What Were You Thinking By Putting Us All At Risk?

If you aren’t surprised by the latest disclosures of sexual indiscretion in the Secret Service you should at least be concerned. There are significant and serious security issues involved and it is unsettling for us to recognize that an important arm of government has been seriously compromised. Is it the diet of stereotypes like James Bond and his mixture of danger and lust that has carried the day? The images we associate with our heroes have a direct impact on our own behavior. We may not realize it but the effect is there.

A few years ago there was a popular men’s ministry that swept the nation. Men would gather from far and near to unite in a football stadium for a weekend that encouraged them to stand up and be counted as men of God. It was an intensive time of promoting spiritual growth and it was transformational for many who attended.

We would want an event like that to reach to men at all stages of spiritual and relational maturity and it did. It also provided opportunity for men to travel together and disciple each other.

Green Thought Bubbles

Green Thought Bubbles (Photo credit: iNkMan_)

Apparently boys will be boys but Christian boys show more restraint than other boys in expressing themselves in some of the things boys do. Attending bars and picking up prostitutes was too open for most (sadly not all) but the spike in porn movie rentals in the local hotels was marked. Porn movies fit the bill since they allowed the guys to escape into fantasy worlds without declaring to their friends that they had a hang up. No one would ever know – except the hotel staff and the credit card companies and their wives if they ever saw the bill.

But is it boys being boys or is it more serious?

There was no national security risk. No one was hurt, so no harm no foul? Not really. There is an issue going on here and it has the potential to seriously affect a lot of people.

We can run down lists like the view of women that porn promotes, the impact on cross-gender relationships, the impact of hiding habits and actions from others, the impact on marriage relationships, the need to escape reality to feed secret images of ourselves, the avoidance of insecurities and personal healing, and on and on,  but running such lists tends to lose the basic point. All these things hold truth worth considering but underlying them all is a very simple concept that governs who we are (the real version) and what we will become.

The old timers had a saying and it holds truth:

sow a thought,  reap an action;

sow an action, reap a habit;

sow a habit, reap a character;

sow a character, reap a destiny.

Their point was that we become what we let our minds think about. The power of our thought life is far greater than we dare to admit. In fact, you can’t change a person until you change the way they think about themselves and the focus of their thoughts. They want to kick a bad habit but nothing works until they choose to control their thoughts. All counseling will fail, all the little systems we invent will not work, the habit will continue to control the person until they change the way they think about themselves and stop feeding their minds with thoughts that lead them straight into temptation. Telling themselves they won’t think about the temptation only makes it stronger, there has to be a fundamental change in their thought processes. They must get in touch with the thoughts and perceptions that drive their behavior – and while this can be painful and embarrassing, there is no alternative.

Coverups won’t do. It’s only when we stop feeding the gorilla that we can see him start to shrink. When he gets to be a small monkey he gets easier to handle but he never goes away and will continue to ask to be fed so he can become a gorilla again. Only a fool continues to feed the gorilla because eventually he breaks out and his presence can’t be hidden any more. The foray into stupidity and sin becomes devastating and the damage to life is far-reaching. The damage to ministry tends to be terminal. If we know the outcome is bad, why would we consider ourselves intelligent yet still feed the gorilla?

Joseph understood the need to control his thoughts and relate them back to God. He avoided devastating sin that would have destroyed his ministry and the ability of God to use him.

David failed to control his thoughts and refused to keep in mind: God, the ministry he was called to, the impact his actions would have on innocent parties and the impact it would have on his kingdom. He ran headlong into disaster and paid a heavy price for his folly. He made that choice when he chose to run with his uncontrolled thoughts.

Of course the guys don’t hold the monopoly on letting their thoughts get out of control, women do the same thing by letting thoughts based on insecurity and low self-esteem drive their behavior too. The outcome is pretty much the same: crazy thinking leads to stupid actions and repeated stupid actions express themselves in habits . . .

The key to effective discipleship and personal transformation is in mind control. Not the brainwashing stuff imposed by others but the conscious choices we each learn to make. Paul got it when he wrote telling the Ephesians to “Take the helmet of salvation” (and put it on to protect your mind!) “and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (giving us something to base our thoughts on).

He was more direct with the Christians in Rome, “ Do not conform to the pattern of this world (don’t do what everyone else does), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (learn how to revolutionize your thoughts and self-talk.) Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – good, pleasing and perfect.”

What started that process of discovering the good God has for us? It was the step of transforming what we think about.

It has to be said: What thoughts are you willing to control so you can launch into what God has for you? Why not start now?


. . .read about Joseph in Genesis 39, and David in 2 Samuel 11.

… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – it anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.  Philippians 4


About CiteSimon

Sometimes we find the "right answers" but maybe it's the struggle of discovery that helps us grow most.

Posted on April 27, 2012, in Active faith, Self-awareness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on What Were You Thinking By Putting Us All At Risk?.

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