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.