Don’t think of a pink elephant!
I bet I can guess what you are thinking about. In the movie Inception, a character addressed the easiest way to plant an idea in a person’s mind…tell them not to think about it.
Don’t look down!
Who hasn’t been up high and heard someone shout this never followed piece of advice, “Don’t look Down!”? Out of reverse psychology, a sense of rebellion or instinct, we do the exact opposite of what we are told faster than we have ever followed good advice in our lives.
Don’t push this button.
I remember being on a website years ago that understood this principle of human nature. They had a big link in the form of a button with the words written underneath, “Don’t Push.” I looked at it and immediately recognized what the web designer was trying to do. “What kind of an idiot does he think I am?” I mock, my finger hovering over the mouse. I am not going to press the button; of course that would be silly. I tilt my head and glance at the button. It seems to glisten, even call out to me, “Push me, what have you got to lose?”
Before I know it, I am in the most pointless battle of will. This stupid button has become a cake on a day of a fast, it’s my bed on a long, late night of working, it’s window shopping while I am trying to save money, a beautiful girl walking by in a revealing outfit. Finally I decide that I cannot push the button, but decide to push it anyway.
No Man’s Battle
In the year 2000, a book came out called Every Man’s Battle about how much men struggle against lust. It went into the difficulty men have with sleeping around, pornography, and masturbation. It was a book that needed to be written. Far too many men struggle in silence, or worse, struggle in confusion. They don’t know what is right and wrong and they are victims to their flesh.
There is no doubt that men struggle with lust. Every human being struggles with some kind of lust.
Men also aren’t, shockingly, very comfortable talking about their struggles. Sin loves darkness, and when we aren’t honest about where we’re at more severe problems tend to form.
Every man is not the same, and therefore there are different methods that lead to purity. For some, having regular accountability meetings isn’t focusing on the problem, it is focusing on the solution, but for others it is focusing on all the wrong things.
The human brain does not register NOT.
Whenever I have had to live without something, whether a fast from TV, sleeping, or food, the more I focus on what I am not supposed to do the harder the fast becomes.
I once had a friend that struggled with a pornography addiction. He tried everything to stop. He tried everything until… he stopped. He stopped trying and he stopped watching. For him the struggle to fight against pornography became such a focus in his life that he was thinking about pornography constantly. He was thinking about not doing it, but that was just a button he wasn’t supposed to push. He realized he wasn’t strong enough to fight it, but he also didn’t want to give in to it. He did know God was strong enough to deal with it.
Read your Bible, pray. Have strong relationships with believers, give them insight into your lives, be open, be honest, and move. Don’t sit still in your sin, but go out and live for God, live for others. There are many things you can do to control an unhealthy habit in your life. One of the best ways is creating more healthy habits.
Every man should not feel like they are drafted into a war that they are forced to fight for their entire life. Some men should not fight this battle. If you fight lust in your life with all your heart, mind, and soul, you will be defeated. Instead, love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and sin will have no place. Michelle Lenk, a friend who has given many talks on purity, explains that purity is not about what you aren’t doing but the direction you ARE going.
If you run up to a line enough times you will cross it. If you look at that button that says don’t push long enough eventually you will push the button.
Live focused on what you are doing, not what you aren’t.
Where you are going is more exciting, anyway. A life of freedom is a life free of addictions. A life of love is happier than a life of pleasure. A life of God is more exciting than a life of sin. So why focus on where you don’t want to go? When you walk, do you look in the direction you don’t want to walk?
What do you think — is it better to focus on what you shouldn’t do or what you should? How do you balance having accountability and openness and not focusing on temptations and negative behaviors?