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(Editor's Note: Please join Bishop Butler for Part 2 of "Men Who Reach Their Potential." If you have not read Part 1, please use "Author Archives" to reference the introduction to this series on how to reach your potential in life.)

2. Idolatry
What was the second thing that stopped the Israelites from reaching their potential? Idolatry. Idolatry is a value system that we create, and in which we esteem something to be more worthy of our devotion than God. That can be power, prestige, education, money, business, or ego. Many other things can be idolatry. In other words, come to a place where they really are ahead of God.

I'm going to make this statement, bless God: It is idolatrous for you to work seven days a week.

You put the love of money and getting ahead before your devotion to God. "Yeah, but I got my own business." What does God's Word say? It says, 6 days ought a man to work and one he ought to rest, and that rest day belongs to God. Even God rested on the seventh day.

Idolatry will cause you to miss Canaan's land. Working seven days a week will break down your body, break down your mental capacity, break you down emotionally, break you down where you are always snapping and mean to everybody else. It will cause you not to be able to get the Word because you're not in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will cause you to lose your wife, lose your children, lose everything you have, while you are running after the god of money.

Don't get me wrong, money is not wrong - it's the love of money. God wants you to have plenty of money. He's the good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over God. He opens the windows of heaven and pours you out a blessing, you'll not have room enough to receive it, glory to God. That's the kind of God He is.

He wants you to have plenty of money, the right way. But idolatry will cause you to chase after the things instead of God.

Pornography is idolatry. It's based upon man's ability to create a fantasy or image in his mind. Trying to create something in your mind, that's what pornography is all about. I know many Christian men do it. You have a Bible, you love God, you may even come to church, but you watch that stuff. When the wife is asleep, there you are,in front of the television set.

Some of you even run after the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. You're so hungry, you can't wait for February to come around. It's idolatry. It's creating an image. And that image will cause you to get out of Canaan's land. You'll come to the place where you'll look at that, what you think that model is, and what that woman is on the television, and then look at your wife, and say mine don't look like that. And it will start affecting your behavior and thought process where she is concerned. She'll pick up on your attitude and she'll shut down, and it will just make things worse.

First of all, I'm here to tell you, that's not really the way people look. You know that the average woman in the United States is 5'4" and weighs 143 pounds? The average model is 5'9" and weights 120 pounds. That's the image they portray. It's less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the population that looks like that.

But Satan will try and get you stuck on that image, because what you are worshipping is having something on your arm that you can brag to the brothers about. And Satan will make you think you don't have something because she doesn't weigh a certain weight. Well, we all want to make sure that there's a certain management of weight, but I'm here to tell you that's got nothing to do with how well she can be a blessing to you. She can weigh 160 and be a great blessing unto you.

See, you're looking for an image, instead of looking for the Holy Ghost. The Israelites had an image in their mind of how they thought things were supposed to be, and that image, in part, dictated what they did. And it cost them getting into the Promised Land. God said, you can't come over into this land because of that. Idolatry was the second thing that caused them to be able to fall flat on their face.

Sacrificing your family for the sake of work is idolatry. Even as a minister, I have to say no. God called me to minister to the needs of people. I pastor several churches, and I have a lot of people I'm responsible for. And I have to say no to them, because my first responsibility is to minister to the family.

I can't do everything that comes my way. I have to say no and have to make decisions. If you win the whole world and lose your kids or lose your wife, you are a fool. I'm going to say it again. You can win the whole world and lose your wife, lose your kids, and you are a fool. Amen.

I determined I was not going to leave it to my wife to do everything. And I make sure that I involve myself in being there where my kids are concerned. Well, the result of that is that all my kids are saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. My boy is sitting here called to the ministry. Most kids don't wind up like that. Mine did. I'll tell you why. I kept my priorities together.

And your child won't want to hear anything you have to say if you were not there when they needed you. It's too late to come into their life when they're 18 years old and they're going the wrong way. It's too late then. You needed to talk to them when they were three, four, five, six, and seven-years-old. You need to be there, catching that baseball and sitting down with that boy and saying, just like you hit that ball out the park, I want to show you how you can hit everything in life out of the park. Son, let me tell you. Glory to God.

3. Fornication
Well, idolatry was one of the things that kept them out of Canaan's land. Here's a third thing. Fornication. The Word tells us that 3 and 20,000 of them fell in one day. Boy, they had a huge orgy going on. Moses went up on that mountaintop and he didn't come back right away, so people began to play. All in one day. And many of them died that very day. Out there in the wilderness.

Fornication is sex sin of all kinds. You can read throughout the word of God, great men of God who have fallen over this issue. How about Sampson? Sampson was anointed. The anointing is what we want. It will destroy every yoke of every kind. The anointing is all about that.

The anointing is not just for pastors and teachers and prophets and evangelists. The anointing is upon every man of God. There's an anointing of God that's in you, and an anointing of God that rests upon you. Having the manifestation of that anointing in your life is what will create the way for God's power to move in your life.

But the anointing can be destroyed, as it was with Sampson. Sampson was anointed of God to be a judge, and to keep the Philistines from being able to run up against Israel. That man was so anointed, he killed 1,000 perpetrators with a jawbone of an ass.

