An Unguarded Heart
by Francis Frangipane
I know a few will regard my following remarks as coming from "the deep end." Still others will take what I'm presenting and exaggerate it beyond its legitimate boundaries. But I want to focus on one reason why some leaders have serious moral failures. I want to offer an insight into how all of us, as Christians, can protect ourselves from a similar fate.
The idea that a leader whom we've known and loved should suddenly be exposed in a devastating scandal seems incomprehensible. Certainly these who have taught others, could have taught themselves? What is it, then, that can worm into an individual's thought-life, burrow into his heart and then become so compelling that a leader is willing to risk everything he's loved and attained for a mere fulfillment of the flesh? Is it just sin?
We would think that, certainly, with help from the Holy Spirit, leaders ought to able to resist temptation. Indeed, if spiritual leaders cannot stand against the flesh, then what hope is there for the larger church? Yet, I believe the problem is not just sin nor even a lack of basic spirituality. For some, I believe the answer lies in a lack of discernment. Their heart was unguarded and their vulnerability was exploited by hell.
An Unparalleled Warfare
Please note that I am not blaming the devil for every sin we commit. The fact is, selfishness and self-indulgence, which produce sin, are basic instincts of our fallen nature. At the same time, let us also discern the unique warfare of our times. Our world has been flooded with hyper-sexuality. The "Red Light district" of the city has moved into our homes via the Internet, movies and television.
We think that what goes on in our minds stays in the mind, as though there were a privacy law protecting our thought-life. But an unguarded mind that willfully harbors darkness will have spiritual predators probing and cultivating our moral weaknesses. Indeed, through modern technology, an alternate reality, a fantasy world, has been created. It is this virtual reality within us that causes movies to be so absorbing, games so addicting and books so personally inspirational. However, when this fantasy realm descends into darkness and the soul is unprotected, demons build sexual strongholds in the human soul.
Listen well, what entertains us, actually enters us. If you are entertained by porn or sexual fantasy, you are opening a doorway in your soul to hell. You must confront this battle honestly, repent of sin and set a guard over your heart. If you don't, your battle will advance from yielding to temptation, to serious, hidden sexual bondage, to secret attempts to openly fulfill your heightened passions.
People of Destiny, Take Heed
Jesus reveals that a major source of this hellish, sexual manipulation is the Jezebel spirit (Rev. 2:20). The rampant immorality we see manifested in Western culture underscores the increasing influence of this ruler of darkness. Indeed, compare our world today with cultural standards of just fifty years ago and it's easy to see Western civilization is under siege. Too many Christians have their defenses down, and many otherwise good people have slipped into bondage.
Yet, Jezebel's arsenal includes more than lust; there is also witchcraft, which attacks and works to disarm the conscience. Remember Jehu's words? "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" (2 Kings 9:22)
We are fighting the "harlotries" and "witchcrafts" of Jezebel. Those who have been defeated by this spirit feel as thought they were drugged by their own passions. They did things that were flagrantly stupid, almost daring God (or the devil) to expose them. I am talking about the war against church leaders. How many more must fall before we realize the need for repentance and discernment?
The Subtle Attack
The Jezebel spirit is a "man whisperer." Its approach is usually not bold, but enticing, seducing. The spirit stimulates human flesh, training men and women to respond to increasingly degrading temptations. This power, which comes to disarm and wear away at one's conscience, is witchcraft.
One may argue, "My battle is just sin, not warfare." Perhaps, but for others it is a spiritual attack on an unguarded heart. It's attack is aimed at Christians in general, but more specifically against leaders and those called to important roles in God's kingdom.
There are times when I think the world has greater discernment than the church. Listen to the words of the old, Frank Sinatra song, "Witchcraft."
Those fingers in my hair
That sly come-hither stare
That strips my conscience bare
And I've got no defense for it
The heat is too intense for it
What good would common sense for it do?
'cause it's witchcraft, wicked witchcraft
And although I know it's strictly taboo
When you arouse the need in me
My heart says "Yes, indeed" in me
"Proceed with what you're leading me to"
The author of the song did, in truth, know something about witchcraft. He writes it "strips my conscience bare." He says, "I've got no defense for it/The heat is too intense for it/What good would common sense for it do?" And then, "When you arouse the need in me/My heart says, 'Yes, indeed' in me/'Proceed with what you're leading me to.'"
Set A Guard
The world has "no defense for it," but for those in the kingdom of God, "the weapons of our warfare are . . . divinely powerful" (2 Cor. 10:4). Our weapons and defenses are mighty, but we must use them.
First, the Scriptures command us, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Prov. 4:23 NIV). A guard is one armed and trained to recognize an enemy and turn away an attack. We are in war and must stay militant in attitude throughout our lives. We cannot be casual with sin or temptation. When you use the Internet, use a filtering software program as a guard. Be accountable. Don't feed your fleshly nature by watching movies whose scenes feed your sexual appetites. These kind of addictions only go from bad to worse (Rom. 1:24-28).
If you are currently in bondage to sin, as powerful as the sin seems, the enemy will also work to isolate your battle from others. The efforts we spend hiding sin are the very tools Satan uses to entrap us in it. So, talk to someone. (See Eph. 5:11-13). If you have a history of sin, then begin a process of cleansing, of washing your "robes . . . in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). Confess your sins item by item to God.
Now would be a good time to build yourself up with In Christ's Image Training or a similar program offered by other ministries. Get back in the Word, for the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Use the authority of God's word to defend your heart against spiritual attacks.
The most important thing you can do is to return full-hearted to God. The Lord promises, "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name" (Ps. 91:14). Beloved, it is time to set a guard over your heart.
Lord God, this day I humble myself before Your throne. You see my heart and the battle I have faced. I ask that You restore me, make me wiser. Let not my enemy triumph over me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and grant me the grace to walk with a pure heart, a guarded heart, before You. In Jesus' name. Amen.