There is no perfect church or ministry. We all struggle with sin, and if those sins are left unchecked and not dealt with, they can destroy a ministry or render it ineffective. Galatians 5:19-21 lays out for us some of these destructive sins.
Sexual sins – Sins concerning our bodies. These would include the sins of immorality, impurity, sensuality. No one is exempt from these. I have known pastors and ministry leaders who have fallen to the temptation of sexual sins, including adultery.
How do we protect ourselves from these sins?
- By not putting ourselves in situations where we’re vulnerable
- By having a friend who will hold us accountable
Idolatry – Worshiping false gods. Idolatry is worshiping someone or something that we have put in God’s rightful place. Idolatry goes far beyond worshiping wooden or stone idols. Today, we make idols out of people, money, materialism, status, control, even ourselves.
How do we protect ourselves from idolatry?
- By keeping our focus on the Lord and looking to Him to meet our needs, not someone or something else
How would you recognize if you have an idol in your life? A good question to ask is: how would you respond if that person or thing is removed from your life? If it would completely devastate you, then it may have become an idol.
Relational sins – Sins we have toward other people. Paul mentions several in these verses: enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, and envy. We’ve all been guilty of at least one of these sins. We get jealous of someone because we feel they’re getting something we deserve and want. We become envious because we don’t have what they have, and it begins to consume us. We have disagreements with others, and those disputes and dissensions can tear down the body of Christ. We think we’re right and they’re wrong. We want our way and aren’t willing to listen to the other perspective.
How do we protect ourselves from the relational sins?
- By remembering it’s not about us. It’s about Him – trusting Him, loving Him, glorifying Him.
How do we protect ourselves from these destructive sins and all other sins?
Paul gives the answer in Galatians 5:25: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” We protect ourselves from sin by walking in the Spirit and surrendering to the control of the Holy Spirit. We protect ourselves by not seeking our own way to please ourselves, but seeking to please God.
Be on guard against these destructive sins. Don’t be the one who tears a ministry or church apart.