Now Hollywood depicted Sampson as this big, huge, muscular man, but if I know God, I can guess what Sampson looked like. I bet you he looked skinny. That's the way God is. I know how God operates. He looked skinny. He couldn't take on 5 men. Not in the flesh anyway. But with God, a small guy like Sampson whipped 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass. You want to know why? Because he was anointed of God. And they were afraid of him.

So, how did the devil get to him? You know how? The devil got to him with sex sin. It cost him his eyesight, cost him his freedom, cost him his anointing and eventually cost him his life.

Satan will keep you from your promised land. There have been many a man of God who were not able to carry out the ministry God called for them, or had their ministry destroyed over a little bit of cootchie-coo.

How about another one? David was a man of God. Called of God, anointed of God. God gave him the kingship. Yet, for a time, David got caught up in sex sin.

You know the story. He's up there on that roof, being a Peeping Tom. Sees that woman bathing on that roof, gets filled with lust. Gets over there in the sex sin. Even causes murder to take place.

If you take a look at the result of that, David's sex sin ran down into his family. His son was destroyed on this very issue, when in fact, it was the will of God for the lines of David to have good kings always throughout. God said that the kingdom of David would last forever. But there were some ifs in there.

Well, you know that Israel eventually was not only split in two, but eventually they lost everything over that issue. They lost everything. His seed, his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren.

See, when you get over in the sex sin, you need to understand that Satan, through demon spirits, will latch not just onto you, he will then carry that over into the very next generation. I'm going to say it again. He will carry that over into your son and your daughter. You'll wonder why your daughter is a slut. "Say, what's the matter with my daughter? Why does my daughter sleep around?" Because you did.

The door will be opened unto your family over this issue, because of your sex sin. And not only will it keep you out of the promised land, it will destroy the anointing that is in your household. You are the head of your household. You are the one who provides the protection for your household. How does that happen? That doesn't happen just because of your brute strength. That happens because of the anointing of God.

We're talking about things that will destroy the anointing. Solomon, man of God, God gave that man wisdom, because he asked for it. He started out good. God gave that man riches. Richest man on the face of the earth. Back in those days, God operated with man differently than he does today, so God allowed that man to have 700 wives.

Now, when you have 700 women of every description, don't you know that man had women of every height, weight, eye color, hair length, shape. You name it. Now, when you have 700 wives, how is it that you could be destroyed with it? You think you'd be satisfied with that.

I'm telling you, when you're over into sex sin, you'll never be satisfied. You'll move over into something else, and that won't be enough. You'll move over into something else, and that won't be enough.

Sex sin has a way of always leaking out. Let me tell you something about women. Women have radar, a sense. I don't mean to liken it to animals, but you know there are some animals that can sense when another one has been there. Now, that woman wasn't there, nobody told her, you left no evidence, but still that woman knows intuitively. She knows some way, I don't know how they do that, but they know when you've been up to something. Now, just because she hasn't said anything to you about it doesn't mean she doesn't know. I'm telling you, she knows. She knows. She just may not know what to do about it yet.

Somebody once said, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Let me tell you, hell has plenty of fury for a man that is out of the will of God. And Satan takes pleasure in destroying you.

Let me tell you about the devil. The devil will always send you that which looks best to you. The devil wants to steal your anointing. He wants to keep you out of the Canaan's land. He wants to destroy my ministry, destroy my marriage, and then lose my kids over the issue.

The point I'm making is, the devil will try and set you up. Sex sins stopped them from getting in Canaan's land. Because of that, thousands of them died in the wilderness. They didn't get into Canaan's land. That's why you cannot afford to expose yourself to that type of stuff; you cannot be in a situation.

Your best friend can't be a female. There's no such thing as a man and woman that are just friends. No, there's a reason why you are friends. There's some commonality between you. There's something you like about her, something she likes about you that causes you to be together.

"Well, I ain't touched her." Maybe not. But in the right time, right situation, right place, the things that make you friends can turn into something else. And it only takes 30 seconds to ruin your reputation, your anointing, and lose everything you have. Don't take long at all.

Now, many of us have committed fornication at some point in our life. Before we knew the Lord or whatever. Many of us have. Thank God for his mercy and grace and forgiveness. What's in the past is in the past. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sin, he's faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We have been cleansed.

It will stop the anointing. Any kind of sex sin. See, even that habitual masturbation issue. Same thing. Got an image in your mind of making love to some woman while you rub yourself. All these things are anointing-stoppers.

Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Keith Butler
Web site: Keith Butler
Keith Butler has been an ordained minister since 1974. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds diplomas from Canada Christian College and Rhema Bible Training Center. He serves in ministry with the support of his lovely wife, Pastor Deborah L. Butler, and their children: Pastor Andre Butler (granddaughters Alexis, Angela, and April), Pastor MiChelle Ferguson and husband Pastor Lee (grandson Lucas), and Minister Kristina Jenkins and husband Pastor Joel (grandsons Andrew and Austin, and granddaughter Alyssa).

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