Lust…and ministry?

lust....My sin is real. My sin is painful. But as big a part of my life as it is, Christ is bigger than my sin. His death on the cross once and for all wiped out what separated me from the Father. That sin that separated me from God was not something that I chose to live with. Neither did you. God chose, however, to send Christ as our substitute…a sacrificial lamb in our place, so we would not have to pay the ultimate price for our sin.

Some people think they have the right to judge. If someone sins and confesses that sin publicly, the church should be there to support them through their repentance, and if discipline is required, a procedure should be followed. If that person is a high profile public figure, the church’s response should be no different. What saddens me, though, is that a certain faction in the church thinks it’s perfect enough to continually dredge up prior sins, and to be the judge of when someone is repentant enough to “get back into it”? For me, I would prefer to be ministered to someone who acknowledges their sin, no matter how recent.

So here’s my dilemma: ministry. I’m not sure where God is leading, but in two short years, I’ve gone from thinking I hated people, to drinking in stories of God’s grace in action. Tearful repentance testimonies, listening to confessions of sin from brothers or sisters I barely know, and just plain relief on faces of people who once thought they were too far gone. I want to minister to these people, as well as be ministered to by them. I want to help them see Christ, every time they sin. Every time they seek Him, I want them to experience His love in the way I have.

But I sin. I struggle with temptation of a sexual nature. Lust is an awful thing to deal with, regardless of your circumstance. For me, there’s a feeling of anguish when I experience it. I love my wife dearly. She’s the most loving, kind, and amazing person I’ve ever met. She makes me happy, and her relationship with Christ makes me even happier. Yet, my sin takes me to places where I never imagine myself going again. Imagining myself with someone else. Worse yet, imagining myself with someone male. A specific male.

So what level of repentance is required before I do any kind of ministry? My wife knows my struggle and supports me, even though I can’t imagine why she lets me touch her. Certainly, the men in my support groups feel comfortable enough to interact with me; to rejoice in the victories, and pray about the shortcomings. I lead the men’s section of my small group…same thing. I taught Sunday school and helped lead the service at my church this morning. But what if God is calling me into pastoral ministry? What if God wants me to speak about my sin? Am I repentant enough? I’ve never crossed the line physically, but I’ve certainly looked at enough pornography and fantasized enough that I know I’ve sinned against God and my wife. Nothing can ever erase what I’ve thought about.

There are definitely people who think I have business ministering to anyone, but I think that God wants me to share my story. Not because of me, but because of Him, and what His mercy, grace, and power can do. So I’m going to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, not because there is anything good about me…but because Jesus Christ died not only for me and my sin, but for you and your sin, and you need to hear that. If you think your sin is too big an issue for Him, you are wrong.

3 thoughts on “Lust…and ministry?

  1. The devil is the “ruler of the earth” What we leave behind belongs to him. Our possessions, our bodies, our minds. But not our souls. Our souls are what will be judged. Just because thoughts, desires, lustful things creep into your mind , it doesn’t mean you are judged for them. It is how you react to those things that make your soul responsible. Is your response for God or against him? If against then repent . If for him, then glorify and rejoice in the fact of God’s strength you’ve allowed within yourself and give thanks for the trial, the struggle of something so strong that which the devil needs to tempt you because of God’s blessing in your marriage. James 1. We WILL be tempted and you Don’t have to repent of the temptation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude,
    I feel you big time on this. As a pastor myself, who has struggled with porn, THIS is a very relevant question for someone like me too. In the short time I’ve gotten to know you and your story two things became abundantly clear. One, You are very aware of your sin, shortcomings, and to varying degrees don’t really like yourself which has led to severe bouts of depression. It felt hopeless to ever change, and you almost completely gave up and gave in to these sinful desires. Two, you are aware, almost more than anyone I’ve ever met, the glorious joy that comes from realizing God, in his grace, could and does unconditionally love you. Jesus accepts you, even with all your mess, FORGIVES YOU, AND CAN BREAK THE CHAINS THAT BIND YOU FURTHER AND DEEPER INTO YOUR MESS.

    Brian, honestly, I wish MORE ministry leaders understood grace, mercy, forgiveness, and restoration, how NO ONE is TOO far gone, like you do. The root of it, people on the outside looking in to see if you are repentant enough, while so many are WAY TOO CRITICAL and quick to judge, generally want to see if you take full responsibility for your sinful actions or if you act like a “victim” and blame shift. You, Brian, DO take full responsibility and DO NOT blame shift at all. You admit your sin and bring it before the cross, and KNOW you are forgiven and LOVED by God. This has given you an amazing amount of transparency and courage, not of your own power, by Christ’s power resting on you. Your tattoo on your arm wonderfully explains it all. YOU have an amazing story of God’s grace that is POWERFUL!!

    THOSE THINGS I DESCRIBED ARE THE ONLY REQUIREMENTS NEEDED FOR “MINISTRY”. Anyone who thinks you aren’t repentant enough just doesn’t know you, or your story that well. You don’t need told you need to repent of your sins, no one is more aware of your own sinfulness that YOU. What you needed was HOPE YOU COULD BE FORGIVEN. As far as what I could tell, once you believed that for yourself, the chains became slowly broken. You aren’t perfect and sin creeps at the door to your heart trying to get back in, but it’s no different than anyone else. IF ANYONE GIVES YOU A HARD TIME SAYING YOUR DISQUALIFIED FROM MINISTRY BECAUSE OF SOME UNBIBLICAL JUDGEMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT REPENTANCE IS OR SHOULD LOOK LIKE SEND THEM MY WAY.

    Your an amazing dude, and God’s got an amazing plan for ya,
    love y a buddy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Share , minister, pray for, be prayed for, slip, grieve, repent, thank HIM, REPEAT!
    Your sin is no worse than lying, gossiping, coveting, acting out in anger, judging, ….. The list is long! If there are times you feel God pulling you out for a time – for reflection or conviction – step aside for that time! The unrepentant heart is the one who should not be in leadership! PS- are girls allowed to comment???😏

    Liked by 1 person

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