How To Avoid Adultery

How to Avoid    ADULTERY

By Karin and Glenn Brown (USA)

 Karin and Glenn Brown have been in ministry for more than 30 years, first as assistant pastors for “Faith Christian Fellowship,” then as field representatives for FCF International. They have developed a heart to help pastors build their churches. They have ministered the Word in churches through America, with signs following.This article is reprinted with kind permission of “Faith Christian Fellowship” International and appeared in their June/July 2002 issue of “The Mentor.".

GOD’S first instruction to man was to cleave to his wife: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh”(Genesis 2:24).

The Hebrew word for “cleave” means “to never stop chasing, to adhere to, to cling to, to pursue continually.” Another definition for it is “glue.” A man has the responsibility to stay focused on his wife and to adhere to her only. In view of the number of adulterous affairs reported among ministers, it seems many men are pursuing other things, rather then their wives.

While a few men will deliberately follow after lustful intentions, this is not the case with most ministers who fall into sexual sin. My husband and I have known some of these men personally. They love God and their wives and their children. But in spite of their love and the anointing on their lives and ministries, they fell into a deceitful ploy of the devil, thus destroying their families and ministries and disillusioning those who received their ministry.

Men and women are different, and I don’t mean just physically. We have different thinking patterns, different needs, and so on (see Willard Harley’s list of different needs at the end of this article). And failure to understand these differences and meet these needs will almost certainly lead to adultery and divorce. For example, man is driven by a basic need to pursue and conquer. God made him that way. He craves that which he does not possess and will concentrate all his energies to conquer that which he desires. Having obtained his desired goal, he then shifts his efforts to another goal. This aggressiveness helps man to be the provider.

God also made man the protector. In Genesis 1:28 and 2:15, God clearly instructed man to guard, tend, and protect his environment. He was given specific commands to preserve life in the Garden. Instead of heeding those instructions, Adam failed to use his God-given authority to protect Eve and himself. He simply watched the devil deceive his wife, and then allowed the devil to steal his intimate, daily fellowship with God.

Satan uses the most effective and deceptive weapon available to attack men in their most vulnerable areas – their natural attraction to the opposite sex. He uses women to destroy the family unit and tear churches apart with an approach so subtle that it catches men unawares. Before they know it, they are hopelessly involved in extramarital affairs and wondering how it ever happened. And ministers are particularly Satan’s targets because their moral failures reflect on Christianity and the Church.

When the Pursuer Achieves His Goal

Before a man marries, he does everything possible to capture his bride. He goes to great measures to charm her and uses every romantic trick in the book to win her affections. Always tender and affectionate, never belittling or hurting her, he is on his best behaviour at all times. He will stand on his head in the corner, if that will win her over.

On his wedding day, he is the conqueror. He has won his bride, achieved that goal, and now he can get on with his life and pursue other things, mainly his career. He concentrates all his efforts now on being the provider.

This new groom doesn’t realize that life is just beginning for his bride, who has dreamed of this prince charming all her life, the one who would sweep her off her feet and carry her into her fantasy world. The very thing that attracted her to her mate is his fervent pursuit of her, his charming mannerisms, his romantic appeal. She expects this to continue. Thus, the stage is set for frustration.

The young bride has responded to the groom’s pursuing and cleaving. She yields herself to him as his helpmate, his completion, and his lover. Once the honeymoon is over, the groom suddenly begins the pursuit of his next challenge, which leaves behind a hurt and puzzled bride who wonders where her prince charming has gone. The groom, in turn, begins to notice that his yielding bride is no longer the same woman he married.

The hurt and confused wife now draws back. She loses interest in sexual pleasures. She ceases to support her husband’s interests. She even complains that he has a mistress – his career.

Ministry or Marriage?

Married couples in the ministry face the same problems, compounded by the tremendous pressures of endless hours of ministry to others, by living exemplary lives before the public, and by the continuous pressure of providing leadership in the Christian community. Too many ministers make their ministries more important than their marriages.

Men strive for appreciation and approval. If they don’t find it at home, they’ll instinctively seek it elsewhere. Most ministers who feel their wives lack enthusiasm or don’t support their ministry pour themselves back into their work. It becomes a vicious circle. The more he pours himself into the ministry, the more she feels unappreciated and withholds enthusiasm and support. The ministers genuinely want to maintain God’s anointing on their ministries, as well as receive appreciation and admiration from others.

Then another woman comes on the scene. It starts innocently enough. This woman gladly listens to his every word and feels his sadly sagging ego. Many men don’t realize that women are spiritually sensitive. They’re instinctively drawn to godly men who operate in the anointing. These women can’t separate the gift from the man. They don’t realize that the preacher is just a man when he steps down from the pulpit and goes home.

Satan comes as a thief. He doesn’t announce his arrival. His devices are subtle, crafty, and unexpected. He sends them at the most vulnerable times, using disguises to catch his prey unaware. He devises clever con jobs, attractive packages, and half-truths to appeal to the flesh.

