Back to Bethel: Three Pitfalls (Zacharias T. Fomum)
There are really three main areas of temptations for every believer. We may categorise them into Girl, Gold and Glory or Female, Fortune and Fame. Some have problems in all the three areas.
A. GIRL OR FEMALE
Most men of God have been ruined by women. The man of God who allows women to come around him, to surround him and sing his glory will also be buried by the same women. When they bury him, they will sing the glory of the next man.
Who fed the army of Saul that went out in pursuit of David? It was the women who sang that Saul had killed his thousands and David his ten thousands. They sang his praises and fed the army that went out to kill him.
In the book The School of Truth, there is a chapter on truth with the opposite sex that is very penetrating. It tests not only that which is outright sin, but also the secret desires of the heart, where only God sees, and which will come out on the judgment seat of Christ. I want to raise a number of questions from that book that will help you face your heart more clearly in relation to sexual sins:
Are you committing adultery or fornication in act with anyone? If you are, you can be sure that unless you repent, you will go to hell.
Are you carrying out any kissing, caressing or petting with anyone? Stop it at once.
Are you masturbating? This is the sin of self-abuse. Stop it.
Are you carrying out a relationship with a person of the opposite sex of which you would be ashamed if the films taken of it were put on the screens?
Are you carrying out a relationship with your partner in which when you are relating to him or her sexually you have to imagine that it is with another person that you are having the relationship in order to find fulfilment? You are living a lie. Stop it at once.
Do you commit adultery or fornication with anyone in your thoughts? If yes, then you are sexually sinful in your mind.
Have you written a letter or letters to someone whose contents you would not want people to read? If that is so, your letters are immoral.
Do you embrace anyone much longer in private than you would do in public? Stop it, if you do.
Do you sit closer to someone of the opposite sex, who is not your wife, in private than you would in the presence of others? If yes, stop it immediately.
Do you give gifts to someone of the opposite sex that you would not want your husband, wife, friend or spiritual leader to know about? If that is the case, all such gifts are sinful.
Is there someone of the opposite sex to whom you pay visits, whose frequency you would love to hide? This is indicative of sin, for all that is of God comes to the light.
Do you have to create an additional reason for visiting someone of the opposite sex than the true reason? If that is the case, there is something wrong with the relationship.
Do you give gifts to a member of the opposite sex with the intention to draw her to yourself for marriage, while pretending that you are just being kind to her as a sister in the Lord? This is falsehood. Repent of it immediately.
B. GOLD OR FORTUNE
How many miss God in the pursuit of money? How many leave where they should be pursuing God in order to seek for money? How many leave the careers of God’s calling in order to follow careers for the sake of money? How many marry women for the sake gold? How many marry men on the basis of how much gold these men have?
In their pursuit of gold, many lose God and do not even realise it. They think that because they still give their tithes, all is well. They hardly realise that God is no longer determinant in their lives. Money has become the determinant factor. They have lost the call for ministry and turned their backs to serving God where they ought to. They went to where they could make more money.
The words of Paul to Timothy in this matter are instructive: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root to all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6: 6-10). The tragedy is that believers read this, but do not take the warning, until they are ruined.
C. GLORY OR FAME
There is also the desire for fame. It has to do with the desire to make a name. Let us turn to another Bible passage: “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other’” (Genesis 11:1-7).
The people first said, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” Secondly, “Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.” They wanted to make a name for themselves.
It could be that you, too, want to make a name for yourself. You may be in some quest for personal identity. Could it be that you are in some pursuit for personal glory? The people said, “Come, let us” and God also said, “Come, let us.” But what was God coming down to do? He said, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Let me ask you a question – Have you ruined your walk with God on the altar of personal glory? Are you seeking your personal glory, while pretending that you are serving God? There are decisions that are taken in the direction of the pursuit of personal glory from which a man may never recover. Are you shattering all in the pursuit of personal glory? Or, are you in the pursuit of the glory of the Lord? Have you learnt how to allow your personal glory to die?
Do you know how to wage and win spiritual warfare against these three pitfalls, and to win? Unless you do, you will be in deep problems.