I arrive home after a hard day of work, my stomach growling with the usual pre-supper angst. The moment my zombie carcass crosses the threshold into my home, I’m welcomed back into the land of the living by the delectable aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns. The smell? ATTRACTIVE, baby. I hear the call, I want to answer.
And I don’t shrug my shoulders, wonder who the buns are for, and shuffle upstairs. Oh, no. I yield to the emotional wave cresting around me, let it have me. I embrace the power of ATTRACTION.
My taste buds stand up on end like a choir singing hallelujah. I’m ATTRACTED.
A shiver of anticipation ripples through me as I imagine stuffing my cheeks with the first gooey cube. Attraction has found momentum, and now I’m AROUSED.
Is that the end of the story? Nope? Today I want to talk about what happens next.
Bun-wise, the moment I bend to the culinary arousal surging through me and set my sights on having one, I’m attracted. Attracted means, “To come to a place or participate in a venture… to have a sexual or romantic interest in someone…”
In other words, when we find something or some one attrac-tive, the potential for pull is created. When the pull is activated, that’s the power of attrac-tion. When the pull is amplified, that’s arousal, keeping in mind that the more intense the arousal, the more difficult it will be to resist the pull toward it. When we’re attracted, it means we’ve just begun to act on the attraction or arousal, even if all we’ve done is embraced the swelling desire.
The definition of attrac-ted, you’ll notice, involves the creation of an interest. “To interest someone in” something, according to the dictionary, means to “cause someone to undertake or acquire” it.
Do you see the progression? You could say that when we find someone attractive, that’s like our inner phone ringing. Embracing the power of attraction is like picking up the phone. When arousal is embraced it’s like hearing the voice, being excited by it. The moment I decide to answer, I’m attracted—connection established.
But interest goes a step further. Interest is the intention to move closer, to do something with the connection we’ve just made. It’s what we do with the conversation, the “can we meet somewhere private?” Our attraction has become arousal that’s become connection that’s become deliberate. It’s become an official pursuit.
The moment some thing or some one becomes a pursuit, it means we’ve begun to form a plan that includes a path. The uncharted waters between us have now been measured and we’ve set out to cross the divide. This often happens almost unconsciously because it feels good to be attracted to someone and that unrealized potential we feel is always the path of least resistance.
We have to be careful which desires we allow ourselves to connect with. Some desires are godly and are meant to be pursued. Others are deceitful and corrupt us (Ephesians 4:22). This is so important that I’m going to outline it again.
- To embrace what we find attractive is to come under the power of attraction.
- To embrace this power awakens arousal, meaning we are officially attracted and feel a connection to the person.
- That connection sparks an interest we’re drawn to pursue.
- That pursuit soon finds a pathway.
When we explore the path of out of bounds attraction, our life begins to bank sharply down the throaty maw of death. As David wrote, “The lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.” Not good. So if something unhealthy is attractive to me, I must shut down my response or I will activate the power of attraction and become attracted.
One of the most powerful principles of temptation is this: Rejecting a connection is easier than severing one.
What does this mean for you? That’s your job to figure out. May we all have the courage to do… or not do… what it takes.
May we heed the advice of scripture (paraphrased slightly to address both genders): “These commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral one, from the smooth tongue of the wayward soul. Do not lust in your heart after their beauty or let them captivate you with their eyes, for the seducer reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the immoral one preys upon your very life… keep to a path far from them, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel.” (Proverbs 6:23-26; 5:8,9).
Help, Jesus. And thank-you.