Girls, Gold, and Glory
If a man of God is to fulfill his destiny, if he is to bear fruit for Yeshua's (Jesus) Kingdom, if he is to walk in intimacy with God and integrity before men, he must watch out for three spiritual dangers that face every man. These three dangers may be seen as the three primary tests of discipleship. They represent the basic temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Therefore they are always present, no matter whether one is young or old. We can summarize them in this simple phrase, "GIRLS, GOLD, and GLORY".
Here we are not talking about the blessed joys of sexual and romantic relations between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. That blessing comes from God and is found at the very beginning of Genesis. By "girls" here we mean just the opposite: the temptation of letting lustful thoughts carry a man across the line to sexual sin, or to dominate his imagination so that his personal relationship with God is weakened or destroyed.
Since the male–female relationship is such a foundational blessing from God, the temptation to go over board is equally powerful. Our relationship with God is also described as a "spiritual marital union". Therefore romantic fantasies are often difficult to control because they touch a part of the heart that is reserved for our intimate relationship with God.
We are "love beings", created to love God and love one another. The line between love and lust is clearly defined by covenant: the covenant of marriage and our covenant with God.
Lustful thoughts must be fought actively and aggressively. Settling for simply "not sinning" will not work. Yeshua rebuked the congregation at Thyatira for even "tolerating" the spirit of Jezebel and sexual immorality (Revelation 2:20). Timothy is instructed by Paul (Shaul) to "flee" from youthful lusts (I Timothy 6:11; II Timothy 2:22), not just to "not sin". The way to holiness is to "distance" ourselves from adultery (I Thessalonians 4:3), not just to "not commit" it.
A man should never let himself be alone in a closed room or building with a woman who is not his wife (or immediate family) at any time for any reason - including "prayer" and "counseling". In these days of rampant Jezebel spirits, the problem is not only one of sin, but also of accusation (and law suit) even when there was no sin committed at all.
God blesses us not only spiritually but also materially. That material prosperity is ultimately God's will for all of us as can be seen in the descriptions of the garden of Eden, the covenant of Abraham, the blessings of the Torah, the godly kingdoms of Israel, the new heavens and earth, etc. Yet that blessing also represents a temptation.
The past few years have seen an onslaught of court cases against Israeli government officials for financial corruption. The misuse of finances in Christian ministry has been embarrassing. Businessmen around the world are mistrusted because of greed. It is hard for God to find people whom He can trust with the resources of this world. (One of them I do know, - "D", a man with four young children, who gives away millions, yet works daily in humility; and his family lives modestly. It can happen.)
The use of finances in this world is a TEST of faithfulness to receive government authority in the world to come. ("Because you were faithful in little, have authority over ten cities" – Luke 19:17. "If you have not been faithful in unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? – Luke 16:11) There is not a lack of financial resources, but a lack of faithful stewardship.
It is not enough to simply "not steal". We must be aggressive and active in both generosity and integrity. When there are expenses in the ministry and cash donations, we must pursue the right receipting and accountability. We do not just "go along" with legal requirements; we seek to be an example of how to report correctly. ("I weighed out to them the silver and the gold… for the offering for the house of God… Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders" – Ezra 8:25-29. "Avoiding that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift, providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" – II Corinthians 8:20-21.)
We are not only willing to give, but focused to push money forward toward goals that will bless people and build the kingdom of God. It takes concentrated effort to give larger sums of money that will make a real difference in the world and bear much fruit.
The root of the rebellion of Satan was his jealousy over God's glory, particularly when he saw that God was willing to share that glory with someone else other than him (in this case, Adam). God is filled with glory, and our ultimate destiny is to be glorified with Him (Romans 8:30; Hebrews 2:10; I Corinthians 2:7). This huge blessing also represents a huge temptation.
Yeshua's own disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest at the very time He was explaining to them that He had to be crucified (Luke 22:24, Mark 9:30-35). Humility is the only way to go on to the great things that God wants for us. We have to humble ourselves, not wait for Him to do it for us.
John the Baptizer gives us a great example of how to stay humble in ministry. He was asked, "Are you the Messiah?" He answered simply, "I am not." "Are you Elijah?" Again he replied, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And again, "I am not" – John 1:19-21. John was not only being truthful, he was ruthlessly, repeatedly, relentlessly guarding himself from the encroaching influence of pride.
Yeshua taught us that whether we receive great honor or no honor, we should see ourselves as simple servants, preparing food for our master (Luke 17:10).
Lust is deceptive (Ephesians 4:22); money is deceptive (Mark 4:19); honor is deceptive (Luke 4:6). Let us not be fooled. As servants of the Lord, we are to be blind and deaf (Isaiah 42:19) - not spiritually or physically, but to the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. As men of God and disciples of Yeshua, let us walk in victory in these three basic areas: girls, gold and glory.
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