Random Blog Clay Feet: April 04, 2008
Feel free to leave your own comments or questions. If you would like to be in contact with me without having it published let me know in your comment and leave your email address and I will not publish that comment.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Brand Name Locks

Last night another analogy came to my mind that helps me understand issues of the heart and of the Kingdom a little better.

I was for some reason contemplating the problem of lust and seduction and wondering what the real force is that keeps the two apart most of the time. In my mind it sort of appears like a house or some container that has inside of it a craving that varies in intensity depending on the mood and conditions and stimulations at the moment. I think most people are familiar with inner desires that are not right but are present anyway. Some acknowledge them and others try to hide them or suppress them or deny them. But they are still present in every person who is born as a sinner onto this planet.

This desire, according to James, is called lust. It does not mean that it has anything to do with sexual issues although it very often does. But it is certainly capable of great intensity at times and we are very fearful of it getting out of control, usually because of fear of what others will think about us.

On the outside of the room or enclosure there are at times situations or people that may be calculated to intensify and draw that lust out into the open. I see this outside force as seduction. These two forces act like a pair of attracting magnets that naturally pull toward each other to create a close union called indulgence. What happens after that is not yet part of what I am considering although it always has consequences. (Study James 1)

What I began pondering is; what is the element that usually keeps these two powerful forces from joining immediately together? What prevents people, at least for a time, from indulging immediately in whatever evil desire comes up in their imagination and desires? Now I know there may be some people who do not wait long at all to try to indulge their fantasies, but I am talking about the majority of people who we generally consider “normal”, whatever that may denote. What keeps most of us from simply doing whatever crosses our mind at the moment no matter how shameful or repulsive it may be?

Some might say self-control, and that is technically accurate. But there is always an underlying reason as a motivation for that self-control and I am looking for the real motivation, not the idealistic ones that we want others to believe is our reason. I believe that if we are completely honest with our hearts that most of us, if not all, would have to say most of the time that the door that keeps us from allowing the cravings inside from joining the opportunities on the outside is fear. Fear is most often the main reason for most self-control. Fear is the motive for outside control as well. Look around at nearly everything in this world and it is obvious that fear is the most common tool used to keep order and organization and “harmony” in this world.

Fear is counted on to keep potential criminals from committing more crimes. There is non-stop debate about how severe punishments have to become and how effective they are as a deterrent against more crime. Fear of economic loss is counted on to control the speed of traffic and pretty much every other one of the millions of increasing laws and rules and statutes multiplying in this world. Along with that is fear of loss of freedom in the threat of jail for those who get caught violating most of these artificial determinations. Most of the judicial system is largely unimaginative in its use of fear in this respect. Fines and imprisonment is about the only punishments employed in keeping levels of fear very high in order to intimidate people into complying with societies decisions.

But outside of this there is also a great deal of fear potential that keeps nearly everyone in some level of apprehension all of the time and affects their decisions and behaviors. One of the biggest of these fears is fear of what others think about us. This involves shame which is one of the greatest motivators used in this world to keep people in fear. Shame is the devaluation of a person's worth. It is stripping them of things that make them feel valuable and intentionally trying to make them feel more worthless. Because we all tend to depend on our clothes, our looks, our possessions and our reputations to define our value to some extent, we are all vulnerable to the fear of being stripped of some level of value when these things are threatened to be removed or discredited.

So this is the system of checks and balances set up in our world to keep us more or less in line with the rules determined by society, the rules set up as the way we want to live with each other. This is really the world's solution to the sin problem which is the inner cravings of selfishness and the desire to exploit others for our own pleasure and benefit. We make rules, assign artificial values to people and things and then threaten to strip anyone of some or all of those values if they do not live up to our standards. This is counted on to keep each person's inner cravings of lust from linking up with the temptations or seductions from the outside and disrupting our group standards. Fear is the door, or more like the lock on the door, that stands between the sin inside of us and the expressions of that sin outside of us.

We often do create many smaller outlets to satisfy or reduce the pressure of the lust inside of us that are socially acceptable. We even provide many avenues of seduction to intensify the attractions outside of us that often are supposedly to counterbalance and equalize the pressure inside of us without completely opening the door to full-blown indulgence. Depending on where you live and what crowd you hang out with it is often acceptable to have measured amounts of indulgence as long as the behavior is deemed not too harmful to everyone involved. As long as the door is not allowed to completely open then people are considered to be acceptable in their expressions of lust and are viewed as having enough self-control to avoid coming under the total control of the state.

This whole set-up and way of reasoning has pretty much completely infiltrated all of religion as well. Fear is counted on to be the reliable barrier to keep us from sinning too much and to be the basis for our self-control. Religion uses guilt and shame even more effectively than the world does and believes firmly that this is what God's plan is as revealed in the Bible. They point to centuries of God's interactions with His people and conclude that the balance of power must always include guilt, fear and control as the main ingredients for achieving success, perfection or whatever goal a person happens to believe in.

So we live our life depending on the locks of fear to keep the doors secured that prevent our inner urges from consummating a relationship with the seductions outside to result in conception of open sins of indulgence. We install and key these locks of fear around our hearts and memories and are careful who we give spare keys to so that we feel confident we can pass through times of increased seduction without the doors and locks failing us. As long as no one outside can pick our locks we feel that we are secure and can maintain the security of our souls. We are striving toward perfection and our security must be very tight.

Many people spend a great deal of time tinkering and trying to redesign the combinations inside their locks. They want to be sure that the ratios and formulas that make up their fears are just right so that no one else will be able to break in and expose what is securely hidden away deep in their hearts. In fact, they have multiple doors and passageways and inner chambers and security systems with separate fear locks to make sure that no past pain or trigger will be able to be accessed by sympathizing, arousing seductions from the outside. And the longer their security system keeps them unexposed the more their confidence grows that they have perfected the right security system that will keep them safe and secure all the way through any times of trouble and will assure them a place in heaven.

But what came to my attention like a flash of light last night was this thought: if I depend on the brand of locks called Fear to keep my heart and soul safe from outside violation, who might potentially have access to a master key for this brand of locks? Who owns the company that produces this line of security? And wouldn't it make sense that quite possibly the owner of the lock company might just know more about how those locks work far better than I could ever know? And if so, then might I be potentially vulnerable to being compromised by an outside master key when I am counting on my locks the most to protect me under the most dangerous circumstances? What if this is something I have not taken into consideration in my attempts to assemble my vast network of security designed around this brand of locks? No matter how many locks and doors I have in place to keep my reputation and character in line with what I believe to be truth, if those locks are using security equipment from the supplier of the brand called Fear, then potentially I may be basing my confidence and my soul's security on a system of locks that might be easily compromised when I least suspect it.

I have had a growing awareness over recent time of the danger of counting on fear to be the safety and security apparatus for any part of my relationship with God or my readiness for heaven. I am repeatedly warned about the danger of fear throughout the Bible. To not be afraid is possibly the most frequently given command in all of Scripture. So if this is such an important issue to God, why is fear still the brand of choice for nearly all Christians that I know? I know it has a very high reputation and it has a long history of holding things together externally, but if it is a spirit that does not come from God then how reliable is it to keep me safe when the times of testing explode on my life? Can I really afford to mingle the locks invented by the enemy of God into the building that God is trying to assemble as His temple?