Whenever I see the phrase “so that” in scripture, it usually follows a command or imperative leading to why the imperative is important. The words often are in the context of being in the Word – consistently and regularly. Having a regular quiet time, if you will. There is one practical reason for following this admonition to have a quiet time: it keeps one grounded and aligned with God.
Fifty percent of Christian men and twenty percent of women are addicted to pornography, and pastors are not immune according to www.expastor.com. On a survey of 1,351 pastors conducted on Rick Warren’s website www.pastors.com relating to porn use, 54% of pastors had viewed internet porn in the past year and 30% had viewed an internet porn within the past 30 days. Patrick Means, author of, Men’s Secret Wars, reveals that 63% of pastors surveyed confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, or other secret sexual activity. Further, seventy-five percent of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use.
In 2009, Steve Farrar interviewed some 200 pastors who had moral failures with women and had fallen into disgrace by having affairs. There were 3 primary reasons that surfaced:
1) They had stopped having quiet times;
2) They were not accountable to any other men for their spiritual growth, and
3) They counseled women in private.
I will focus on the first and second reasons – the lack of a quiet time and lack of accountability. Two scriptures come to mind – both of which have the “So That” in them:
“Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night SO THAT you may be careful to do everything written in it.” Joshua 1:8
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, SO THAT the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
These passages basically say that if you stay in the Word and have a regular quiet time, then you will be less likely to get off the narrow path. Understand that I am not trying to single out Pastors for their moral failures, although they are a category of people that you would not expect to have these kinds of failures. Moral failures happen to people in any occupation, so the lessons from the Pastors applies to everyone.
The other key ingredient, of course, is to have someone you are accountable to – it can be a peer, or a mentor. Someone who will ask you the hard questions and to whom you have built a trust with. A person whose goal is to help you be the best you can be as God created you SO THAT you don’t end up being interviewed on why you ran off the rails and nobody was watching or caring. No one, not just pastors, are immune from temptations, so it takes discipline to insure that one does not become a statistic of a moral failure.
How’s your quiet time? Do you have someone you are accountable to? If the answers to either of those questions is “no”, then you may be an accident waiting to happen. Pray about what you should do about it today.