Does anything illustrate the Pavlovian principle like the seatbelt sign being turned off at the end of a flight? Ding! And the instinctive response is to stand as everyone does almost in unison like your team just scored a basket, goal, touchdown or fill in the blank to suit your own personal sports connotation. Even folks with window seats stand bent over awkwardly like spelunkers waiting for their respective turn to move. Just like Pavlov’s dogs, we too have been trained to provide instinctive responses. Keeping with the airline reference, I was traveling on business a few weeks back and overheard a woman having a discussion on an interesting topic with the travelers around her. At first it was just the normal banal banter that takes place on the return flight on a Friday afternoon. The woman was traveling with her child and the other travelers seemed to be not related but interested in the discussion. I began to tune in when the woman lamented the Disney shows and their poor representations of dads and parents in general. I’ve spent considerable time on this soapbox myself. The surrounding travelers agreed with her and even added examples of their own. All seemed to have a very good understanding of what parenting ought to be. Then it happened.
Just like that instinctive speech kicked in just as if Pavlov had rang a bell and we were defeated. Instead of iron sharpening iron or Braveheart riding up to encourage the fellow parents gathered there, I heard the standard voices of fear and defeat similar to what Joshua and Caleb experienced the first time Moses knocked on the door to Canaan. “It’s a sign of the times”. “It’s Hollywood being Hollywood”. Are we being held captive by this culture hostile to Biblical principles or are we hostages to our own fear? One way to overcome this peer pressure is to understand what is at stake. General “Mad” Anthony Wayne a legislator and Brigadier General in Colonial America understood the stakes when he lead the assault on a British outpost on the Hudson river called Stony Point. After capturing the fort, General Wayne reported to General George Washington the following.
“The fort and garrison with Col. Johnston are ours. Our officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free.”
Have we as the family of believers lost our determination for freedom?
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. – 2 Cor 3:17