PROOF it's a Choice!
 
 When it comes to passions, desires and temptations within our modern culture, I’m sure you’ve heard people say things like “Lust is perfectly natural; it’s just how we’re made,” or “Why would God create me with these feelings if He didn’t expect me to act on them?” or “I can’t help it, I was born this way” and then there’s the…“You don’t choose who you love and are attracted to.”

We live in a world where almost anything goes. One of the craziest things about this is the fact that one group which justifies one particular lifestyle will simultaneously oppose and judge another group with a different type of lifestyle; all the while both groups represent a social minority. In other words… it seems that no matter who you are, everyone draws some line somewhere. But the question is: What is the tool and measure being used to draw this line?

For now, I’d like to quickly expose the fallacy in the implied notion that we have no control over our thoughts and feelings and also provide you with some practical pointers for living in a healthy-minded fashion.

Let me start by saying that this message is NOT picking on any particular group. At 1st Corinthians 6:9-11, we read
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua (Jesus) and by the Spirit of our God.”
So we can see here that there are a number of things which can cost a person a place in God’s Kingdom. Notice that I’m not talking about anyone burning in Hell forever, but rather hindering God’s ability to rule in and through us now and also forfeiting our place to rule alongside God in the age to come. Having a right relationship with God and man is what makes it so important for us to learn how to keep our sin nature in check.

Now let me show you how we either make this easier or harder for ourselves every day. Let me show you in a practical way how God has given us power to CHOOSE. We choose where we allow our minds to go and it’s important that we “put to death” all things within us which go against the ways of God.

Let’s say you’re an average man who for some crazy reason happens to find himself on a beach in the summer where for some crazy reason, women tend to hang out in their underwear. And let’s say you’re walking up on a woman from behind who is lying face-down on a beach towel. From behind, she looks just like your type; the kinda of woman whose body you just can’t resist being attracted to. You can’t be totally sure yet though, until she turns around and talks to you. It's then that you’ll know if she has the “total package,” so to speak. But in the meantime, you’re having a hard time NOT checking her out. Then finally, after you’ve finished doing your fair share of gawking, you go to get this woman’s attention but she is unresponsive. You soon realize that this woman is actually dead. Are you still attracted to her now? – Or what if you realize she is actually a dummy; a life-like mannequin someone put there on the beach as a joke? Or what if she turns around and answers you with a deep voice and it turns out she’s really a man? Are you still attracted then? Or let’s say after talking to her you realize she’s your sister; your sibling who you were once told of but never met? And lastly, what would you do if you learned she was very underage? Would you allow yourself to entertain the same original thoughts you held as you approached her from behind?

The rhetorical answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘No!” In each one of these cases, the average healthy-minded man would instantly hit the attraction kill switch in his mind, even though nothing changed in his actual environment. What would change for a man in the 5 cases mentioned would be his perspective. The average man would slam the door on thoughts he deemed disgusting and inappropriate based on his own conscience.

Now…here is something for us to be aware of: When it comes our thoughts, they just don’t break into the homes of our mind unannounced and do all sorts of damage which we never intended. It’s more like we stand at the door of our mind and decide whether or not we are going to tell a thought to go away or welcome it in to stay. It’s here where we have to identify if something is healthy or unhealthy and based on our own value system, we slam the door on what is unhealthy. But again…the question is, where are we deriving our value system which tells us whether or not something is healthy in the first place? I suggest we get our value system from The One True God. Let His Spirit and inspired Scriptures be our guide. On this note, James 1:13-15 reads:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
Now let’s go back to the 5 cases mentioned earlier. Each one of them exists in our real world today and has a technical name (i.e. necrophilia, paraphilia, homosexuality, incest and pedophilia). Furthermore, in a healthy society, all of them are considered deviations and perversions. In most cases, people who participate in the associated behaviors represent a minority versus a majority.

And so, it is here where we should note something very important: The mere fact each and every one of these perversions exist [as minority behavior] among societies today is proof that on a regular basis, many people CHOOSE to not succumb to thoughts associated with the abnormalities described. People are choosing every day to NOT lust after things or people who their consciences have told them it is inappropriate to find attractive. We even see these choices adjusted whenever people find themselves in less than desirable situations and/or situations which challenge people's integrity (e.g. prisons & priests). In other words, no one was born with an automatic lust for small children. Rather, people choose to deem this as being wrong. Likewise, no one was born to lust after other people’s spouses, animals, objects or people of the same sex. We all, however, were born with a sin nature which we must learn to keep in check daily (see Luke 9:23). This is all very profound and all of us can use this knowledge in our lives every day. We can actually allow our built in values to work for us. Young men, for example, who are trying to live holy lives as single men can learn to look at every woman who they are not married to as being their literal sister, until such a time when it is appropriate for gears to be shifted in their minds. Older men can choose to see younger women as daughters as opposed to objects of pleasure. This list could go on and on and this concept applies to both men and women.

In conclusion: We should all be aware that there are powers and principalities at play (Ephesians 6:12) which are bent on degrading the minds of individuals, families and societies as a whole. Accordingly, all of us get bombarded with things which can tempt us in one way or another. To make matters worse, agents of evil have an ally within our own human nature and physical senses. When we allow it, this fleshly nature [described in Romans 7] is the part of us which willingly opens our mind’s door to unhealthy thoughts. We must learn to put this part of us to death each day (Luke 9:23) and seek to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. We must do this until the time we are raised in the likeness of our beloved Messiah. Until then, let’s not make things harder on ourselves by choosing to meditate on unhealthy thoughts or justifying why we have the right to do so.
Chew on this!