A minister whose relationship with his wife is suffering, who has few real friends he can talk with, and who needs a woman’s touch in his life – this man is a prime target for the thief. His weapon? He uses a woman, often a staff member or one who is involved with some aspect of his ministry. Sometimes she is equally deceived, but not always.

Adulterous affairs rarely begin sexually. Usually the man is missing the friendship of his wife. He’s an easy prey for any woman with attentive ears. He falls into the tender trap because the relationship first appears to be an innocent friendship centering on similar ministry interests. This friendship soon evolves into sexual attraction.

This new friend subtly takes the place of the minister’s wife. He confides in her because she listens to him. He enjoys her companionship because she makes him feel like a man again. He can’t help but respond to her flattery and female charms. While he may sense danger, the deceit has so captured him that he dismisses all warning signs and becomes deeply entrenched in an adulterous affair.

Are You Deceived?

During this process, spiritual warfare often lessens. The minister is deceived into believing that everything is alright. After all, he still operates with the anointing.

Satan, the counterfeiter, entices and beguiles the minister to believe the opposite of God’s truth. Do you know when you are deceived?

Scoffers say, “How could a man be so deceived?” Take a good look at Samson’s life. You’ll see how Delilah nearly destroyed a man of God. Similarly, Jezebel led King Ahab to worship other gods. Women have a powerful influence on men. God designed them to support and strengthen their husbands, but Satan perverts this ability in women and uses it to kill, steal, and destroy.

Why is there such a vicious attack on Christian marriages, especially ministers’ marriages? Genesis 1:26-27 shows us that man was made in the image of God, though he was made in the two parts of male and female. Woman, literally “from the womb of man,” was skillfully crafted for the glory of man to surround him with aid and assistance as his helpmeet. When the two become one flesh, two incomplete beings become one complete being. They present the image and glory of God in one unit, one flesh. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church.

If Satan can destroy this image, the world will not see the fullness of God’s glory in the domestic realm or in the spiritual realm of the Church. If he can deceive the pastor or the one in spiritual leadership, he can deceive those under him. “Like people, like priests” (Hosea 4:9). A spirit of adultery can run rampant in a church because of this principle.

Be on Guard

Although married women commit adultery, it’s the men in ministry who get the attention. I’ve written these warning signs and danger signals with men in mind. But the principles are the same for women in ministry.

  1. Recognize the potential (1 Corinthians 10:12).

  2. Protect your marriage from theft. The husband should treat the wife as Christ does the Church, loving and protecting it (Ephesians 5:25). The wife should honour and respect the husband (Ephesians 5:24; Colossians 3:18). They should submit to one another in love and pray for each other and their marriage. Colossians 3 is an excellent chapter about relationships.

  3. Be honest about the warning signs. Examine your emotional attachments or close friendships with members of the opposite sex, married or single. Examine your thought life. Are you being flattered by admiration from the opposite sex? Do you find yourself thinking about another woman? Do you catch yourself dressing with someone else in mind?

  4. Deal with yourself at the earliest stages, before problems arise. Watch for women who somehow manipulate you into sharing your personal problems.

  5. Remind yourself of disastrous consequences that will result from your actions. Read Revelation 20.

  6. Apply preventive medicine. Continue cleaving to your wife. Recognize her as a sensitive, emotional being whose security is partly wrapped up in her husband’s love. Set aside weekly times for marital dating and romance. Have fun together, and become best friends. Don’t allow Satan to steal your intimate physical relations with each other because of stress or fatigue. God has ordained that to be a release from pressures and tension. It also prevents temptation into sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:5).

  7. Recognize and acknowledge from the pulpit your wife’s importance in your life and ministry.

  8. Whenever possible, keep the vision of marital unity before the people by having your wife seated next to you during all services.

  9. Always keep your wife by your side after services to avoid being cornered or singled out by a lone woman.

  10. If you travel, have your wife or a male companion accompany you at all times.

  11. Never compare your wife to another woman, either mentally or verbally. Continually praise her and accept her for who she is.

  12. Don’t allow yourself to be paired off with another woman, regardless of how innocent or spiritual it may appear.

  13. Never counsel a woman without another person, preferably your wife, present. Your wife will be a better judge of another woman’s motives and intents than most other people are. If you can’t have another person with you during the counsel session, keep the office door open.

  14. Make a monthly checklist of your priorities. Discuss them with your wife to maintain a good balance. When the marriage priorities are out of order, disorder soon follows in other areas.

  15. If your thoughts or actions have bordered on dangerous ground, make yourself accountable to someone in spiritual authority over you. Confess your sins to him, submit to his counsel, and contact him weekly for several months.

  16. Keep pictures of your spouse in your office, and remind yourself daily of God’s promise:“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord”(Proverbs 18:22, NKJV).


By Willard E. Harley.

The man’s five most basic needs in marriage are:

  1. Sexual fulfillment

  2. Recreational companionship

  3. An attractive spouse

  4. Domestic support

  5. Admiration.

The woman’s five most basic needs in marriage are:

  1. Affection

  2. Conversation

  3. Honesty and openness

  4. Financial support

  5. Family commitment.




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