Thinking Biblically

I was going to title this post Heartburn,  but I think I’ve already used that.  And this title is probably more to the point, anyway.

This is not a new concept. When I went looking for an illustration, they were abundant. Hundreds of other people have written recently on this topic.

And yet–look at the incredible election cycle we’re enduring, just for starters. Neither of the candidates thinks biblically, and that’s all we need to know about why we’re in this mess.

However, this post is not intended to be political; it is intended to be very personal, as if you and I were sitting together, perhaps in my counseling office.  I can’t hear all of the pain and problems you’re dealing with, but I can tell you this:  The answer lies in learning to think biblically about your situation.

 You can get some good advice from people who aren’t particularly biblical thinkers.  We go to unsaved doctors and dentists and so on all the time and follow the directions they offer us. But when it comes to matters of principle, matters of relationships, matters of walking wisely in this worn out old world, then you need to go to God’s Word.

Thing is, we can’t think biblically if we’re not reading the Bible; if we’re not studying, not under good biblical preaching, not learning and growing in the Word.

It is that with which we are filled that controls our thoughts, behaviors, words and emotions. If we are filled with lust, then that’s what will be evident in our lives.  If we are filled with hatred, anger, bitterness, envy, self—then that’s what will be manifest in our lives, no matter how hard we try to cover it all over with a gloss of spirituality.

We live in a world that bombards us with lust. Advertisements, billboards, prime time TV, so-called music that is full of anger, violence, and lust; all these things are tempting us at every turn.  I’ve had more than one man in my office tell me that it’s really hard for a normal man to maintain a pure mind these days.  Actually, I think that’s always been the case; I think it’s just getting worse as we move farther away from biblical concepts of thought, behavior, appearance, and language.

Yes, I have heartburn.  I have deep concerns for young men entering a world that tells them pornography is just fine; that the objectification of a woman’s body is no big deal; that masturbating to porn is normal and healthy because, you know, a man has needs.

I am even more amazed that (usually, not always) younger women are becoming more involved in watching porn, finding it exciting, stimulating, fun.  They see no problem with it, and think I’m just too old-school to understand.

No, I’m not.  I do understand.  I also understand that rattlesnakes will kill  you if you play with them. I avoid what I know can cause me terrible harm.

The problem with porn is that it’s a fake relationship that requires nothing of the watcher; at the same time, it creates a lack of interest in the watcher’s spouse, because sexual needs are being met while watching porn.

You may think it’s spicing up your sex life. In actuality, it’s slowly poisoning your mind and emotions, and you will pay the penalty in a broken marriage or a broken life. It’s evil. It is not biblical, it does not come from God.

Keep in mind that the first thing Adam and Eve noticed after they sinned was NOT that they had disobeyed the God of Creation; it was NOT that the fruit left a bitter aftertaste. No, it was that they were naked. The very first thing the scaly finger of Satan corrupted after the Fall was human sexuality, and we’ve been having trouble with it ever since.

I could go on at length here, but I have neither the time nor the energy at the moment. Maybe there will be more along this line on this blog on Fridays, I don’t know.

What I know is that it’s time Bible-believing Christians stop participating in what the world tells us is okay.  It’s time we acknowledge to fellow believers that we’re dealing with sin in our lives, and to ask them for prayer and accountability. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other (James 5:16). That doesn’t mean we go into gross detail. It means we admit that we’re tempted, have fallen to something sinful, that we need the prayer support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s all.  It’s time that our prayer requests not be just a list of physical problems. Nothing wrong with holding each other up in prayer for health issues, but really, is that all we have to pray about?

Philippians 2:5.  Colossians 3:16. Galations 5:16.  Just for starters.

Friday Counseling Issues: Secrets

I haven’t come to any hard and fast conclusions about my topic today.  Something a friend said got me thinking about the secrets we keep, why we keep them, from whom we keep them. So I’m just sort of letting my thoughts drip out of my fingers onto my keyboard this morning, and we’ll see what happens.

Sometimes we keep secrets out of guilt. We don’t want others–not even those closest to us–to know about our darkest selves.  If we are keeping secrets about sinful behavior or attitudes, then I think we’re in trouble. To keep sin secret is to allow it to grow and take hold.  It becomes one of those strong holds mentioned in II Cor. 10: 4. When we indulge in behaviors and thoughts that we know we must keep hidden even from those closest to us, we are truly walking a dangerous path.

There was a young man who was handsome, intelligent, and personable. He first saw pornography when he was about 10.  It took a strong hold in his mind, and finally in his heart. Today, 20 years later, his marriage is in danger because he finally acted out on what he’d been hiding for all those years. His secret, though, since it has been exposed, has lost all its appeal for him and he is truly broken before God and his family. I think they’re going to make it.

Not all secret sin is so clearly sinful, though. Sometimes we hide things that, in themselves, are not really sinful. Sneaking chocolate into the house in your purse?  Chocolate isn’t sinful.  Hiding it and indulging in it secretly?  Well, if you’re saying things like, “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight!  I’m so careful about what I eat!”  Now you’re sinning, because you’re deliberately choosing to sabotage your health–and you’re lying about it.

Reading material. Music. You have no idea how easy it is to hide horrible “music” (I’m sorry, I don’t consider a lot of what passes for music these days to really be musical) in the middle of an iPod, or on a tablet or any other electronic device. Did you know that kids know how to access porn on their X-Box games?  They can get online to play with the kid down the street, and that’s all you as a parent are aware of. What you don’t know is that they’re accessing porn sites together.

But lets go to a different kind of secret.  Maybe you had a relationship prior to meeting your spouse, and you were sexually involved with that person. You don’t want your spouse to know, because you’re afraid he would leave you. Maybe it wasn’t sexual sin.  Maybe you experimented with drugs.  Maybe you drank too much.  Maybe you stole money  or shoplifted to get things you thought you had to have.

Or maybe the appearance of spirituality is nothing more than a facade, and you are dishonest with your spouse about what she thinks is a close relationship with the Lord.  Maybe you are a spiritual leader in your church:  Pastor, deacon, bishop, elder, teacher, ministry leader.  But maybe it’s all a facade, and you know it is, but you’ve fooled everyone else including your family.

It happens all the time.

So give me some feedback, okay?  Why do you think we put on these false fronts to begin with?  Why is it so hard to admit to previous sin that may be affecting your marriage now?   Should you “tell all,”  or are there some things that need to stay buried in the past?  If you have confessed and repented of sin to God, do you need to share that with your spouse if he wasn’t involved in any way, if it happened way before you met him?

If you are struggling spiritually, maybe fighting depression, should you keep that a secret from your spouse in order not to worry her?

How about your kids?  What do they need to know about you?  What should you keep from them? When does keeping a secret become passive lying?

I’d love to hear what you have to say about all this.