Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bike locks, the barking of dogs, and the fine art of temptation

"There is no such thing as an undefeatable lock," stated a rather revealing article on bicycle security.

One of the authors even posed as a thief on a busy Manhattan street, using a cordless power grinder to slice through a titanium lock and steal his own bike.  Crowds of pedestrians passed by, not stopping to notice nor even looking up from their cell phones.

What protects is not so much the strength of the lock, nor where you choose to park, or even the value of the bike.  But the most significant deterrent is simply time.  The longer it takes to steal a bike, the greater the discouragement factor.  All you have to do is slow down the thieves just long enough for them  to get discouraged and move onto easier prey.

And that is also the game changer when it comes to the personal temptations which we all have.  Our weakness is not so much in the monumental temptation before us, but in our unwillingness to do something different.  And like bike locks, none of us are invincible.  We just think we are.

We may devise shields against obvious marauders,,
but we conveniently forget that our personal "bike thieves,"
  (that which we don't recognize as temptation)
     -- a familiar fear
             a dissatisfied longing
       a repeated wound
          a resentment
              an attractive discontent
      a handy default --
may very well disguise themselves
                as old friends,
      "Let me help you with that."

And so, we live defeated lives, comforted by those thieves, those temptations that rob us blind.

Put hesitation between you and "your villain," whatever that may be.  It is not so much the temptation itself as the easy opportunity to do it.  Narrow the potential.  I can't stand on the Interstate and not expect to get hit.

A game changer requires changing the game.  Do something different.  An FBI agent once told me that the greatest residential security system is based on simple ten-dollar motion detectors and a dog.  A light suddenly switching on puts just enough doubt in an intruder's mind to move onto easier prey.  And no thief wants to mess with a big loud dog.

A friend told me that one time when she was walking up an office stairwell, she suddenly thought, "you could smoke here, and no one would know it." Immediately, she was filled with an overwhelming appetite for a cigarette.  She hadn't smoked in almost forty years, yet justifications filled her thoughts. What kept her from it? The fear of getting caught, the impact it would have on her high school daughters, and the lack of cigarettes in her purse.  It would have taken TIME, she didn't have, to indulge.  She hesitated just long enough for discernment to rush in and wave a red flag.

The truth is:  If you want something bad enough, nothing will stand in your way.  Nothing.  And in that truth also stands the victory, knowing that any safeguard can be broken  BUT any temptation can be interrupted long enough to walk past it.

All it may take is a barking dog to distract you.

No temptation has overtaken you
that is not common to man.
God is faithful,
and He will not let you be tempted
                 beyond your strength,
but with the temptation will also provide
                                   a way of escape,
       that you may be able
to endure it

                              1 Corinthians 10.13

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