Monday, January 22, 2007

SIN 2007: News from the Frontline

Well the first ten days of battle are largely unremarkable. Other than to say, yes I have blown it repeatedly already. Let's see, I became angry when notoriously hostile Memphis gate agent "Bob" (not his real name) refused to list me for the jumpseat last Saturday (1/13). As you may know, I am an airline pilot by profession and I commute back and forth to Memphis, TN. where I am based. Well, Bob (I like to refer to him as "little Attilah") refused to list me for the jumpseat; even though I arrived well before departure time, because he was too tied up with other matters. Since this was the last flight home to Atlanta that evening, I had to spend the night at the airport. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I didn't give "Bob" the proverbial piece of my mind; however, I did say some rather rude things about his height and his uncanny resemblance to the "Travelocity travel gnome" inside my head. I repent, I repent . . . I guess.

Along with that, I had my usual variety of improper thoughts regarding some very attractive women who have been passengers on my flights and in the various airports and cities I've traveled to. In order to snuff them out as quickly as I can, I have taken the advice of pastor John Piper. In his devotional, "Pierced by the Word" (which is excellent by the way), he gives this antidote for lustful thoughts:

" . . . have you ever in the first five seconds of temptation demanded of your mind that it look steadfastly at the crucified form of Jesus Christ? Picture this. You have just seen a peek-a-boo blouse inviting further fantasy. You have five seconds . . . demand of your mind that it fix its gaze on Christ on the cross. Use all your fantasizing power to see His lacerated back. Thirty-nine lashes left little flesh intact. He heaves with His breath up and down against the rough vertical beam of the cross. Each breath puts splinters into the lacerations. The Lord gasps. From time to time He screams out with intolerable pain. He tries to pull away from the wood and the massive spokes through His wrists rip into the nerve endings and He screams again with agony and pushes up with His feet to give some relief to His wrists. But the bones and nerves in His pierced feet crush against each other with anguish and He screams again. There is no relief. His throat is raw from screaming and thirst. He loses His breath and thinks He is suffocating, and suddenly His body involuntarily gasps for air and all the injuries unite in pain. In torment, He forgets about the crown of two-inch thorns and throws His head back in desperation, only to hit one of the thorns an inch into His skull. His voice reaches a soprano pitch of pain and sobs break over His pain-wracked body as every cry brings more and more pain."

"Now, I am not thinking about the blouse anymore. I am at Calvary. These two images are not compatible. If you will use the muscle of your brain to pursue - violently pursue with the muscle of your mind - images of Christ crucified with the same creative energy that you use to pursue sexual fantasies, you will kill them. But it must start in the first five seconds - and not give up."

Unfortunately, I am still sometimes a little slow on the draw. But when I do employ Dr. Piper's strategy I am able to snuff out the snuff. . .Thank God! I have also found that visualizing the crucifixion scene from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is a vivid means to kill lusty thoughts.

It seems that the largest part of my war is between my ears, as it is for most of us. Although, these sins haven't "hurt anybody", I realize first and foremost that my sin is against the Holy God who has sacrificed His best for His children. It is to my shame that I have betrayed the precious blood of my Savior and Lord and I long for the day when this will not or ever can be the case again.

Has their been any victory in this part of the battle? Why, certainly . . .
We have His promise "that He who began a good work in you WILL bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."(Phil. 1:6)

The War Continues . . .

B. L. B. B.
(Be Like the Bereans, Baby!)