You may recall the story in the media about David Petraeus, the leading military leader of the US – a strategic leader in the super-power of our era. He was the man sent in to sort out the situation in Iraq and he did well with that. He retired and became the head of the CIA, he had been married for over 30 years with a career that for a military man is a dream – and in a moment he blew it by having an affair with the woman who wrote his biography. You can be faithful for decades, friends. You can run the race well and still tragically blow it. This can happen to us if we don’t keep devoted to God, the vision he has given and His purposes. So, I urge us all - keep Jesus central, keep praying, keep reading the Word, keep in fellowship with those who will help you to stay on track and protect your spiritual life.
I would say that generally the areas in which people tend to blow up can be described in these words - pleasure, measure or treasure.
- Pleasure – this is normally to do with sex and if you are married, it’s about staying within that covenant relationship. If you are single then it’s about staying pure.
- Measure – this is to do with success. If you are a leader and God has called you and you build anything, you will have a degree of success. But success has its own dangers because if you become successful you can start to believe that the normal laws of life don’t apply to you. We can see this with public figures out in the world but it can also happen to pastors - they can become so successful that they lose contact with those who will ask them the difficult questions.
- Treasure – this is money. Putting it in plain and simple terms, what you do with your money is critically important to your spiritual health. If you continue to be generous then you show you aren't putting your trust in money – you are ultimately putting your trust in God. Included in this would be never giving or taking back-handers, being accurate with your expenses, paying to Caesar what is Caesar’s with your tax, handling money - your own and that of others - with integrity.
These three areas have the potential to derail the purposes of God for us. Be aware. Be on your guard! I don’t want that for you and I don’t want that for me. Stay devoted to God!