Once upon a time I wanted to be a Christian leader. I wanted to be in the public spotlight. I lusted for the attention of the crowds and that wasn't the only thing I lusted for.
Then in January 2006 I was in a sex scandal and it changed my life. I have struggled with sexual temptation much of my adult life.
But back to that January night. The lust started with a porn site. I saw graphic images and decided I wanted to have sex that night. Soon I was in my car looking for a prostitute and I spotted an attractive woman on the side of the road.
The woman was an undercover cop. Soon I was arrested. It was humiliating. I had never been arrested before. A police car on a side street pulled out with its sirens on. I was handcuffed, a mug shot was taken and I was given a citation to appear in court.
For months I struggled with depression. I was ashamed of my actions. But hope showed up as I listened to the Bible from a DVD. 2 Timothy chapter 2 challenged me.
In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. - 2 Timothy 2:20-22 NLT
I wanted to be a clean person that God could use for his purposes. I knew about the biblical requirements for church elder and knew that I was disqualified from church leadership. I had not been above reproach.
The verses also challenged me to find Christian friends for companionship. Ironically, while I had desired to be a leader, I was also an introvert. As a loner I had spent years facing struggles alone.
While waiting for my court date, my desire to be a Christian leader died. Instead I wanted to be invisible, to serve God outside the spotlight.
The court date arrived. I plead guilty and paid a fine. I was relieved to have put this situation behind me. But temptation reared its ugly head again.
Suddenly I was in my car again looking for trouble ... and this scared me! The Bible verse Proverbs 26:11 comes to mind: "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
I drove home scared, thankful that I didn't pick up anyone but worried that I was so close to committing this crime again. I had to do something. I needed boundaries to keep me out of trouble. So I cut up my debit card and decided to carry the very minimum of cash and only when I needed it for gas and groceries.
I couldn't afford a prostitute if I didn't have money on me. Creating this financial boundary was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Then I joined a church and found a place to serve God - the prayer ministry. Now I served God without drawing attention to myself.
One of the things lacking in my life was an accountability partner so I found one.
However, there was one question that I needed to answer: Is there a way I can help prostitutes find honest employment? Knowing my weaknesses it was obvious I needed to avoid situations that would tempt me. I learned about groups helping set free victims of human trafficking. I could financially support them.
So the most important lesson I learned from this scandal was how to serve God in private. The prayer closet is a great place that many Christians avoid. As I serve in secret, my life becomes less about "I" and more about Him.
The author is an anonymous follower of Jesus Christ.