Some years ago I was sharing in leadership in a men’s retreat. The worship leader was a good friend whom we’ll call Norm.
Bearded, barrel chested and very “country” in general, Norm had an eighth-grade education and was a sign-painter. He was a humble man with an uncomplicated approach to life, and he had learned to play the Autoharp by ear. He moved into another sphere and had a way of taking you with him, when he played it and worshipped Jesus!
Norm held the instrument close to his chest as his fingers caressed the strings to produce the Autoharp’s gentle music that so represented his own spirit. His love for Jesus was communicated through his big smile. God seemed to delight in coming among us when Norm was leading.
But this day it was different. Norm was trying but it just wasn’t there. The smile - - the freedom - - the presence of God and the response of the men, were missing. What was going on?
I asked God to show me what the problem was and He did. At the first break I took Norm aside and said something like this. “Norm, I know you to be a man of humility. You are also a gifted musician who enjoys leading worship. Satan has come to you many times and tried to make you proud of your gift, and of the way God comes among us when you lead, but you have remained humble. So, if he can’t get you through the front door of temptation to pride, he’ll try the back door. He’s now telling you that since you have a good gift, and you enjoy using it, that you must certainly be proud. Norm, you are not. You are a humble servant of God, and you are letting Satan’s false accusation restrain you and hold you back from leading us in worship in the way God has gifted you to.” I then prayed with him and encouraged him to “get out there and do it”. He did.
It is important that we search our hearts, with a readiness to confess sin. It’s also important that we understand the wiles of the enemy and that we learn to refuse false accusation. Certain vulnerabilities accompany every good thing God has entrusted to us. Every gift that brings richness to our life or Christian service will become the object of Satan’s efforts.
Part of the wonderful richness of maleness and masculinity is our capacity to be visually stimulated and to be easily aroused sexually. Yep, that is a “wonderful richness.”
However, countless men suffer under a cloud of shame because they misunderstand their God-given attraction to “woman.” That attraction is as natural as the sunrise, but it requires our being responsible in how we handle it. (If women, with their more spontaneous emotions and responsiveness, were as easily stimulated sexually as us guys are, we’d be in real trouble!)
We need to understand that it is not sinful to recognize that a certain woman is attractive. Several scriptures describe a certain woman as being “beautiful of face and figure.” It is sin however, when a woman other than our wife becomes the object of desire. We may not, even in our imagination, release toward her the sexual appetite that God has placed within us, which is for our wife alone. And we may need to distinguish between recognizing beauty and being drawn toward sensuality.