words, and the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to God’s will. And we know that for those who love God, that is, for those who are called according to his purpose, all things are working together for good.” (Rom 8:26-28) Remind yourself of that when the pain worms its way back into your consciousness. God is carrying you through.
Cherish in your heart the gift of the Holy Spirit you received the day you were baptized (Acts 2:38). If you’ve never heard of this gift (Acts 19:1–5), then obtain that gift and receive a clean slate with God at baptism into Christ as soon as possible. You’ll need Him in your life. You’ll need His power to live well. And you’ll need that power to raise you from the grave and take you Home when Jesus returns.9
With love and prayers, Nannygranne
1 I Thess 5:17
2 II Tim 2:15
3 I Cor. 6:18
4 Romans 13:8
5 I Tim. 6:11
6 Col 1:11
7 Phil 4:8
8 I Cor 6:15-20
9 I Thess 4:16-18