Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28 NASB)

As pastors and church leaders Paul gives us two responsibilities in Acts 20. First, we are to be on guard for ourselves. Moral failure will destroy a ministry. For that reason, we must maintain a constant vigil over our hearts. Or, as I declare it over myself, “Guard your heart, Jim.”

One way to guard your heart is through accountability. Marsha and I have set standards for ourselves in order to guard our hearts. We will not travel or dine alone with a member of the opposite sex other than family. In unavoidable exceptions such as a business meeting, which are extremely rare, we communicate with one another the specifics, and will meet only in a very public place such as a busy restaurant. We NEVER counsel a member of the opposite sex alone. And we keep our communications with the opposite sex, including social networking, open to one another.
And, rather than try to stay strong in the face of temptation, I “2 Timothy 2:22 it” (Flee youthful lusts.) simply put, I will not put myself in a position to be tempted, and I maintain accountability.

If I am not first on guard for myself, I will fail in my guardianship of the flock.

Are you accountable? Ultimately, of course, we are all accountable to God. But it is easy to ignore that fact in the face of temptation. That’s why you need somebody in your life who has your permission to ask you the hard questions, and the guts to ask them. “Point Man” by Steve Farrar is a good place to begin working on getting your guard up.

About Pastor Jim Dixon

Jim Dixon is a husband, father, grandfather, pastor, missionary and with his wife, Marsha, an author. Jim and Marsha are founders of God's Blueprint for Marriage, a ministry based on the experiences they had during reconciliation and restoration of their tumultuous marriage that would have ended in divorce, had it not been for God's intervention. Their marriage workshop called, not surprisingly, "God's Blueprint for Marriage" shares details of their failing marriage and, more importantly, the lessons they learned during the restoration process. Their book, "God's Blueprint for Marriage", is available through their web site, Jim is Missions and Small Groups Pastor at their church, Word of Life Fellowship. He and Marsha have a strong ministry presence in Peru, where he is a leader in the Evangelical Church of Christ of Peru, a Peruvian denomination. And Marsha is founder of Mujeres de Valor (Women of Worth), a ministry helping women in Peru find their place in service to God. They also work with Victory Bible College-Peru and Victory Fellowship of Ministries, organizations dedicated to training and supporting pastors and church leaders in that nation. Their two sons, Michael and Jeffrey, are also in ministry, Jeffrey full time as Youth Pastor of their church. Additionally they have a number of "adopted" sons and daughters, many of whom are in ministry as well. Jim is a professional storm chaser. You can hear him during severe weather in NW Arkansas on 40/29.
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