hope for churches in stress

Money, Sex, and Power

In this Lenten season, consider three recurring areas of temptation. Richard Foster has named them in a book of the same title: money, sex, and power. These pitfalls are real. Anyone is susceptible, but there are safeguards to keep from falling into sin (1 Cor 10:13).

A safeguard against the misuse of money is the practice of living simply. To this end, it is good to develop a spending plan, clear up debt, and practice resourcefulness—with the aim to live below one’s means. When Christ-followers study the biblical teachings about money and put them into practice, they discover a lifestyle marked by simplicity that frees them to love boldly, give generously, and serve joyfully (Mt. 6:19-34).

In a culture sated with sexuality, amid technology that offers instant access, Christ-followers must be vigilant to maintain purity. Good intentions are not enough. Firm resolve evaporates quickly. The best protection is to adopt a risk-adverse lifestyle before the onslaught of temptation. This may include spiritual disciplines, nurturing healthy relationships, and transparency with an accountability partner (Mt. 5:27-30).

The lure of power is pernicious and often unrecognized. In some church and workplace cultures the display of authority is discouraged. Still, leaders have considerable influence. This is not wrong, but it requires watchfulness. The proper use of power, as ordained by God, is to bless and serve. Anyone entrusted with authority must ceaselessly set aside the perks of this privilege and concentrate, instead, on humble service (Lk. 22:24-27).

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Mt. 6:13).

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