“Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house” (Proverbs 5:8 NASB).

Not long ago I had the most gut-wrenching counseling task (once again) in my life: trying to help a pastor who had fallen morally.

God exposed him, as He always does, and he lost everything in his ministry in exchange for a few moments of passing pleasure.

Satan’s Predictable Tool

The Enemy’s standard attack on every man is to lure him into moral failure. The sexual drive is strong on every level: physical, relational, emotional, even spiritual. God designed it this way to create a path for intimacy in marriage that is extraordinary and ensures the procreation of the race.

But Satan’s way is to tempt us to fulfill a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way. “Do you want to be like God? Wonderful, eat this forbidden fruit.” He presents illicit sexual thought and activity of any kind as that which will give us the greatest benefit.

But when we swallow his lies and follow his temptations, it always leads to disaster. Just look at the rest of Proverbs 5 and shudder at the inevitable results of moral sin.

Setting the Parameter

But God, as always, has a solution. We are to set a parameter that is out of range of the gravitational pull of immorality.

“Do not go near her house.”

If you do not “go near” you will never “go in.” This means more, of course, than just a physical relationship with a woman other than your wife.

Do not go near pornography. Do not go near flirting with another woman. Do not go near immorality in your thoughts. Do not go near immorality on the Internet or television.

It all begins with this parameter. And the greater your moral failure in the past, the farther out the parameter must be.

Simple but vital steps should be taken for every man, but especially for every pastor. For instance …

  • Do not ride alone in a car with a woman other than your wife.
  • Do not counsel a woman by yourself.
  • Do not confide emotionally in a woman other than your wife.
  • Do not flirt. Ever.
  • Do not go near a curious search for nudity on the television or Internet.
  • Do not take the second look.

Moral failure ALWAYS starts when you think you can handle it and begin to “draw near.” You know exactly where this begins if you have an ounce of spiritual sensitivity.

Paul would later give the same advice from a different angle. His prescription for all moral temptation? FLEE (1 Corinthians 6:18). You are never strong enough to ignore the pull when you step across the line into immoral playfulness and curiosity.

Greater men than you have fallen, and it all began with a loose moral parameter. Admit the mental game you’re playing when you cross the line, fooling yourself into thinking you can handle it.

Think carefully right now about where you are drawing near. Take every step needed to resist the devil in this area. God promises that if you resist him, he will flee.

And, do not go near!