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February 28, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | February 28

Character Over Comfort 

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 


At an EMM men’s retreat, we surveyed 550 men with the following: ”What causes you to disconnect from God on a continual, habitual, or fatal basis?” More than ninety percent of the men indicated (anonymously) that lust, porn, and sexual fantasy were their top reasons for spiritual disconnection. Many men took advantage of the survey’s anonymity to reveal their involvement in illicit affairs, their compulsion with/or addiction to pornography, and the inner struggles that plague their consciences and drain their spirits.


Shockingly, more than fifty men at the retreat admitted that they were having— or have had—an extramarital affair. Equally shocking was the fact that the majority of the men were serving in key leadership positions throughout the church. 


My point? You are not alone when you admit that you have something less than excellent sexual integrity. At a staff Christmas party, Derek’s wife witnessed firsthand the bonds he had formed with several women at work. They acted as if she weren’t even there—by how they talked with him and even placed their hands on him. He hadn’t stepped over the physical line with them but his wife didn’t see this as acceptable behavior. Actually, it gave her the ammunition she needed to spring her own ambush and leave the marriage. 


Men, we are watchmen who must stand guard and diligently screen what we allow past our eyeballs, ears, and brains and into our hearts for consumption. Otherwise, the full cycle of good intention, failure, and guilt repeats itself and will keep repeating itself until a final, painful event that can lead to devastation. The big issues that impact our spiritual health and relationships require more than just abstaining from certain behaviors or words. 


These are issues of the heart, mind, and soul. It is about knowing, embracing, and fighting for one’s identity in Christ over the false identities the world and the devil throw at you. It’s choosing a deep relationship with the Father over lifeless rules and legalism. The former gives us hope for sexual purity, while the latter just reminds us of our failures. Choose intimacy with the Father over a scorecard. 

Father, thank You for the strength given to protect my sexual integrity. 


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