In the world of ministry, certain hell-bait areas are more prominent than others. Many youth pastors get sloppy with sin by becoming lazy spiritually: They forget to pray, they become less diligent with studying the Word, and they even harden their hearts to caring about kids. Without verbalizing it with our mouths, deep in our hearts we know that we are allowing self-centeredness to creep in and the danger emerges as apathetic attitudes and lack of prayer go on unrepented for.
I’ve learned that my struggle is with a need for approval from adults as well as teenagers, but you may deal with anger, envy, insecurity, the list is infinite. An area I’ve witnessed leaders repeated fall victim to is the sin of emotional adultery. While few youth pastors and youth leaders actually commit the act of sexual immorality, it is extremely common for them to allow another person on the leadership team or in the group to require too much emotional energy. How do you detect emotional adultery? Ask yourself if there is one person you hope will show up at the meeting or the midweek service. They are the one you are disappointed not to see or the same individual you find yourself wanting to schedule appointments with on a regular basis. In the private moments of your heart, you begin to allow an emotional attachment to grow and without warning, they start to consume the emotion that was intended for your spouse and Jesus.
I do not know what your hell-bait area might be, but if you will allow yourself to be honest, you will admit you have one. It doesn’t make you bad, only human. And if you’ve fallen victim to yours and not turned it over to the Lord, something must be done. You might think it was harmless and nothing will come of it, but remember the Enemy always reserves the right to cash in on your personal sin in the season he deems it the most opportune.
Hell bait areas are the reason many evangelists once known worldwide as the most powerful voices to ever communicate the gospel apart from Billy Graham, are now forgotten men and spiritual has-beens. Their names are now remembered for an act committed in a moment of weakness, not for the years they spent impacting eternity. Time after time they compromised in their own hell-bait area and opened the door to the Enemy in immoral, sexual ways. I am sure they thought no one would find out, that they’d closed the door to the past. Yet the moment the Enemy decided they had reached a point when public defamation would bring about the most destruction to the Body of Christ, what appears to be overnight, their sin found its way to the cover of magazines and newspapers all over the world.
Heed words from one who has heard, witnessed, and experienced stories of men and women in ministry lying victim to a personal temptation. Years later, I stand weathered and wise enough to know all of us are human, but each of us can choose to walk reverently in the fear of the Lord. Understand you hold great responsibility and influence in the kingdom, yet do not allow yourself to be so naive to believe that your private sin will go unnoticed by the Enemy. The secret doors of your heart you assume are closed to the rest of the world, will always be the route the Enemy chooses to come in and bring devastation in the moment you least expect it and the moment he deems it the most opportune.