In 2006, Ted Haggard was the most influential evangelical in the nation: president of the National Association of Evangelicals, pastor of a Colorado mega church, writer and speaker. Yet Pastor Ted Haggard struggled with the internal turmoil of homosexuality. His actions revealed his true belief system. In his letter of dismissal to his church, Pastor Ted Haggard wrote:
When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.
Pastor Ted made two major mistakes. First, he suspended honesty that allows confession, humility, and accountability. Second, he wouldn’t admit his actions revealed his heart.
Protection and purity of the heart are essential for those in leadership. If we want to be healthy spiritually with God’s blessings over our lives and ministry, we must participate in a spiritual heart-check. This involves seeking and maintaining spiritual accountability. Without it, we can become hard-hearted and calloused toward God and life lessons. Or we might believe Satan’s lies and become deceived not to believe God. When this happens, we might fall away from following the living God. Our hearts become tough toward God and our ability to hear God’s voice decreases. The result: Our spiritual senses are dulled as our heart chases after sin. We begin to desire things, allow thoughts, and eventually act out in behaviors we despise all because we haven’t checked our hearts. Allowing another trusted godly believer to speak into our lives can be a spiritual life-saver. It’s time for the body of Christ to trust one another and let someone in to a place we’ve not been willing to do so in the past. It’s time for us to be gut-level honest. If we ponder what Scripture says to do to keep our hearts pure, it will be thrilling to focus on the positive: what we can do, instead of what we are told not to do.
“It is impossible to behave in a manner inconsistent with what you believe,” says Dr. Neil T. Anderson.
“I can’t believe I did that! I don’t know where that came from—I don’t believe things like that at all.” We might catch ourselves behaving in a manner far from what we think we believe. Instead of rationalizing an action, it indicates we actually believe; only then are we are able to come against the lie and painfully face the truth. As long as the thoughts and actions are merely written off as something external—Satan’s attacks or some overwhelming darkness—we are held in bondage to our own deeply held unconscious beliefs.
In Psalm 51, King David wanted to know these hidden beliefs of the heart and asked God to reveal them to him. He asked God to show address the reality of his heart in verse 10: “Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Take a moment to pray this same prayer for yourself right now. And then close with this prayer from Philippians 4:8:
Dear Father, help us dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Thank you for renewing a steadfast spirit within me. In Jesus’ name, amen.